By Allrecipes Editors

The original red velvet cake

If fear of food dye is coming between you and red velvet cake, you'll be thrilled to know this recipe doesn't have a drop of red dye in it. Smart Cookie shares her recipe and shows you how to make rich, chocolaty red velvet cake without the dreaded red dye.

Photo by Allrecipes

Shared by MasterChef alum, Elise Mayfield — aka Smart Cookie — this recipe is the original, historic version right down to the traditional ermine frosting, an old-fashioned boiled milk frosting that was used instead cream cheese frosting.

Get the recipe: The Real Red Velvet Cake

"Historically, red velvet cake was just chocolate cake tinted red from the acid in cocoa powder, not from food coloring. Nowadays most cocoa powders are alkalized, as in stripped of acid. Look for a non-alkalized one for this old-fashioned recipe. Completing the classic look is a coat of bright white ermine frosting, cooked the old-fashioned way." — Smart Cookie

Photo by Smart Cookie

Smart Cookie's Top Tips:

1. Cream the butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes. Yes, that's longer than usual, but you're using light brown sugar instead of white sugar.
2. Take a few seconds to sift the flour to give the cake a light and fluffy texture.
3. Do not use Dutch process cocoa powder for this recipe, otherwise the chemical reaction needed to make the chocolate turn reddish simply won't work. Use natural cocoa powder that has not been alkalized.
4. Sift the natural cocoa powder as you add it to the dry ingredients to eliminate any clumps.
5. Don't worry if the cake batter is brown because it will turn red as it bakes.

Related: Learn more about red velvet cake.

Watch the video to see it all come together:

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