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Red Velvet Cake Recipe

While the recipe for Red Velvet Cake has been around for years (recipes started appearing around the 1920’s), it has recently become very fashionable and has been featured in numerous magazines and websites. My favorite recipe for this delicious cake was adapted from a church cookbook of my Mother’s which was published in 1965. This cake, which gets it color from a bottle of liquid red food coloring, has also been called Morocco Red Cake in some recipe books. There is even an urban legend connected to this cake which claims that a woman ordered this cake at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and when she wrote to the chef requesting the recipe was charged an exorbitant amount of money. She was so angry about being charged, that she passed out cards with the recipe to everyone she knew to get revenge.
Recipes for this cake vary, but most contain buttermilk, a tablespoon or two of cocoa, and vinegar. I prefer to use real butter in my Red Velvet Cake, but there are several recipes out there that use shortening and even (horror) margarine. As far as topping the cake, French Cream Icing is traditional, but Cream Cheese Frosting is also popular. Both make a beautiful contrast to the red cake.

If you’re looking for a red dessert for either Valentine’s Day or Christmas, this cake is perfect. It can be baked in 9” layers, a 9 x 13” dripper pan, a standard bundt pan, or cupcakes.

Red Velvet Cake

Makes 2 9” layers, 1 9 x 13” cake, or 24 cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 ounces red food color, (1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.

  2. Spray two 9" round cake pans with non-stick spray; place a piece of parchment in the pan and spray again. Set aside.

  3. Alternately place liners in 24 cupcake cups, grease and flour a standard bundt pan, or spray a 9 x 13" dripper pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment.

  4. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar; add the eggs, food coloring, and vanilla.

  5. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa; add them to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk and vinegar.

  6. Beat until smooth.

  7. Pour into the prepared pan(s) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake leaves the sides of the pan: 9" round layers - about 30 minutes, 24 cupcakes - 15-20 minutes, bundt pan - 55-60 minutes, 9 x 13" dripper pan - 45-55 minutes.

  8. Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and cool thoroughly.

  9. Frost with French Cream Icing or Cream Cheese Icing.

Amount Per Serving (cake only, no frosting)
Calories 215 Calories from Fat 61
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 28% Protein 7% Carb. 65%

Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 43 mg
Sodium 285 mg
Total Carbohydrate 35 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 19 g
Protein 3 g

Vitamin A 5% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 2%

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Content copyright © 2018 by Karen Hancock. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Karen Hancock. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Karen Hancock for details.


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