Purple Velvet Cake

Baking By JustGettinStarted Updated 5 Jul 2013 , 4:20am by yortma

JustGettinStarted Posted 4 Sep 2010 , 12:27am
post #1 of 18

Does anyone know how to make a red velvet cake into purple? I'm doing a wedding cake for a friend and they want purple velvet cake (using my regular red velvet recipe). I thought I'd just use red and blue food coloring, but I read somewhere that it won't actually give me a purple cake, even though red and blue usually make purple. Any idea how to do this?

17 replies
tootie0809 Posted 4 Sep 2010 , 12:45am
post #2 of 18

Purple velvet? That's a new one to me. I would experiment with your recipe and the colors. Maybe try making a half batch and adding some blue and seeing if that will get the color you want.

tesso Posted 4 Sep 2010 , 1:00am
post #3 of 18

definitely let us know how that works out for you. icon_confused.gif I keep imagining a very dark gray cake when baked.

mandymakescakes Posted 4 Sep 2010 , 1:00am
post #4 of 18

Try using purple food color, the gel or paste kind. Add a teaspoon at a time until you get the color you're looking for. Maybe try a test run with before hand just be be sure it works. I've stopped using liquid food color in my velvet cakes and I find that they have a better texture and flavor. The gel colors open up a wide range of cake colors, too! I know pink and green work. HTH!

Carmen500 Posted 4 Sep 2010 , 1:02am
post #5 of 18

In the Phillipines purple pastries are made with ube (purple yam) flour or powder. Available at any asian market. Also look for a Pilipino pastry or cooking book at the library.Hope that helps.

JustGettinStarted Posted 4 Sep 2010 , 1:36am
post #6 of 18

Mandy, what exactly do you mean by "gel" food coloring? The stuff you can get at the grocery store in the little squeezable tubes? The Wilton type round jars that come in a box of 12 colors? I'm sorry, but I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing.

Also my recipe calls for 1 oz of liquid coloring mixed with the cocoa, so would I need to add water or something to make up for the missing liquid from the food coloring?


leily Posted 4 Sep 2010 , 1:36am
post #7 of 18

if your recipe calls for 2 oz (or whatever the measurement is) of red food coloring. Measure that much water out. Then use the gel food coloring to color the water purple. I use americolor gels and it works great. Then add this to the batter.

scp1127 Posted 4 Sep 2010 , 8:11am
post #8 of 18

Paula Deen made a blue velvet cake on one of her shows and it was a deep, vibrant color. The recipe is on foodnetwork.com, but all she did was sub 2 oz. blue food coloring for the red. Purple is not so far from blue, so the results will probably be good. She should have a picture of that cake with the recipe.

mandymakescakes Posted 5 Sep 2010 , 1:33am
post #9 of 18
Originally Posted by JustGettinStarted

Mandy, what exactly do you mean by "gel" food coloring? .... The Wilton type round jars that come in a box of 12 colors? ....
Also my recipe calls for 1 oz of liquid coloring mixed with the cocoa, so would I need to add water or something to make up for the missing liquid from the food coloring?

Yes, and Yes (sorry it took me so long to get back to you!). Leily described it best just after my post. I actually just add the gel/paste food color directly to my batter, but I don't know your recipe. Try .5 to .75 of an ounce of water, then add the food color until it equals an ounce. The less water, the more intense your color should be.

Looking forward to seeing your results!

shawneen Posted 5 Sep 2010 , 1:46am
post #10 of 18

I've never tried purple before but I did make a green velvet for St. Patty's Day this year. I used green liquid coloring instead of red. I've never tried using gel colors (such as Wilton or Americolor), but I know that the gels work just as well as the red liquid so I'd say go for a purple gel coloring or try mixing the red and blue liquid colors beforehand to get the right purple.

playingwithsugar Posted 5 Sep 2010 , 2:13am
post #11 of 18

I tried this once, and the purple turned out gray. The batter was the purple of the darker lilacs, but it didn't bake out right for me.

Let us know if your attempt is more successful, and how much/which type of color, you used.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

imagenthatnj Posted 5 Sep 2010 , 2:24am
post #12 of 18

There's one here. Not sure if that's the shade of purple you want, but maybe you can check it out.


DSmo Posted 5 Sep 2010 , 2:40am
post #13 of 18

Mix a magenta/pink (the different color brands all call it something different) color instead of the red with the blue. That will give you a much better purple.

imagenthatnj Posted 5 Sep 2010 , 3:14am
post #14 of 18

I agree with DSmo. Red velvet cake recipes have vinegar that reacts with the baking soda to make the red coloring a deep red. If you add blue it might get into an awful gray. I'm not sure how the vinegar reacts with the other colors.

You'll probably be better off using magenta. FYI, there's a set of Americolor's electric colors that includes the electric pink.


JustGettinStarted Posted 5 Sep 2010 , 6:26pm
post #15 of 18

Thanks everyone! I have the Wilton gels jars so I'm going to try the magenta and a little blue. Thanks so much. I'll post results if I can ever figure out how to post a picture...website was buggy last time I tried.

massageguy84 Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 9:02pm
post #16 of 18

Im just curious...we are doing a purple velvet cake for our wedding in april. How did you cake turn out? The colors? 

Yuzhiyejin Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 8:09am
post #17 of 18

Mother: Do you want a cookie, Pierre? Do you want a cookie, Pierre?

Pierre: Yes, Mum.

Mother: Why must I ask you twice?

Pierre: Because, Mum, I want two cookies.







yortma Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 4:20am
post #18 of 18

I was inspired to try purple velvet cakes today.  Son at camp, too hot to go outside!  


I started with my basic red velvet cake recipe which is 2 tbsp cocoa powder to 2.5 cups of flour.  I split the recipe in half and tried 2 different ratios of blue and violet food color (Wilton gel colors). The natural reddish tint from the cocoa was hard to cover, which is why I neutralized it with extra blue in one of the cakes.  (I did not add any red color to any of the cakes).  The one without added blue still looked very red.  In the other, by the time I covered the reddish brown color and made a decent purple, the cake  baked up almost black.  I then tried 2 more cakes.  One with only 2 tsps of cocoa and one with no cocoa.  The one without cocoa had a very pretty purple color but tasted bland.  Might not even technically be red velvet anymore.  The 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder were a big improvement over the first Cake with 2 Tbsp, but it still wasn't a pretty purple, rather dull and muddy.  I was using Hershey's regular cocoa, which has a brick red color.  I checked out my Hershey's extra dark cocoa, and voila, no red.  Just nice brown.  I made 2 more cakes, one with 2 tbsp and one with 2 teaspoons of cocoa, and each with approximately 2 teaspoons of wilton violet gel color.  The 2 Tbsp version was quite dark, but the 2 tsp version was a very pretty purple.  My taste testers liked it better with less cocoa as well.  


Conclusion - use less cocoa for a truer color, and use cocoa which is not red.  Hershey's extra dark in a ratio of 2 tsp per 2.5 cups of flour worked well.  The


Wilton violet gel color made a very pretty purple.



cake with less cocoa on the right





These are the final 2 cakes

Top is cake with  less cocoa




(Hard color to photograph well, but it was a nice purple)


Hope that is a starting place for more experimentation!

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