For the Love of Red Velvet {cake that is!}

Monday, March 17, 2014


My love for Red Velvet Cake began many, many years before I moved to the South, where it is probably the most popular cake of all time.   I grew up in New Mexico where my mother made Red Velvet Cake for special occasions only.  It was my very favorite cake so I asked for it every single year for my birthday.  And I got it!  Probably the most special memory I have of it though, was that I had it made for my wedding.  To this day, I never make a Red Velvet Cake without thinking of all the special memories attached.  


I use the old original recipe that was given to my mother about 60 years ago.   


The amazing white frosting in the original Red Velvet Cake is hardly used anymore.  Most everyone  uses a cream cheese or buttercream frosting.  Personally, I think Red Velvet Cake isn't even Red Velvet Cake without the old, original frosting recipe.  (Details in the recipe at the end of this post.) 


 In the current issue of Where Women Cook, the Editor talks about food traditions.   She asks this question:  "When you close your eyes, which of your much-loved traditions come to mind and which dishes were made year after year that were an important part of the celebration"?  I did it.  I closed my eyes and immediately, and I do mean immediately, Red Velvet Cake came to my mind!  


So, I'm pretty sure this cake tastes incredible, looks incredible, IS incredible partly because, for me, it is absolutely and totally chock full of special memories!  


I'm going to share my mother's very old and very treasured recipe with you.   Follow it exactly!  And then let me know what you think! 

Red Velvet Cake

Cake Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter 
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 ounces red food coloring
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.
Cream butter and sugar in mixer bowl until fluffy.  Add eggs and beat well.
Place cocoa and food coloring in small bowl and stir to a nice smooth consistency.
Add to creamed mixture.
Sift flour and salt.
Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating in between each addition.
Add vanilla, vinegar, and baking soda.
Mix well.  Pour evenly into prepared cake pans and bake until done, about 25 minutes.  

Remove from oven and let cake rest for about 5 minutes then remove from pans.  
Cool completely and then with a large serrated knife, slice the layers horizontally making a total of four layers.  Wrap each cooled layer in saran wrap and place them in freezer overnight.  (The purpose of freezing the cake is that it makes it much easier to handle while frosting.  You won't end up with little red crumbs in your frosting!)


Frosting Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups milk
3 heaping tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (NOT confectioners)
1 1/2 cups butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine milk and flour in a small saucepan.  Cook, over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth and thick.  Remove from heat, pour the mixture into a clean bowl and cover the surface with saran wrap.   This stops the cooking and also prevents a skin from forming on the surface.  Set aside to cool.   

In stand mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add vanilla and mix.  
When your milk mixture is slightly cooled, add one tablespoon at a time to the butter mixture, whipping thoroughly in between.   

Whip until you have a fluffy, white and buttery frosting.  

Frost each layer with small bit of frosting and then frost the entire cake!  Refrigerate to solidify the frosting and it tastes better cold!  

So, now a little discussion on the frosting.  When I've shared this recipe in the past, I've actually heard folks say, "I didn't use the frosting recipe because I read the recipe and it seemed incorrect".  It does seem very, very strange to make a roux for a cake frosting!  However, I beg of you to please, please do not use any other frosting in the Red Velvet Cake.  It is what actually "takes the cake"!

This is what I know about the frosting.  It is a very old recipe that the French used to call Boiled Milk Frosting and then later it was called Ermine Frosting.  It uses the gluten in the flour and the casein in the milk to create a suspension that makes for the fluffy amazingness of it!  

It is a little extra work, but I really like that it is the very old original Red Velvet Cake frosting.


So now, I'd like to ask my faithful readers the same question that Jo Packham asked in her magazine:

When you close your eyes, which of your much-loved traditions come to mind and which dishes were made year after year that were an important part of the celebration? 

Let me know! 

203 comments:

  1. Someone I work with loves red velvet cake and I couldn't understand the "draw" until I had a red velvet cookie at Panera Bread! I know, not quite like homemade anything, but I don't bake often so it was a real treat. I will let you know if I bake one of these. If I do, I'll probably take it to work so I don't eat it all by myself. jk!

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  2. This cake sounds delicious and red velvet has never been my favorite......I'm going to try it especially since it comes from your Mom (my Aunt) and then from you!

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  3. When I was growing up, every Saturday morning my mom would make homemade bread. Eating the warm bread with butter and sugar. A celebration in itself. Kathleen in Az

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    1. My husband loves red velvet cake...so do I. His birthday is lade Oct. I think I just found the perfect fed velvet icing and all. Any ideas on butter me icing to decorate it with that would taste good?

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  4. I must try this, especially with this frosting. I am not too fond of cream cheese frosting but this sound old-fashioned and delicious!

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  5. Oh, I forgot to answer your question: roast beef, mashed potatoes and corn are the foods I remember most. Our dinner every Sunday!

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  6. Man oh Man does that look amazing! The photographs are so wonderful I just want to reach in and lick the frosting.
    xoxo
    Lisa
    Leeshideaway.blogpsot.com

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  7. Oh I absolutely agree... this old original cake icing for Red Velvet is the best. I think I forgot about it being made this way but it did. It did bring back memories of my own Mother making this cake this way.

    I obviously haven't personally made a Red Velvet Cake in a very long time..

    Throw in a meatloaf & mashed potato meal with a lettuce and hard boiled egg salad, on the side (using a simple homemade dressing of mayo, milk, vinegar and sugar)... I think I'm back 25-30 years at my Grandmother's house, for dinner.

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    1. OMG...my mom used to make.that salad! I'd totally forgot about it. I'm gonna have to make that this weekend. Thanks for the reminder!

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  8. when I was growing up Sunday 'dinner' was always served mid-afternoon...what stands out in my mind is the Sunday evening suppers: always fresh butter popped corn and apple slices~~eaten on the living room floor like a picnic ;)
    your cake looks amazing and I have printed out the recipe ~~ can't wait to try it!!!!

