A light red velvet sponge cake and cream cheese frosting are the perfect base for this festive Christmas candy cane cake!


Not everyone is a fruitcake fan – in fact, I think I know more people who hate fruitcake than love it! This cake is for all of you fruitcake haters. The beautiful colour of the red velvet cake still makes it festive and piling candy canes on top? Well, that’s always a good idea – and a very effective way to decorate a Christmas cake. Otherwise, try this idea or this one

The red velvet cake is made the old-fashioned way with cocoa powder, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk which gives it the red colour – although I have bumped the colour up a bit using red food colouring. I do this mainly because it’s almost impossible to find natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder in South Africa. But if you can find it and you’d prefer a more natural, old-fashioned colour, then simply leave out the colouring and let the chemistry magic happen. 

This recipe comes straight out of my (now famous) Great Aunt May’s cookbook which is a good 60 years old. The recipe specifically calls for Stork Bake and since Great Aunt May knows best, I don’t mess with tradition! It makes the sponge light, fluffy and so moist. And since we’re splurging with full-fat cream cheese for the frosting, I added Stork Bake in the frosting too.  Because not everyone can afford to take out a bond just for a block of butter, right?! Do you have an old family recipe that you always love to make? Tell me about it in the comments below! 

Red Velvet Candy Cane Cake
Serves 8
A light red velvet sponge with cream cheese frosting and a festive Christmas touch.
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
For the sponge
  1. 240g Stork Bake, softened
  2. 600g castor sugar
  3. 4 large eggs
  4. 40g cocoa powder
  5. 80ml liquid red food colouring (or a few drops red gel food colouring)
  6. 2 tsp vanilla extract or essence
  7. 600g cake flour
  8. pinch of salt
  9. 500ml buttermilk
  10. 2 tbsp white vinegar
  11. 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the icing
  1. 200g Stork Bake margarine, softened
  2. 1,2kg icing sugar, sifted
  3. 480g full fat cream cheese
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. Candy canes, to decorate
  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celcius (170C fan forced). Grease and line 3 x 20cm cake tins.
  2. Cream the Stork and castor sugar until light and fluffy – about 8 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, food colouring and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Sift together the flour and salt and add this to the creamed mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.
  5. Mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda together then add this to the cake mix and mix well. Divide the batter between the cake tins, smooth the top of each cake and bake for 30-40 minutes or until springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes then turn them out on a cooling rack.
  6. Prepare the frosting by creaming together the Stork Bake and icing sugar together until light and fluffy – about 8 minutes. Add the cream cheese and mix until just incorporated. Add the vanilla extract. Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
  7. Once the cakes are cool, level off the tops (save the cake crumbs), then start assembling the cakes by piping blobs of icing onto each layer and stacking them on top of each other. Finish the cake with blobs of icing, press the candy canes into the top, sprinkle with the crumbled up leftover cake and serve.
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