Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake

Food Coloring Bottles This picture makes me think of coloring Easter eggs.  I remember as I kid that there were always two bottles of red food coloring in our baking pantry.  I remember shortages of this coloring agent around...

Food Coloring Bottles
Food Coloring Bottles

This picture makes me think of coloring Easter eggs.  I remember as I kid that there were always two bottles of red food coloring in our baking pantry.  I remember shortages of this coloring agent around the holidays.  Maybe that is why my kitchen is always stocked with two bottles of this secret ingredient. But mostly, I remember the stains that this food coloring would leave on my hands as I learned to create this very special Red Velvet Cake.

Little did I know, until I moved to the South, that there were at least two frostings for a Red Velvet Cake.  I only knew what my mother named as boiled butter cream, but in the South, a traditional cream cheese frosting is usually the topping for this dessert.  I like a cream cheese frosting, but I think this belongs on a Carrot Cake .

My original recipe is covered in red blotches, but always prepared with great love!

Red Velvet Cake Slice
Red Velvet Cake Slice

Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake

 Cake Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bottles or 2 ounces of red food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • Scant teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9” cake pans.  I grease and flour then add a round of parchment paper than grease and flour the parchment for best results.
  2. Prepare the first stage of the frosting (see below)  before you make the cakes as it too needs to cool completely.
  3. Begin by mixing the butter and sugar in a stand-up mixer, then add in the two eggs.
  4. In a small bowl or cup, combine the cocoa powder and the red food coloring, work out any lumps.  Add this mixture to the creamed butter, sugar and eggs.
  5. Then mix in the salt, buttermilk, flour and vanilla.  Only mixing until fully incorporated. Do not over mix this cake batter.
  6. As the final step, you will mix the vinegar with the baking soda together in a small bowl, remembering that this will fizz.  Add this to the batter and stir in before you pour into the greased and floured 9” cake rounds.  Again, I grease and flour then add a round of parchment paper than grease and flour the parchment for best results.  I want to be able to get this red richness out of the pan!
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Do not overbake.

Cool before frosting.  I have one recipe that notes to cut these layers in half to make a four layer cake and another that notes that these layers are too thin.  It is the call of the cook!

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • 7 ½ tablespoons of flour
  • Cook this on the stove top until paste-like.  Allow this to cool in a smaller bowl cover with saran wrap while this cools.
  • 1 ½ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

Frosting Directions:

  1. Beat the butter and sugar and flour until incorporated.  Then add in the thickened milk “paste” and whip until the consistency for frosting.
  2. Frost the two or four layers and enjoy this simple but elegant cake.

I like this cake best served cold with a cup of hot fresh coffee.

What do you remember about Red Velvet Cake?