"Fishy" Red Velvet Cake Recipe
"Fishy" Red Velvet Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

"Fishy" Red Velvet Cake Recipe

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4.5 23 21
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Based on an old-fashioned recipe, this unusual birthday cake will steal the show at your party. The vibrant red color is sure to make everyone's eyes open wide. The taste will bring them back for seconds. It's a "reel" fun dessert. -Elizabeth LeBlanc, Bourg, Louisiana
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + cooling Bake: 15 min. + cooling
MAKES:12-16 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + cooling Bake: 15 min. + cooling
MAKES: 12-16 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring, optional
  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons butter flavoring
  • Gummy fish and worms, optional

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 piece) equals 524 calories, 30 g fat (18 g saturated fat), 107 mg cholesterol, 404 mg sodium, 59 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla, butter flavoring and food coloring if desired. Combine flour, cocoa and baking soda. Combine buttermilk and vinegar. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture to creamed mixture. beating well after each addition.
  2. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. For frosting, whisk together milk and flour in a saucepan. Cook, over medium heat stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Cover and cool.
  4. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and butter flavoring. Gradually add cooled milk mixture and beat 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Frost cooled cake. Decorate with gummy fish and worms if desired. Yield: 12-16 servings.
Originally published as "Fishy" Red Velvet Cake in Taste of Home August/September 1995, p33

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Reviewed Aug. 28, 2014

"Wow... I just don't know how to put this. The cake was dry and the frosting I had to throw out.... it was just curdled. Maybe I did something wrong but usually have super good luck with every recipe I try from Taste of Home."

Reviewed May. 10, 2014

"I made this into cupcakes and used half cake flour and half all purpose and added a little more cocoa and it came out good. Did not make frosting, I made my own cream cheese frosting and it made it taste even better."

Reviewed Mar. 26, 2014

"The cake was delicious, but the icing was TOO much. 3 sticks of butter--it was unnecessary."

Reviewed Apr. 26, 2013

"Also, I used two 9" pans at 325 for 25 mins, not 3."

Reviewed Apr. 26, 2013

"This cake is moist and delicious. I baked mine in dark pans at 325 for 25 minutes. I was unsure about the frosting calling for granulated sugar. It was very gritty at first, but when mixed with the milk & flour mixture it smoothed out. It was actually a bit runny and did not set up like the picture (of course!) but the flavor was amazing!!"

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