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  9. My grandmother made an Italian fried pastry with powdered sugar every Christmas. She was a knitter and bought yarn by the box. We would get one of her yarn boxes chuck full of pastry. It was amazing. I love a frosting that's cooked. I make one for my family and they love it. I will definitely be saving this recipe and will try it out soon. Hope you are well! ~Ann

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  10. My Mom was a bread maker. Day after day we would come home from school to find fresh bread and rolls cooling on the counter and that unmistakable luscious aroma! But what sticks out in my mind even more was Saturday night supper. It was always homemade baked beans and the BEST Anadama bread ever. I can smell it as I write this! I can't wait to try your red velvet cake with the proper frosting! Thanks, Dori.

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  11. Of course not the only one, but one of my favorites is going to my great aunt Suma's house to visit and having her boiled custard. She would make it in the summer for us kids and freeze it in the old ice cube trays with the lever on top that would burst the cubes out once frozen. I still use her recipe for my homemade ice cream so many years later.
    I am going to try your red velvet cake recipe. It used to be one of my favorite cakes, but the last several times I had one, it was way too rich. It probably was because of the cream cheese icing, which in my family only belongs on Aunt Suma's carrot cake!
    Loved reading about your spring planning! It won't be long now!
    Susan

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  12. Did you double the recipe to make the four layers, or did you just put the batter into 4 cake rounds? I ask because I am totally making this cake on friday!!!

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    1. Hello! I hope you check back to find my answer. There was no email attached to your name, so I couldn't write you personally. So.... the four layers come from the fact that after you bake the two layers and let them cool, you slice them each in half horizontally. I explain this a little clearer in the directions on the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to email me!

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    2. THis is the same recipe my family always uses - frosting too! The only frosting for a red cake! Love it! The best one ever. It was past down for generations also.

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    3. WOW! This icing is so special. Like a velvet cloud! Used on your red velvet to assemble the Southern Living Red Velvet & Cheesecake Cake as their icing was too sweet & their red velvet got awful reviews. Beautiful layers with that were very fluffy and moist! tx for the commentary which made me try your icing. I am in love with it!

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    4. I totally agree that this frosting is the ONLY choice for authentic red velvet cake! I make a three-layer red velvet cake for my family's Christmas celebration each year. The only thing different about mine is that after my cake is frosted, I cover it with sweetened flake coconut. This addition makes our red velvet lady elegant and decadent and incredibly enticing - everything a true temptress should be!

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  13. Ditto your icing recipe. That is the only one to use on red velvet. My recipe does not call for cocoa in it and it is good!
    As for shutting my eyes, I immediately thought of my moms chili soup, and I actually don't even care for it any more, so I guess it is all about the memories!

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  14. PS... Way over and above the chili my mom made is the potato bread my grandma made! Why that wasn't the first thought I had I don't know but it is definitely a wonderful bread as well as memorie for me and my siblings!

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  15. Oh Dori - this so reminds me of my grandmothers red-velvet cake and YES, you are right - the only way that it tastes right is with the OLD frosting!!!!! Thank you for sharing this - it is tad different than my mamaws so I think I'll try yours!

    As for your house my friend - you have a beautiful home and it will all come together in time. You have to remember, I've been in mine for 2 years and your home is still brand new. It takes time - don't rush it - only do and buy what you love and when you find the right pieces - they will be perfect if you are patient. You'll get there and besides - I think you are off to a fabulous start! Happy Spring!

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  16. Dori, Yummy Red Velvet cake, a favorite of mine... my mamaw always made one for our Dinner on the Ground at church... Her cake looked just like yours, but she added pecans to the frosting- icing.. and I believe she cooked her icing at first... Favorite meal with a memory would be Fresh Green Beans from the Garden, cleaned and snapped on the porch, cooked for a few hours with Bacon until all liquid was reduced, then served with a big slice of a garden tomato, cucumber and onion salad, and a hot slice of Cornbread with real butter not margarine... and the best memory was seeing my mamaw string her Half Runner beans with a small paring knife, and sitting on the porch with papaw listening to a Cincinnatti Reds ballgame on the radio.... Miss them both... thanks for sharing...

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    1. Ditto except we listened to Atlanta Crackers games and then finally the Braves.

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  17. I made this for my daughter's 34th birthday today. My first red velvet cake. I am gluten intolerant and did not even get to taste it! But, everyone said that it was very good. Thanks for posting the recipe.

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  18. It's not a Red Velvet cake without the original icing. Everyone in the Midwest uses the cream cheese frosting and it is not the same. My Aunt and mother would make this for my birthday when I was younger, no store bought for me. This is the same recipe I have and you can't beat it. I'm making it for our family Christmas dinner.

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  19. It's not Red Velvet cake without the original icing. When I comment about the cream cheese icing not belonging on a Red Velvet cake you ought to see the looks I get, but after they taste mine they all agree original icing definitely. My mom and Aunt would make this for me every year on my birthday. I have the same recipe.

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  20. This is the same recipe that I have used for years, passed on from my grandmother to my mom. My mom used to make this for me for my birthday and now I make it for my kids. Nothing beats this icing!

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  21. I agree with you totally! It's not REAL Red Velvet Cake without that frosting. It's called French Silk Frosting or just French Frosting. My mom made a Red Velvet Cake in a heart shaped pans EVERY Valentines. I didn't compare the cake recipe to mom's but I bet it's the same. The frosting is, I should know it from heart because of all the times I had to make it over.... LET THE FLOUR AND MILK COOL COMPLETELY!!!

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    1. I agree that you must cool the flour and milk mixture completely. I think if it is only slightly cooled, it will still melt the butter and make a denser frosting.

      This is the only frosting I will use on Red Velvet Cake. We call it Fluffy White Frosting

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    2. My favorite memory is mom's German CHOCOLATE Cake. She made it for me every year for my birthday. I continue the tradition of making the birthday girl/boy whatever dessert they want on their special day. My family loves red velvet cake but with "candy bar" icing.

