Country Cleaver

Cookin' My Way Back to the Country

Red Velvet Rolls

Homemade Red Velvet Cinnamon RollsRed Velvet – the illusive mythical cake-creature who’s following defies all reason and rationale. A tender crumbling cake that tingles with cocoa yet isn’t so overtly rich to make give the ingestee a wicked case of sugar-tummy that makes one curl up into a little ball and down a gallon of milk.

It’s been 3 years after my first Red Velvet experience and I’m still trying to pin down “what it is” about red velvet makes everyone tick. It’s always good, but you can never say quite what is so addicting and creates such a ravenous following for this cake.

It wasn’t until after my best friend’s wedding that made me fell head over heels for red velvet. Sure, I’m still struggling to find out what makes us all tick when a red velvet cake emerges at a party, but I’ve decided to just go with it and let my love of this cake take me where it may.

Why fight true lust? Cake lust that is.

The base of the rolls was Ms. Ree’s Cinnamon Roll recipe, ya know the one we’ve all heard of. Having made it a time or two I can attest to their deliciousness. Equal part carbs, goo and awesome. It seemed logical, because I am now living a bachelorette lifestyle with Ben 300 miles away that I needed to halve the recipe. 50 rolls when I can only pawn off 25 on the guys at work, seemed legit.

And of course the red velvet inspiration came from the Patron Saint of Butter, Aunt Paula.

Red velvet requires the use of buttermilk, no if, ands or but’s about it. And whoopsie, my kitchen was sorely lacking. Instead I opted for adding apple cider vinegar to my whole milk to give it the necessary tang.

Into the milk, sugar, and oil mixture went red food dye. *Cautionary note ahead*

Beware of red food dyes. When adding too much to any dish or frosting they have a tendency to come out bitter. Like, scrape your tongue and swish with a whole bottle of mouthwash bitter. Red is notorious for this, as evidenced here.

So, go with the “No-Taste” red if you have to use a lot of red dye. Or better yet, to make a good red that holds a good base color, dye your frosting as pink as you can and then add minimal red to get your desired color. Cake decorator here, trust me.

Once the milk, vinegar, oil, etc mixture was heated to about 101 degrees one package of yeast was drizzled over the top and left to bloom for about five minutes.

In the mean time I set about mixing up the flour. Here is where I wish I would have done something a tad different. Retrospect, it’s a wonderful thing pain in the ass and makes you feel D-U-M. Here when I was adding the flours to the liquid mixture I should have also whisked in the cocoa powder and not waited until the next step. The rolls were great with a marbled cocoa look, but the cocoa really should have been mixed here to ensure proper n0n-zebra striped rolls.

The mix was let to rise for an hour in a warm place (where the dog wouldn’t get to them) and viola – an hour later they were ready for their close up.

The baking soda, powder, and salt was added (along with the cocoa *see note above*) and whisked in as well as I could.

*Sidebar* This King Arthur Flour dough whisk is a maniac in doughs. I highly recommend one to anyone who enjoys whisking their dough by hand. Hello, Angelina Jolie arms!

Now we’re gettin’ somewhere!

Into a edged baking sheet to minimize the mess, I rolled out 1/2 of the dough and left the other for the next round.

I followed Ree’s directions for filling the rolls on the first round. Melted butter, drizzled with sugar and then I added more cocoa. This was a disastrous mess to which I was eternally grateful I used the baking pan. So much of my goo came out of the rolls, I was trying furiously to shove it back in as I rolled them.

The next round I decided to try the “mix all three ingredients together and then fill”.

Worked like a charm. And I was able to test the sweetness of the whole mixture and adjust it a bit easier than if they were all added separately. And less mess. This is my new method.

After they were all sliced and placed into a lightly greased pan the rolls were left to rise another 20 minutes and then put into a preheated 375 degree oven for about 17 minutes.

As they were baking and smelling up my house with their sinful scent, I went about whipping up the cream cheese frosting for the tops. As only any self respecting red velvet treat would don. If it’s not cream cheese frosting, it’s not red velvet.

Then, I unceremoniously devoured one still piping hot. My mildly blistered mouth despises me, but my tummy was eternally thankful.

Red Velvet Rolls

A red velvet twist on the classic cinnamon roll.

Yield: 25 Rolls

Prep Time: 2 Hours

Cook Time: 17 minutes

Total Time: 3 Hours

PrintPrint Recipe


Red Velvet Rolls:
1 Pint Whole Milk (or 1 pt Buttermilk, then omit the vinegar listed)
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp No-Taste Red Food Coloring, Wilton
2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 package Active Dry Yeast, .25 ounce
4 1/2 cup Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt (heaping)
3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder, divided
1 cup Butter, melted
1 cup Sugar
1 package Cream Cheese, room temperature
3 cup Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Dash Salt


For the dough, heat up milk, oil, sugar, vinegar, food coloring and cocoa in a sauce pan over medium heat until it reaches about 101 degrees. Remove from heat and sprinkle dry yeast over the top and let rest for 5 minutes.
In large bowl, whisk together flour and warm milk/oil/sugar/yeast mixture. Cover with towel and set aside in warm place for 1 hour to rise.

