Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's Red...really really red

I can resist
anything except
Oscar Wilde
With Valentine's Day just around the corner I have been wanting to try a Red Velvet Cake. Who would have ever guessed there could be so many variations for this cake! All the recipes had the same basic versions-buttermilk, vinegar,, baking soda, red food coloring, cocoa but differed in the choice of fat, amounts of food coloring, and cocoa. Some called for shortening, a few used butter and vegetable oil has become more common in some of the recent recipes. Also the amounts of food coloring ranged from 1 oz. to 3 oz. I finally settled on the recipe below but along the way learned some interesting things about this southern favorite.
The recipe for Red Velvet Cake appeared as early as 1896 in a Boston Cooking School publication. During World War II when foods were rationed bakers used boiled beets to enhance the color of the cakes

The exact history of Red Velvet Cake is unknown. There is, however, a well known story of how the recipe came to be. The urban legend claims a woman who was staying at the Waldorf Astoria in New York loved the cake she had sampled there so much that she wrote to the hotel, asking for the baker's name and a copy of the recipe. The recipe arrived in the mail alongside a rather large bill. The story explains that the woman was so furious, she copied the recipe and sent it to everyone she knew as revenge.

A red velvet cake was featured in the 1989 film Steel Magnolias, which led to a great resurgence of Southerners recreating the recipe for themselves. The armadillo-shaped red velvet cake served as a groom's cake for one of the film's main character.

Red velvet cake frosting is typically a white, creamy color, which serves as a dramatic contrast to the color of the actual cake. Although the types can vary, many stick with a traditional cream cheese frosting. Others might opt for a buttercream frosting which will also do the trick.


Red Velvet Cake

Please note: I posted on blog: Pop of Color a photo of a Red Velvet Cake we once had in Savannah GA and it was really- really red! So I cut back on the amount of coloring for my first try at this recipe and did 2 TB. If you want more color go for 3 TB. Most recipes called for only 2TB. cocoa which did not seem like enough so I went to 1/4 cup since there was enough sugar in the recipe. Basically a Red Velvet Cake is a a red devils food cake in disguise with yummy cream cheese frosting. It is a showy piece for the holiday entertaining and very moist.


  • 2-1/4 cups of flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 TB. red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • crushed pecans


  • Preheat oven 350 and grease two cake pans
  • In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt
  • Add buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar,oil and vanilla
  • Beat on low speed just till combined
  • Divide batter in half and bake for 18 minutes till center comes clean with a toothpick
  • Cool in pan 8 minutes then invert on 2 plates that have been covered covered with wax paper-after an hour invert again to cool other side
  • Place one layer on serving dish and frost and add next layer and frost top and sides
  • Sprinkle crushed nuts on sides and top
  • Refrigerate till serving but cake should be at room temperature to serve
Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz. cream cheese softened

2 TB butter softened

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups powered sugar

Add milk a few tablespoons at time to get right consistency using mixer

1 comment:

  1. OOoooh boy, I tried Red Velvet Cake for the first time on Christmas Eve 2010 and I think it's triggered an addiction! It's just SO good, and I say this as someone who does NOT usually like cake.


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