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  22. when l make red velvet cake l use cake flour an the original icing only way to go.

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  23. We call this icing "cooked" icing. As opposed to an uncooked variety.

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  24. This is my husbands favorite cake!! His mom always made it for his birthday. Same recipe as yours and ALWAYS with the traditional cooked frosting...NEVER cream cheese frosting!!! Just made one today for valentines day!

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  25. This is great! I make this type of cake a lot, and I make this type of frosting a lot as well. I like to adapt it for cream cheese by using 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of shortening ( like Crisco), whip that until it's smooth with the sugar and vanilla, make sure your cooked flour / milk mixture is cold and very stiff, almost more solid than the shortening was and mix that in a couple of tablespoons at a time. Whip until fluffy, which can take up to 8 minutes or so. Once you reach this stage, add in 8 ounces of cream cheese while mixing, 2 ounces at a time. Your result will be the BEST cream cheese icing ever. emsprater@earthlink.net

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  26. I have a question, I hope you answer to me soon as I am going to make this, this evening for a birthday. I would love to add chocolate chips to the batter, what are your thoughts on that? Can't wait to make it! :)

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  27. I am so trying your recipe! I'm not a big fan of cream cheese so I will be making the original frosting too. So excited to try this!

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  28. Thanks for sharing. Will try it and get back to you. Love you blog btw.
    Cyndi in Sydney Australia

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  29. This is the ONLY recipe if you want Red Velvet cake. I can hear my mom saying, "be sure the flour and milk mixture is cool before mixing with the butter mixture." Thanks for sharing your mom's recipe.

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  30. Do you have to keep cake in the refrigerator after the icing sets?

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    1. Hello! I keep my cake in the refrigerator. I think it just holds over nicer. However, I don't believe that you would have to.

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  31. Hi Dori!!!! I made this cake on March for my sons 14th Birthday....It was so delicious, we all loved it. The frosting was a huge hit. I'm actually going to use it for my moms coconut cake that I'm making her for mother's day. I can't wait. Thanks so much for sharing....I need to get to work!

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  32. Ultimate comfort food is home-made mashed potatoes.
    I've been using this same recipe for many years. Have had problems with a 'skin' forming no matter how I cooled the mixture (fridge or counter, with or without plastic wrap). For my last two batches I used my stand mixer on low until cooled. Wonderfully smooth results! Hope this tip helps if anyone else has this problem.

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    1. Are you pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the mixture or just covering the top of the bowl with the plastic wrap? You need to press the plastic wrap onto the mixture to keep a skin from forming.

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  33. I am 100% in agreement with you. Red Velvet Cake is my all time favorite cake for this very reason, the "old fashion" frosting. My grandma always made it this way. My mom makes it for my birthday every year. It's from an old, old cookbook. It is the only way I will make it. I won't buy one from the store.

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  34. Is the frosting plain white sugar or powdered sugar?

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    1. Did u get an answer on this? I have the same question.

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    2. Just plain white sugar! I am editing the post so that it is clear. Thank you!

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  35. This is the exact recipe that my family has been making for over 60 years!! My aunt made it every single year for my birthday and when she passed away my son started making it for me. It brings back such wonderful memories and you cannot beat the taste!! As far as I'm concerned though, I love the frosting with those little lumps of absolutely deliciousness in them. Some people beat the lumps out and I love them!

    For those reading... I was a master custom cake decorator for many, many years and I have a little trick I will gladly pass along. I actually freeze my cakes while still warm, (wrapped air tight in heavy duty aluminum foil). I frost it while still frozen and as it's defrosting the cake soaks up the moisture and will keep the cake moist for a good long time. Even if you don't freeze the Red Velvet cake, it will get moister a couple days after baking.

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    1. Freeze the cakes still in pan? or take out and foil touches the cake? Worried about smashing in the cake or otherwise ruining shape with foil touching it.

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  36. liquid or gel food color?

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    1. 2oz seems like a lot - 2oz is 59mL, so I would need to get 2 small bottles of club house red food coloring. Isn't that a lot? Sorry, I'm a new baker and just need the reassurance that it will be ok haha :)

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  37. Hi....I just wanted to make sure that the Flour in this recipe is All Purpose Flour??

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    1. Yes! All purpose flour. Although you could use Cake flour if you wanted.

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  38. This looks wonderful! I am going to make it for a friends birthday and was wondering if you think cake flour instead of regular flour would work for the cake. In the past I have always loved the effect of cake flour on the texture of the cake.

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    1. Sarah, so sorry that I didn't get this comment until now. Somehow it went into my Spam folder. Anyway.... I think cake flour would be fabulous in this cake. I too think cake flour gives a great texture in a cake. Makes it little fluffier. I hope if you made the cake it was a great success! - Dori -

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    2. Finally someone else uses the same kind of frosting I do. This is the cake I asked my Mom to make for my birthday also. It just isn't real red velvet cake without this frosting. I have had people double check the frosting recipe with me also. Butter Cream frosting and cream cheese frosting are really good also just not on a red velvet cake.

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  39. When you say white sugar in the icing ingredients do you mean granulated or confectioners sugar

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    1. Hello! Just plain ole white granulated sugar! Thanks for writing... I will go back and edit the recipe to make it clear.

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  40. this frosting is great on chocolate wacky cake as well. refrigerate the frosted cake before eating 1

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  41. I grew up with this recipe from my mother as well. My daughter loves this cake too. We add shaved semi sweet chocolate curls to top the cake and fancy it up. I also double the frosting because it's so good. The story about the recipe we always understood was that it originated at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in NY in the 1920's so we always called it "Waldorf Astoria Red Cake".

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  42. Is there a trick to cutting the cakes evenly?

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    1. There are a lot of ways to cut it and I've done many methods! Southern Living has a nice video tutorial here: http://www.southernliving.com/food/how-to/how-to-cut-layer-cake

      I think the key is two things: make sure your cake is cold and your knife is warm!