When dough has risen, mix in baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Use immediately or place in fridge for next day's use.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
For Filling:
Split dough in half and work with one half at a time. Set aside the other half of the dough for the next round of filling and rolling.
On floured surface, roll dough into a 15 by 10 inch rectangle.
In bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar and cocoa powder. Test to make sure the proportions are to your liking, add more sugar or cocoa depending on desired taste.
Pour sugar/butter/cocoa mixture onto the rolled out dough, distribute/spread evenly. Beginning from the furthest edge tightly roll the dough towards you. When you reach the ends of the roll, pinch the edges of the dough together to create a seam. Slice log into 1 1/2" rolls, and place rolls into baking dish lightly coated with butter.
Repeat this process with other half of dough, rolling out, filling, rolling together and slicing.
Let dough rise for 20 minutes.
Place baking dish with rolls into oven for about 17 minutes. Remove and let cool on wire cooling rack.
For Frosting:
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add in 1 cup of sugar at a time, alternating with a few tablespoons of milk until it's all mixed together. Add in rest of milk, vanilla extract and salt. Pour or smooth over red velvet rolls while they are still warm.
Slice and devour.

Adapted from Ree Drummond's Cinnamon Rolls and inspired by Paula Deen's Red Velvet Cake.


44 Responses to “Red Velvet Rolls”

  1. #
    Kathryn — April 1, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

    I still have never tried red velvet in any form. I’m a poor excuse for a food blogger aren’t I? I didn’t think Ree’s roll could get any better but you’ve just proved it can, I am definitely going to have to lose my red velvet virginity!

  2. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — April 1, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    Whooooa, you just spun my brain right around! I’ve never seen a red velvet cinnamon roll, and as a cinnamon roll fanatic I am appreciative of the innovation. Your rolls look gooey, sweet and expertly executed. I’m impressed. And now I want a King Arthur whisk – that thing looks crazy cool!

  3. #
    Cassie — April 1, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

    I love red velvet and just the color of these has me mesmerized. Sounds delicious!

  4. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — April 2, 2012 @ 2:52 am

    I’ve never understood (and still don’t) the red velvet obsession. But I’m thinking it’s because I haven’t tried THESE. So delicious looking!
    Also, I’d love to see what your camera looks like with all these “in progress” pics. I’m envisioning lots of flour and such all over the place 😉 (which really would just make me feel better about the state of mine).
    Are these cinnamon rolls in her new cookbook? Can someone please pick those next?! haha

  5. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — April 2, 2012 @ 3:08 am

    This is effing crazy… yet genius at the same time! <3

  6. #
    Baking Serendipity — April 2, 2012 @ 3:53 am

    I’ve made red velvet cupcakes and pancakes before…but rolls!?! I love it!

  7. #
    Megan — April 2, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

    This looks insanely amazing! Love that dough whisk, too!

  8. #
    Maria — April 2, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

    Oh yum!

  9. #
    Jackie — April 2, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

    Egads!!! Red Velvet rolls!!! I’m swooning, I’m amazed at your talents and not at all surprised!

  10. #
    Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles — April 2, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

    I think I might be a red velvet virgin. I definitely need to fix that, stat!

  11. #
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits — April 2, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

    I just started using beet powder instead of red food dye. I totally want to try it in this recipe! It’s a sneaky way to add some antioxidants and the color is beautiful.

  12. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — April 2, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

    Oh goodness gracious, these look amazing!! I’m a sucker for red velvet anything!

  13. #
    Red Star Yeast — April 2, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    These looks so yummy! I love that your finger nails match the rolls 🙂

  14. #
    Janet@FCTC — April 2, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

    Ok, I just want to reach in and run my fingers (maybe just drop my head in) through that frosting. These look amazing. 🙂

  15. #
    Kat — April 3, 2012 @ 1:42 am

    1. I think I need this whisk-arrangement because I do not have a stand mixer. My arms are The Tool Of Choice. Or The Only Tool. Your call.

    2. These would be perfect to share with my younger brother or sister in law on their birthdays as both are professed red velvet cake lovers.

  16. #
    val — April 3, 2012 @ 2:25 am

    You are my food soul sister…….it’s true. I’m in awe right now. This recipe has just sent me into happy overload.

  17. #
    Haley @ The Girly Girl Cooks — April 3, 2012 @ 2:46 am

    Wow! I’m speechless!

  18. #
    katie — April 3, 2012 @ 11:05 am

    wow–these red velvet rolls look and sound amazing. I can’t wait to give these a try and I know my husband will go ga-ga for these since he is a lover of all things red velvet!

