An old-fashioned Southern cake, red velvet is traditionally red or reddish-brown and made with buttermilk, cocoa, vinegar, and oil, which makes for a moist crumb. But red velvet isn’t just a delicious cake—these recipes are a great way to play around with your favorite red velvet flavors in a creative and inspiring way. From waffles to donuts and everything in between, here are 11 recipes to try out for a special brunch or perfect afternoon snack.
Header image and recipe for Red Velvet Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from CHOW
1. Red Velvet Cake
Kim Severson’s take on the classic red velvet cake is based on the original recipe from the Adams Extract company in Texas. This version has an especially interesting frosting, made with boiled milk: Flour, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract come together to form a puddinglike consistency that tastes as good as it looks.
Photo and recipe from New York Times Cooking
2. Red Velvet Pancakes
This recipe takes your everyday breakfast pancakes to the next level. With two whole cups of buttermilk, these moist, fluffy pancakes are easy to make in a big batch and perfect for a make-ahead brunch. A cup of sour cream also makes these lusciously smooth and delicious; garnish with some additional sour cream sweetened with confectioners' sugar.
Photo and recipe from John & Elana Talk About Food
3. Red Velvet Cheesecake
A cheesecake this good that feeds a crowd is a smart recipe to keep on hand. With four packages of cream cheese and a crust made of crushed chocolate wafers, this combination is a rich and smooth choice for a show-stopping dessert. Be sure to swirl the batter carefully or you’ll end up with a uniform red shade instead of a red-and-white pattern (but there are worse fates).
Photo and recipe from Food Network
4. Red Velvet Bars
White chocolate chips jazz up a red velvet cake base (this recipe suggest using a box mix but you can make your own from scratch if you want) and make for a gooey and delicious treat. Try adding semisweet chocolate chips or even dried fruit if you want to change it up. Store at room temperature to preserve the gooey texture.
Photo and recipe from Little Dairy on the Prairie
5. Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies
These sandwich cookies are chewy and cakelike, and are tasty eaten on their own but are really unbelievable when filled with cream cheese frosting. Try making them mini and serving with afternoon tea. You can change the frosting flavor and even add mini chocolate chips to the filling to make them extra tasty.
Photo and recipe from Jessie Next Door
6. Red Velvet Waffles
Red velvet waffles are almost as good as ordering dessert for breakfast. The cream cheese drizzle (cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla) takes the place of traditional maple syrup—you may never be able to go back. Garnish with fresh berries or a sprinkle of cinnamon and you’ve got a breakfast fit for a king.
Photo and recipe from Dessert Now Dinner Later
7. Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls
Red velvet cake mix wins again with this creative cinnamon roll recipe. Adding two envelopes of yeast to the cake mix (along with flour, salt, vanilla, water, and a cinnamon-sugar filling) makes these an easy special-occasion treat. The cream cheese frosting should be applied just before serving—if you’re making these ahead of time, don’t frost the rolls until the last possible minute as they are difficult to reheat otherwise.
Photo and recipe from No. 2 Pencil
8. Red Velvet Donuts
The addition of baking powder makes these donuts cakelike, and the crispy exterior tastes fantastic with the cream cheese glaze. Try making these in the traditional circular donut shape or make donut holes to serve in a basket for a group. You can also use different glazes (raspberry, chocolate, caramel)—you’ll have a hard time keeping these on the table.
Photo and recipe from Rachael Makes Cakes
9. Red Velvet Rugelach
Your bubbe might be appalled, but this take on rugelach with cream cheese filling is undeniably mouth-watering. Sour cream, butter, cocoa powder—the ingredients are very similar to the original red velvet recipe, but these crunchy cookies are a treat unto themselves. If you’re worried about the nontraditional color, leave out the food coloring and it’ll look more like the rugelach you remember.
Photo and recipe from What Jew Wanna Eat
10. Red Velvet Madeleines
These madeleines taste very similar to the traditional French version, with the exception of two teaspoons of cocoa powder and some red food coloring. Madeleines are the perfect teatime snack and keep well; make a double batch and keep some in the freezer for an impromptu dessert. Heat them up in the oven for a few minutes and you’re good to go.
Photo and recipe from Oh My Dish
11. Red Velvet Truffles
These red velvet truffles are like a mix between truffles and cake pops. After mixing all the ingredients together, you bake the cake and then break it up into crumbs. Mix those together with cream cheese and powdered sugar, then roll the mixture into tiny balls and let them set in the fridge. Coat with melted white chocolate (or as this recipe suggests, melted almond bark). These wintry treats make a great hostess gift or last-minute party addition.
Photo and recipe from Huffington Post Taste
Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC's best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.