      - Dori -

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  43. This is the recipe I grew up with. It has always been a family favorite! Now that my mother is gone, I have to make my own birthday cake, since no one else can duplicate it. As a variation, she would add Nestle's Quik to the icing (not too much, but for a light chocolate flavor), for a yellow sponge cake, as this became my brother's favorite birthday request. You just can't buy this in a bakery, it may look the same, but it's not! Thanks!

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  44. Hello! I'm from sweden and I stumbled across u'r recipe and I was wondering what you mean by vanilla. Is it extract, vanilla mixed in spirits (it's called aroma here) or vanilla in a powdered sugar form? And what is buttermilk? :D is it like that sweet condensed milk? I'm gonna try and bake it tomorrow! :) thank you for a, hopefully, great recipe!

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    1. Hello! Vanilla in the United States is a liquid extract. And buttermilk is basically sour milk. If you cannot buy buttermilk in Sweden here is a way you can "make" your own: Mix 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Let sit for five minutes, mix well and you can use it in place of the buttermilk! Hope this helps you! - Dori -

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  45. The cake was very good, the layers though were so skinny. I followed directions as written, just wondered if anyone else had this issue.

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  46. Did you use "butter" or margarine?

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    1. Recently I made a cake with directions to whip the butter for 5 to 7 minutes. This is to put air into the butter making the cake fluffier. Maybe that would work in your case.

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  47. Is it possible to make this recipe into cupcakes?

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    1. How many cupcakes will this recipe make?

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    2. Chondra, I've never written it down but if I remember correctly it will make 24 cupcakes.

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  48. I have used this recipe forever its been handed down in my family for generations. There is no box mix or frosting that will ever compare. This icing recipe is the only acceptable icing for red velvet cake.

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    1. Frosting is hard to decorate with, need to be strained. I also decorate it with a cream cheese, white chocolate, whip frosting that gets great reviews.

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  49. I used paste red-food coloring and mixed it with a little bit of cream. It worked fine. I made the Boiled Milk Frosting. Very interesting and very tasty! It's like pudding and buttercream mixed together. Go for it, fellow bakers!

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  50. Can you add pecans to the frosting?

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    1. You could, certainly. But in my opinion it definitely doesn't need it. And if you are going with the "traditional Red Velvet Cake" I don't believe they ever put nuts in the frosting! But I'm sure it would work great if that was what you wanted to do!

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  51. This is the recipe that I grew up with. Our neighbor gave her recipe to my mother and now I have it. My recipe for the frosting is just like yours. I don't like cream cheese frosting with red velvet cake at all. It needs to be made like this.

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  52. This is the same recipe my mom uses and it is the only one to use!

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  53. You are so 100% correct about this frosting! I grew up with this on the red velvet cake and can still remember the first time a co-worker brought a red velvet cake to a work thing and it had cream cheese frosting on it! It ruined a perfectly good cake! The sad thing was, no one there knew what I was talking about because they had always had cream cheese frosting on theirs. Needless to say, shortly thereafter I made them the real deal so the would know there was indeed a better way to enjoy a red velvet cake!

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  54. the recipe I have from my mothers recipes uses Crisco shortening in the icing!! does anyone else remember this????

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    1. Yes I do remember my mom using crisco. I will have to find her receipe and compare.

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    2. That is an interesting question. I wonder if my grand-mothers original recipe called for Crisco? I wouldn't be surprised because it is around that time when Crisco was used for everything. Thanks for mentioning this... I'm going to do some checking!

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    3. My mom's recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup Crisco and only 1 cup sugar. Next time I make red cake, I'm going to try with all butter and see how it compares.

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    4. My mother's recipe from her mom uses half butter and half crisco, my mom uses all crisco. THe recipe is varied just a bit in amounts. But def. gonna try this version. LOVE this frosting and can eat it by the bowl full!!

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  55. This looks beautiful and delicious! Thanks for sharing.

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  56. I think that sounds like a great recipe, the old one's are the best. I remember my grandmother made a 1,2,3,4 cake with Seven minute frosting, it is the best fluffy and marshmallowy taste.

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  57. I made this recipe exactly as you wrote it with one tiny exception - I did not add the red food coloring. My daughter is very allergic to red dyes. This recipe (frosting included) was beyond spectacular! I have never had red velvet cake that didn't have cream cheese frosting, so I was eager to see how this would taste and I was NOT disappointed! Yum, yum, yum!! Well worth the extra effort. Thank you for an exceptional recipe that will be made again and again in our house. :)

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    1. Sue, I'm really glad to hear this. I've been thinking that I would leave out the red food coloring the next time I make it. I'm so glad that it was perfect! :-) Did you just mix the cocoa with water to make the paste?

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    2. I've always wondered how it would be without the red food coloring. My sister just bought a bottle of red food coloring and it was $3 for the bottle. That is ridiculous.

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  58. I attempted to make this cake and I was not successful. The cake was dry and the frosting tasted like butter which I love butter but it was the texture and consistency of butter. Not sure if it was because I refrigerated it but not at all what I was expecting. I am so disappointed. Was wondering if the cake would have been moist with more than a half cup of butter? Not sure what went wrong.

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    1. I'm just not sure what to tell you. I've made this cake literally hundreds of times and always am told how moist it is. One question: Did you use buttermilk? I've heard of some people not having buttermilk so they substitute with regular milk and it does make a HUGE difference. I will also say that the frosting can be a little tricky. I would describe the consistency of the frosting as being a combination of thick lumpy gravy and smooth butter... combined the consistency is smooth and fluffy. BUT, there is a fine line there. It is a tricky frosting but worth it to learn to perfect it.

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    2. For the frosting, I think the key is to completely cool the flour/milk mixture, not just slightly cool as this recipe is written. I noticed in the pictures, to me the frosting looks greasy/buttery. My mom's recipe calls for the mixture to be completely cooled and uses 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup Crisco and 1 cup sugar. The rest of the ingredients are the same. I make it in my Kitchen Aid and after all the ingredients are in the bowl, I walk away and let it mix for 5 minutes or more. My frosting comes out light and fluffy.