  19. #
    Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — April 3, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    These are just plain fabulous. That’s all.

  20. #
    Lauren — April 3, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    Excuse me while I go pass out.

  21. #
    Kim Bee — April 4, 2012 @ 12:25 am

    These kick butt. I was going to make some but did a detour and made red velvet hot cross buns. I still wanna make these though cuz I think everyone would go nuts for them. You rock!

  22. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — April 4, 2012 @ 12:59 am

    Ok, I was thinking cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Easter, but we may have to do these instead! Amazing!

  23. #
    myfudo — April 4, 2012 @ 2:30 am

    Had difficulty making them into rolls…I made squares instead. But they really taste yummy! Thanks much!

  24. #
    Bertie's Bakery — April 4, 2012 @ 2:54 am

    These look dangerously delish!

  25. #
    Kirsten — April 4, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

    Be still my Red Velvet Lovin’ Heart. You totally went THERE! I love it when you live on the edge. 🙂

  26. #
    Erin — April 5, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

    Those look quite amazing.

  27. #
    Amy — April 6, 2012 @ 12:37 am

    Just became a new follower, loving your site. I saw this same idea over at the blog Piece, Love, & Cooking about 2 months ago, and I tried the recipe, and they were great! So, I’m sure your recipe would be good as well. You should probably check out her site since you guys have similar tastes. Here’s a link to her post…

  28. #
    Love — April 7, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

    My gosh! This is certainly different. So many of our mouths are watering. YUMS! Just kill us with sweetness now.

  29. #
    Erica — November 11, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

    Mine turned into batter instead of dough…any suggestions?? I made them into muffies instead and they tasted like pancakes – very delish but not what I wanted. Please let me know what you think…anyone!!

  30. #
    super real — January 25, 2014 @ 6:23 am

    This account could possibly be useful for other savings
    which will never be linked with the borrowed funds super real for others who do not choose the junior college path and don’t be eligible for a other styles of federal funding, the amount is insane.

  31. #

    Good respond in return of this matter with firm arguments and explaining all about that.

  32. #
    รายได้พิเศษ — March 21, 2014 @ 2:09 am

    I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet
    people, its really really pleasant article on building up
    new web site.

  33. #
    33 — March 26, 2014 @ 11:19 am

    sofortkredit fuer arbeitslose
    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I
    provide credit and sources back to your website?
    My blog is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would certainly benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks! sofortkredite

  34. #
    เครื่องไล่หนู — March 26, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

    Excellent weblog right here! Additionally your website lots up very fast!
    What web host are you the usage of? Can I get your associate hyperlink
    in your host? I wish my website loaded up as quickly
    as yours lol

  35. #
    online kredit guenstig — April 6, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

    online kredit
    Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was
    extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say,
    I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an
    aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any points for beginner blog writers?
    I’d definitely appreciate it. online kredit

  36. #
    Trici Cross — September 14, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

    I’m an expert baker and followed this recipe and directions exactly as written and it was a disaster. The dough is too sticky and there is no rise whatsoever. Also, there is far too much butter in the filling concoction. I’m an expert at baking and have made cinnamon rolls countless times. Perhaps all of the leavening needs to be added in the beginning. This recipe simply does not work from a scientific standpoint.

    • Megan replied: — September 14th, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

      Terribly sorry these didn’t work for you. I’ve also made them multiple times as well, and I’ve noticed that if I don’t use fresh yeast, they may not rise as well. Also, I’ve noticed that putting my bowl on top of my stove while it pre-heats is a great way to help them rise!

      Good luck and hopefully you will try these again.

  37. #
    Kat Ali — January 18, 2015 @ 7:33 am

    Tried this recipe earlier today! And it turns out SO SO SO GOOD! but it definitely comes with lotsa hiccups here and there. After the 1st rise, my dough was super sticky and wet! I was flabbergasted wondering what wet wrong coz I followed exactly what you’ve directed. So I added in a couple more cups of flour and cocoa powder to my wet batter, worked a wee bit on it till it comes out smooth and springy. (U might wanna be careful not to add too much or you’ll end up with a stiff hard roll). I then rolled it out slather some nutella onto it, cut them up and for my 3rd rise I let my rolls rested for 2hours. Baked them and DANG! IT WAS ALL SO SOFT AND DELICIOUS! My family and friends LOVE THEM!! Thanks for sharing!:)


  1. Pingback: Country Cleaver » Easter Noms

  2. Pingback: Red Velvet Hot Cross Buns | Cravings of a Lunatic

  3. Pingback: Bourbon Apple Butter | Baked by Rachel

  4. Pingback: Country Cleaver's Red Velvet Rolls | Killer Bunnies, Inc

  5. Pingback: Country Cleaver » 25 Best Recipes of 2012

  6. Pingback: Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes « On Sugar Mountain

Leave a Comment