Red Velvet Chocolate Swirl “Brownie” Bars

These Red Velvet Chocolate Swirl “Brownie” Bars are for all the red velvet lovers out there. They’re super moist and come with gorgeous chocolate swirls that not only look fab but also taste great! They’re really easy to make, so get your tools ready and get baking!

Red Velvet Chocolate Swirl "Brownie" Bars

You all know I’m an amateur right? So don’t be shocked when I say I’ve never baked red velvet before! :p Yup, NEVER. Tried making red velvet cookies once, they tasted okay but I couldn’t get that color right, so technically I couldn’t call them red velvet. Embarrassing, I know.. especially because I have a dessert inclined blog, but there’s a first time for everyone and this one was mine. Technically, second. I made a  batch before this which turned brown from the top, I think because of the powdered sugar I added in it which I believe started burning (not quite sure though, any ideas?). So I had to make these again..Life of food blogger isn’t all that fancy alright?! Thankfully they taste alright, so I can eat them or frost them to hide that color. Yayie for me 😀

So getting back to these, I’ve been getting requests to make red velvet  for some time now and I thought that’s something I’ll do before Valentine’s Day (mainly because I’m too scared to try things and wanted sometime to wrap my head around these). Fortunately, Once I overcame that fear of Red Velvet I couldn’t wait any longer, and decided to make these gorgeous looking Red Velvet Chocolate Swirl “Brownie” Bars yesterday (More on why “brownies” are in apostrophe later). They’re really festive so making them at Christmas or Valentine’s Day is ideal, but if you’re a red velvet lover you don’t need to wait for festivals. Make these when you want…because now you have a kickass recipe that makes perfect red velvet “brownie” bars each time! Also, don’t be scared of red velvet, its really easy to make..If I can, YOU CAN!

Red Velvet Chocolate Swirl "Brownie" Bars

For all those who are fascinated by Red Velvet and perceive it to be something normal people like you and me cant’ make, read on! Red Velvet is nothing but a fusion of vanilla and chocolate cake that has been artificially colored with the color red. Nothing fancy about that, eh? :p Yes, if you thought that the color magically appears (like me) …Reality check for you… It doesn’t! You make a simple vanilla chocolate batter and color it red with liquid or gel colors and it becomes red. The real trick here is getting the correct color and adding the correct amount to not make it deep red or lighter red. What you’re looking to get is a vibrant red color in the batter because it will turn a few shades darker after baking. I add 2 teaspoons of red liquid food color and it does the trick. Perfect looking color, each time! Please bear in mind that “gel” colors and “liquid” colors are not same. Gel colors are more concentrated which means you don’t have to use as much to get the right color. Liquid colors on the other hand are diluted because of which you need to add about 2 teaspoons of it. If you’re using gel colors, I would suggest you to gradually build up the color rather than chucking all at once. Start with 1 teaspoon and see if works for you, if it doesn’t you can add more until your desired color is achieved.

Red Velvet Chocolate Swirl "Brownie" Bars

Before we get onto the recipe, let me just disclose why the “brownies” are in apostrophe.  These “brownies” are actually cheat brownies. Hence, the focus. 😉  A real brownie is super fudgy in the centre. These ones aren’t as fudgy as my Peanut Butter Swirl brownies or my Marshmallow Brownies because there’s no melted chocolate in these. The reason for not putting the chocolate is simple. It makes the batter darker, which means when you add the color red, it will not look as vibrant. You’re more likely to bake brown or rust colored brownies which do not qualify as red velvet. These are more bars than brownies..but I was ready to sacrifice the fudgy centre for that gorgeous red color..which is a treat in itself! So you should too.. Also, there’s no dark brown sugar in these brownies (again for the same reason) which is a rather new thing for me to do. I never bake without brown sugar because I love the moisture it gives to a recipe. But it would’ve turned the batter dark so I added milk to substitute moisture and kept the color as red as possible. Make sure you but the reddest of the color for this recipe.

There’s nothing complex about these, just get your ingredients and tools ready and get baking already! Do not forget to put up pictures and tag me on Facebook and Instagram (details below).