      I just compared the cake recipes too. My mom's recipe calls for 1/2 cup Crisco instead of 1/2 cup butter, only 1 oz. red food coloring, 2 cups flour, 1 Tbs. vanilla, 1 Tbs. vinegar. The rest of the ingredients are the same. Maybe using less flour is the key to a more moist cake. I've never had a dry cake (well, except when I over bake it).

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  59. The pictures shown look as though there is a gaze of some sort on the cake layers before icicg...

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    1. No, there is no glaze. Possibly what you see in the pictures is where some of the cake separated from the parchment paper that I had between the layers when I froze it. But definitely no glaze!

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  60. Thank you so much for this recipe. This is the very same one my Mother used too. I haven't had THIS Red Velvet Cake in many years. My Mother has been suffering from Alzheimer's for a while now. So baking along with many other things have taken to the back seat. The frosting is like none you've ever eaten or will eat on anyone's Red Velvet Cake today. Delicious!!!!
    Thank you again! Now I'm going to have to go bake my own Red Velvet Cake.

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  61. we always used cooked icing for our red velvet cake.

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  62. finnaly, someone got it right!!!!! I'Ve known this recipe for years, ERMINE icing. no one gets it until they try. i wrote to Martha Stewart and told her she was wrong . the correct icing for red velvet cake is ermine icing. needless to say she didn't respond, ha ha!! I found my in a cook book my mother had. it was a green hardback , i think, betty crocker cookbook. way to go and isn't it so good that way. some times i double the recipe for the icing. i'm bad!!!!

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  63. This was how my Mom made it too - the frosting is he best part!

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  64. I grew up with this red velvet cake. My Mom has always made it this way. The first time I had it with cream cheese frosting I was surprised and couldn't believe that people didn't know about this frosting. My Mom made it this year for Christmas and we all love it! I could never come up with just one great memory but one that is right up there at the top with this red velvet cake is the butternut cake that my Mom makes every year for my birthday. It is so yummy and I have never tasted one like it any time except when I get it on my birthday. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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  65. My 12-year-old requested red velvet cake for his birthday, and I found your version on Pinterest. Great cake. I love the boiled frosting as well (he's not a big fan of cream cheese, so it worked out perfectly). I've made many red velvet cakes (I have a son whose birthday is near Valentine's Day, so that's what he got!), and this one ranks at the top of the list. As far as food memories, I grew up in the South, and in the summertime, we would have these fabulous meatless meals with food from the garden: beans, greens, homegrown tomatoes, fresh corn...makes me miss my mom.

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  66. I found your blog through Pinterest, and I'm so happy I did! This is the frosting my grandmother used to make. You're so right that the cream cheese frosting everyone uses today is not the original! Thank you for posting this!

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  67. I was going to make this for a bunco party . So I asked my father inlaw for the recipe. He gave it to me alright. He altered the recipe so it wouldn't turn out right. So I could say mine didn't turn out like his. I'm so glad that I have it now! I should make it for him sometime. Can't wait! Thank you for sharing! My favorite memory was going to my grandmas house for dinner and she would have green beans with bacon. They were so good!

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  68. My really old original red velvet cake recipe has 2 cups of oil in it, not butter. Everything else is the same. My recipe has cream cheese pecan frosting.

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  69. I have made many red velvet cakes bc my son is a fan. I had a favorite recipe but always tried a new one if sounds good. Yours did. I tried it. The frosting is like Italian buttercream without the 3 attempts it took me to get that monster right! Your frosting was just as wonderful and so much easier!
    My son still prefers my original recipe but he is 10 and a creature of habit but everyone over 10 agreed yours was just as good and the frosting made your cake incredible! And the Facebook photo I took of my 5 layer cake was perfect. (I actually made two cakes because I wanted to share a layer of two)

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  70. I made this cake last year for my husband's birthday and he loved it, I'm making it again this month for his birthday. Thank you for sharing!!

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  71. I have been searching for Red Velvet cake and finally found it. This was a hit at my house and my husband's favorite!! The best frosting ever!! Thank you for sharing!!

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  72. I love old fashioned recipes, but honestly I dont understand red velvet cake. Isnt it just chocolate cake with a ton of red food coloring in it??? Please enlighten me...

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    1. To me, red velvet cake doesn't taste like chocolate cake. It has a completely unique flavor. I think it's due to the unusual ingredients - vinegar, etc. I haven't tried this recipe, but it looks very much like my mom's. (And, I can't wait to try it, since I've lost mom's recipe.) Mom's red velvet cake was not a very sweet cake, but her frosting (cooked like the one above) was pretty sweet. The two of them complimented each other perfectly! I'll be trying this one soon!!!

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    2. To me, red velvet cake doesn't taste like chocolate cake. It has a unique flavor. I think it is due to the unusual ingredients - buttermilk, vinegar, etc. I haven't tried this recipe, but plan to soon. My mom's red velvet cake (which I've lost the recipe for) was not very sweet, but the frosting was. So, they complimented each other perfectly. Don't get me wrong, I'll eat red velvet with cream cheese frosting, since that's the only way we can seem to buy it around here. However, the old fashioned recipe will always be my favorite!!

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    3. If anybody finds the frosting recipe using crisco all vege. shortening, 3 T flour, don't think it had butter in the icing. Reg. sugar, basically the same recipe but you don't have to cook it first but do have to beat it with the mixer for 12 minutes at the end. You cream the shortening and sugar first and remember adding the flour one tablesp. at a time. If anybody has this recipe, it is the one I used on my red velvet cakes but lost the recipe and can't find it anywhere. Help please !!

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  73. I tried this cake. It was moist and delicious. Thankyou for this recipe.
    Can you post more cake recipes?

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  74. I agree with you! This is the recipe my mother has baked for as long as I can remember and I am 60 years old. My understanding is that the original name was Waldorf Red Velvet Cake and that it originated at the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. That part could just be folklore, but it makes sense. There are other recipes associated with the hotel, such as Waldorf Salad, that date back to the same time period.

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  75. I tried this cake. It did not turn out fluffy and moist. It was dense and heavy, but moist. What did I do wrong? The frosting did turn out amazing!!!

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    1. Analicia,

      I'm sorry you weren't happy with the way your cake turned out. And I honestly don't have any advice on what might've gone wrong. I've not had that problem with this recipe. Did you sift the flour like the instructions say? That usually makes the difference. Glad that your frosting turned out amazing!

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    2. So I tried a different recipe since I was unsuccessful with your recipe. Then I realized I put in baking POWDER instead of baking SODA. The other recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of oil and was extremely oily. So I decided to try your recipe again and put in the correct ingredients. This time it turned out perfectly! Thank you!

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    3. Analicia,

      Oh good!!! Thank you so much for letting me know! :-)

      - Dori -

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  76. When I close my eyes I see the Pistachio cake that my mother made for each special occasion, and I then I see the butter coconut cake that I make as a tradition in my own family. And since I am from Kentucky every Christmas and Thanksgiving there was an apple butter stack cake. www.southernkentuckygirl.com Rhonda

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  77. This the same recipe that my Mother used. So glad to see the original. Nothing else like it.

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  78. I have used this recipe for frosting for years, my family love it! I think it is the best frosting for a chocolate cake ever

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  79. I NEVER comment on recipes I find, but I had to say... THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I'm tired of finding red velvet cake recipes with the cream cheese frosting. Don't get me wrong, I love me some cream cheese frosting, but my best friend made me her grandma's recipe for me once and now I just cannot go back to cream cheese frosting. Red velvet HAS to be done with the original frosting. I'm hoping yours is what I'm looking for =)

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  80. I have a question. Do you use regular flour or cake flour? I wasn't sure because the recipe didn't specify and all the other ones I have seen have used cake flour. This looks the most like the one my grandmother makes and I wanted to surprise her on her 80th birthday by making it for her .

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  81. Thank You!! I am too lazy today to try to find my mothers recipe. Every year she made this for me Valentine Birthday in Heart pans. I just called her for hers and she couldn't find it. She recommended substituting 2 Tb cornstarch for 2 Tb of the flour to make the cake flour. Ths IS the best recipe EVER and it gets better with age as after a couple days that frosting has soaked into the moistest cake ever! Again I thank you for sharing!
    Mary

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  82. This is THE one and only recipe that my family uses! And, you're right about the frosting. It is honestly the best.

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  83. OMG!!!!!!! Best red velvet ever.. I hate red velvet!!! I love love love this one... So moist and fluffy!!!! I'm in heaven!!! Honestly I needed a quick recipe because I ran out of box cake and I didn't feel like going to the store... I'm so happy u posted this recipe!! Thank you!!! I definitely have to check out your other recipes!!! I did add an extra egg but everything i did exactly to the T...Thanks again!!!

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  84. I made this cake today for my granddaughters 23 birthday.She told me she wanted a red velvet cake and I remembered seeing your recipe and the icing which I have never made.It was so good.Everyone loved it.Thanks so much for sharing....

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    1. Did you cut the layers in half? I just made this cake and the layers are so thin I'm afraid to half them.

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  85. OMG. There are no other words. Just OMG. Came across this recipe via Pinterest. The icing is bang on - I kind you not. Sweet but not cloying. Absolutely perfect for a red velvet. Going to try it with carrot cake the next time I bake. Thanks for sharing!!

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  86. I also actually also have a recipe similar to this from my great grandmother. Although just like your her frosting calls for the granulated sugar and yes must be refrigerated because frosting when warm is unstable I did find that by using powdered sugar it stabilizes it . Grammy also added toasted pecans and coconut to her frosting and the taste is heavenly.

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  87. Question.... Salted or Unsalted butter?

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  88. This is the recipe I use. I love the frosting, never thought cream cheese should be used in Red Velvet cake. This is the recipe that comes to my mind when I close my eyes. I also think of my Aunt Ginny Bates.

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  89. I love this recipe, my mother in law gave it to me 25 years ago and like you r mom she's been using it for 50+ years. The only thing I do different is I use white vinegar instead of the Apple cider vinegar. A favorite recipe in my home.

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  90. I made this cake for a coworker who is moving on to bigger and better things. It is absolutely fantastic. I made the frosting as directed and it really does make the cake!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

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  91. This is the frosting I have always used. I remember my mom making it with Cisco (if you want pure white icing). The trick is to make sure and blend the sugar and fat together long enough so the crystals break down and you don't have a gritty feeling

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  92. I'm a red velvet snob and I cringe at cream cheese frosting on it! Cream cheese belongs on pumpkin, carrot or spice cake! I once saw a recipe calling for (gasp!) the cooked coconut frosting that goes on German chocolate cake!
    Flour buttercream frosting is the only frosting for RV cake (which I found out a few years back, it's also called Ermine frosting). My mom first made Red Velvet cake in the late 60s & was called Waldorf Astoria cake.

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  93. I so wanna bake this cake but need help. Since I ll b baking in a microwave, I can bake only one cake at a time. So could you tell me how to half this recipe? Because it sure isn't ok to prepare whole batter in one go and let the half rest while waiting for the another half to bake.

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    1. I have read that it is just fine to let cake batter set for a while but have not tried it.

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  94. This is the same recipe that I have been making flawlessly for many years, however, recently my frosting had been curdling. I had not changed anything and it curdled. Since I began having this problem, I have tried it with margarine. Also half margarine, half butter. I cannot figure out why the recipe that was flawless for 40 years is now impossible. Would metal mixing bowl make a negative difference? I miss my old Oster Kitchen Center. Don't like the kitchen aid.

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  95. I have been searching for this frosting recipe! I am so tired of cream cheese frosting on red velvet and I knew my mom made one from milk, flour, etc... Thank you! I'm going to make this for the 4th this weekend!