Red Velvet Chocolate Swirl "Brownie" Bars

RECIPE: Red Velvet Chocolate Swirl “Brownie” Bars

Makes: One 9”x9” brownie      Prep Time: 20 minutes       Baking Time: 20 minutes

NOTE: 1 cup = 240 ml ; Please note that 1 cup means 1 measuring cup not 1 tea cup. A tea cup is approximately 100-150 ml which is way smaller than an actual measuring cup. Please refer to the weight measurements given next to the ingredients in case you don’t have measuring cups.


  • All Purpose Flour, 1 cup or 130 grams approx.
  • Baking Powder, 1 teaspoon
  • Cocoa Powder, 3 tablespoons
  • Salt, ½ teaspoon
  • Softened Butter, 2 tablespoons
  • White Granulated Sugar, ½ cup or 100 grams approx.
  • Condensed Milk (or milkmaid), 100 grams
  • Vanilla essence, 1 teaspoon
  • Milk, 1/3 cup or 80 ml
  • Liquid Red Food Color, 2 ½ teaspoons (Read above for the difference between liquid and gel colors)
  • Melted Chocolate, 50 grams approx. (make sure it’s hot or warm when you add it; cold or room temperature chocolate will freeze over the batter)
  • Wooden Skewer or Tooth Pick, to make swirls


Take a 9”x9” square aluminum brownie tin and brush it with butter. Cover the base of the tin with butter or parchment paper to avoid sticking. Set this aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt, and mix them until the cocoa powder is combined properly with the others. Set this aside to be used later.

In a separate bowl, whisk butter until light in color and a little fluffy. Add in the white granulated sugar and whisk again (5 minutes with hand and 2-3 minutes with mixer). The sugar must be completely covered with butter and the mixture will look pale in color. Dissolve sugar as much as you can by whisking.

Add in the condensed milk and vanilla essence, and whisk again until everything is combined.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees for 10 minutes.

Start adding the dry mixture that you set aside in the first step to this. Keep alternating with milk so that the batter does not dry out. Mix using a spatula or a wooden spoon (NO WHISK) until you longer see dry pockets of flour and the milk is over.

Add in the red liquid food color and incorporate that with the batter until completely combined.

Pour this batter to the prepared tin. Now start dropping the chocolate over the batter in lines. First line should have 3 drops, second line will have 2 drops and so on. (Refer to the picture for more detailed description).

Red Velvet Chocolate Swirl "Brownie" Bars

Swirl 3 times using a toothpick.  First time, swirl from top to bottom in continuous motions. Meaning once you run the toothpick through the chocolate drop in the first line, take a U-turn and run the toothpick through the dots on the second line. Second time, swirl from right to left in the same way. Third time, swirl from top to bottom in a continuous manner again.

Bake the brownie in the preheated oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Let the brownies cool down for about an hour before cut them.

Recipe idea inspiration: Averie Cooks.

Write to me for any queries!

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 If you love brownies, you have got to try my..

Marshmallow Brownies

Marshmallow Brownies -2

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies (eggless)

The brownies you will ever have!

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies (eggless)




30 thoughts on “Red Velvet Chocolate Swirl “Brownie” Bars

  1. Hi Radhika,
    I tried your Red Velvet cake, it turned out to be PERFECT!
    Just one concern I had is that the colour of my cake din’t turn out to be red. It was brown in color, though I added liquid red color inthe said quantity. If you could tell me where I lack, it’d be great 😃

    • Hi Kaveri!
      Glad to hear that you liked the brownies. About the colour, try adding another teaspoon to the batter and keep an eye on the brownies after the 15 minute mark. High oven temp or variation in color could’ve resulted in brown color. You could also try decreasing the cocoa powder by 1 tbsp. Good luck!

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    • Hi Sharanya! Thank you visiting my blog, it’s great to have you here 🙂 Yes, you can use the same batter to make cupcakes too. Time depends on the depth of your cupcakes so I would recommend you to bake them for 15 mins and check for doneness. Insert a skewer in the middle of the cupcake, if it comes out wet, bake again for 5 mins. Repeat until the skewer comes out clean with a few crumbs. Let me know how they turn out 🙂 Good luck. Radhika x

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  9. Hi Radhika,

    is there anyway of making without condensed milk ?
    The tin is of 400gms and a lot will go waste since I am traveling on sunday.

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