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  96. I make this frosting recipe all the time,we call it French Cream Frosting.Milk and flour on stove,stir constantly over medium heat until it turns into a thick paste.Take it off heat and let it totally cool.I then cream together the butter and sugar,and then add the flour/milk paste.I mix for at least 5-7 minutes until it get real creamy.It is amazing frosting that I have been enjoying for the past 35 years.or more.

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  97. My grandmother would make this recipe every year for Christmas. I would look forward to this cake every year, she topped it off with chocolate sprinkles. Thank you for sharing. It brought back sweet memories

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  98. This cake was called "A Lady Baltimore Cake" . Very old recipe. Very yummy.

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  99. I have been SEARCHING for this!!! I am not a fan of cream cheese frosting, so I rarely have red velvet cakes. But, I was at a function and this cake with this icing was being served. I never could find who made, what is this frosting, how can i find it, etc. I have a dear friend who requested I make a Red velvet cake for her birthday, so my search began on finding a recipe the didn't call for cream cheese frosting! Thank you a hundred times for sharing this!! Meghan

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  100. Yes! This is the ONLY appropriate icing for Red Velvet Cake! This cake, with this icing, was my family's standard birthday cake when I was growing up, and I still make sure to have it on my birthday each year...even if I have to make it for myself! :-)

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  101. I grew up on this exact same Red Velvet Cake recipe
    I am 49 years old and have had Red Velvet Cake for about every birthday. I simply love it. The only way to have anything red velvet was to make it. Now it is everywhere. That makes my day. Blue Bunny has the very best Red Velvet Cake Ice cream.

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  102. Red Velvet Cake was always my Birthday cake while growing up. My Mom had the "old" recipe. She always used Seven Minute Frosting on it. I always thought this was the correct frosting for this cake. I am going to use the frosting with the flour now;)) Thank you!!

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  103. Replies
    1. Honestly I'm just not sure what I use. But since I usually buy salted butter, then that is probably what I use. But i"m sure either would work.

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  104. I used to have the old fashioned red velvet as a kid. I had totally forgotten all about the yummy frosting until I stumbled upon your recipe. I certainly can't wait to try it

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  105. My mom has made this cake with this frosting since I was a little girl (I'm 52).

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  106. i have been baking red velvet cakes for at least 50 years always use the original frosting

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  107. i have been baking red velvet cakes for at least 50 years always use the original frosting

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  108. Getting ready to make this...hope it turns out wonderful! I'll let you know if it did after the birthday celebration.

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  109. Getting ready to make this cake. I hope it runs out wonderful...I'll let you know after the birthday celebration.

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  110. Just took the cakes out of the pan to cool. This recipe calls for the layers to be cut in half...not sure about that as the layers are very thin, too thin to cut unless they are to be paper thin! I have to make another batch of batter in order to get the four layers.

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    1. Hello Linda,

      The layers will be thin when you slice them in half; but definitely not paper thin. Did you layers not rise properly do you think? When I make this cake my layers will be all the way even with the top of the pan.

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  111. I just the same recipe from my mom. The nest ever - cream cheese frosting does not even compare to this one! She used to refer to it as Waldorf Astoria cake.

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  112. OMG...I just made the icing; so much better than cream cheese. This is my new staple. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  113. I am glad I read down further. I was going to use gluten free flour for the icing.

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  114. The boiled frosting is the bomb. It is the only way to make red velvet.

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  115. I have this same recipe, the icing is very special and definitely makes the red velvet cake the way it was intended. I used to request this for my birthday each year growing up. I make it too on special occasions. The best ever cake!!!

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    Replies
    1. This is the recipe my Mother used also. The frosting must be cooked for that awesome cake.

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  116. Thank you so much for sharing. My family really loves this cake!

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  117. So glad I finally found this recipe for the icing that I was so used to eating when I was younger! Love this icing so much better then the cream cheese icing! Its the best! Thank You!

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  118. I also have this recipe. I love this frosting its perfect light and not overwhelmingly sweet. I find that sometimes it can curdle during mixing but it just means you have to mix more��.

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  119. I am with you on the frosting. All the other cakes that they have around, are just not right because they don't have the cooked frosting. This frosting is the only one that should be on a Red Velvet Cake. Thanks for setting everyone straight. I'll think I'll make one this Christmas. Merry Christmas to you.

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  120. Hi! I'm making this cake for Christmas Eve and I have a few questions. Can I make this cake the day before and freeze the layers if I wrap them well? And do you use liquid or gel food coloring? I was told I'd get best color results from the gel. Also, 2 oz food coloring..is that 4 tablespoons then? Thank you and I can't wait to make this!

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    1. Hi Lindsey,

      So sorry that I missed this comment before Christmas. I'll go ahead and answer your questions now... even though I'm two weeks late. :-(

      You can definitely make the cakes ahead and freeze them. It is easier to frost them frozen anyway. I use liquid food coloring but I can't see why you couldn't use the gel. I'm not sure on the tablespoon measurement of the food coloring but one little bottle is an ounce.

      Hope your cake turned out great!

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  121. My Mom's friend always made Red Velvet cakes, I LOVED them so she made me one for my birthday each year, I literally didn't want to share! Mom got the recipe from her and it got lost in our move, I don't like what people call red velvet now it's gross.
    I wonder if this is the same recipe? If I were able to I would love to make it and find out, and yes, Red Velvet icing is so much better than cream cheese icing.

    I do remember the cake would fall easily. Can't remember how they made the icing though.

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  122. Thank you for publishing this--and let me shout to the world, "I was RIGHT!!!!!!" Cream cheese frosting is NOT the traditional frosting for red velvet cake! Thank you, thank you, thank you. At some point in my early 20s I ate a piece of "red velvet cake" with this disgusting (probably canned and fake) cream cheese frosting on it and was unable to convince anyone else that this was NOT the proper frosting or combination of flavors for a true red velvet cake. I feel vindicated by finding this recipe and its obvious popularity. Making it today as part of our Christmas Dinner, even using my grandmother's old Christmas Tree-shaped baking tins!

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    1. Hi Jean!

      This made me laugh!!! And I'm like you.... I get so mad when people think cream cheese frosting is the real deal! :-) Hope your Christmas cake came out perfect!

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  123. Can you freeze the cake after it is frosted? Im wondering how well the frosting will hold up if the cake has been frozen. I use 4 6" pans and make 2 small cakes since there are just 2 of us.

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    1. I'm not sure about how the frosting would hold up frozen. However, i would definitely try it! :-) You could freeze the cakes without the frosting and then make the frosting fresh when you are ready to eat them.

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  124. This is the best recipe ever. Thanks for sharing. I will use this one all the time.

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  125. Hi! My mother lost this recipe because the paper it was typed on crumbled away. We are so excited to have found it. You haven't tasted Red Velvet Cake unless you have had this. Thanks for posting!

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  126. going tyo try this. I always making that frosting for all my cakes - just love it.

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  127. this is the same recipe that my grandmother had . it is wonderful I have been making it and the icing for years. my daughter and granddaughters want this for there birthdays, and it a must for thanksgiving and Christmas. everyone wants to put cream cheese icing on this cake it does not work. take pride in a recipe from your ancestors. its just a little extra work, but boy is it worth it.

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  128. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You a million times over because I have begged (YES BEGGED) my daughter-in-laws mother for her recipe for her red velvet cake and SHE REFUSES "YES REFUSES TO GIVE IT TO ANYONE". My son has been married to this girl for 25 years and her mom still refuses to give it out. I have eaten other red velvet recipes before but for some reason this recipe has the ingredients that just may be in her recipe. What baffles me is that this person DOES NOT COOK AND GOES OUT TO EAT ALL THE TIME. She built her home about 15 years ago and has only used her oven every year for her Red Velvet Recipe. She does not even boil water on her stove. But she does make this cake only on Christmas and walks in like she is the premier chef at a WELL KNOWN RESTAURANT THAT ONLY SERVES THE WEALTHEST OF CLIENTS. Sorry I am using this to vent but I share everything I own from recipes to craft ideas and feel proud to be able to help someone with anything they ask. I guess I just don't understand people like that. The best part is that she will tell you she got the recipe from a friend. Too bad I don't know her friends.

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  129. Hi, I have this same recipe cake and icing. My friends mother gave it to me 56 yrs. ago. My two children have Feb. Birthday's so I always made it for them. My son-in-law and now a granddaughter requests it for their birthdays. Jan and Feb birthdays. My daughter and son-in-law have moved to South Carolina where Red Velvet is very popular with cream cheese icing. They say it is not nearly as good as mom's(Me) I'm always flattered. Just made it for Christmas Eve as the whole family was together and totally enjoyed it. Use that icing for 90% of the cakes I bake. It's my signature one. It's fluffy and not too sweet.

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    Replies
    1. Hi,I tried the cake and icing, they were great!...the icing was so fluffy but my problem was that I can feel the sugar granules so it wasn't smooth.is it supposed to be like this or I did something wrong? ...Thank you!

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  130. Hello! For the cake do you use all purpose flour or cake flour and for the frosting what kind of milk are you using? whole milk or buttermilk

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  131. This is the A#1 frosting for this cake. Yummmmmmy!!

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  132. Thank you for the recipe! I made this cake tonight for a family get together that's tomorrow. I have to admit that I too was a little skeptical when I read the ingredients for the frosting, but I made the cake and frosting just as written. I am glad I did! The frosting in very fluffy and delicious! I have not tasted the actual cake yet since it's for tomorrow but it turned out great so I'm feeling that it is going to taste amazing!

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  133. This is the same recipe my mother has used for years with the same frosting. Best frosting ever!! Cream cheese frosting is not good with this cake.

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  134. Just love this old frosting recipe. I have used it many years on my Lemon Poundcake recipe that is over 100 years old. I will try the red velvet cake....

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  135. Hello! Thank you for the amazing recipe. I made cupcakes for our anniversary last month and they were perfect... the frosting is yumm..
    This is my favorite recipe now. Thank you so much for posting it.

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  136. This is the same recipe that my family has grown up eating as well! This original recipe is from the Waldorf Astoria in New York and is called the "Waldorf Astoria Red Carpet Cake". I explain the difference between Red Carpet Cake and Red Velvet Cake as follows: Red Carpet uses a thickened flour, buttercream for frosting. However, a Red Velvet cake uses a cream cheese frosting! In my opinion--they are not the same cake!! The Waldorf Astoria Red Carpet Cake is THE ORIGINAL AND TASTES
    THE BEST!!

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  137. This is the exact recipe that my Mother made and I make now. I LOVE this icing. My family says red velvet cake is not right without this icing.

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  138. BEST frosting ever!! It's the ONLY frosting I would ever think of using on a red velvet cake! If done right it will literally melt in your mouth. This vibrant red and white cake is so pretty for Christmas, and DH always requests it for his birthday.

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  139. Never had any other frosting than the one you made! It is soooooo much better than the cream cheese frosting most people use.

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  140. Finally! Someone who uses the correct frosting on a red velvet cake. This is very rare nowadays. Bravo!

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  141. Cakeman is one of the best Online Cakes provider in Wadgaonsheri, We’re having the best Red Velvet Cake.

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  142. I am sooo glad to see others use this recipe. It was the first cake I made with my Grandmother and has always been my cake for special occasions. I love red velvet cake, but only with the original frosting which can't be found anywhere except at home!!

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  143. Never made homemade icing before. It was delicious. Didn't know if I made the milk/flour correct but it turned out awesome. Thanks for posting this.

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  144. I have used thus same recipe for over 30 years and absolutely agree. It isn't red velvet cake if you don't make it from scratch and use the original frosting. I make it every Valentine's Day in a heart pan. Big hit at home and work.

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