My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Red Velvet Cake

"Maybe a slice of red velvet cake would help you focus."
~Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008)
In recent years, red velvet cake has had a resurgence.  I've seen it in the form of cupcakes, whoopie pies, cake balls, brownies, cheesecake; even Ben and Jerry just came out with the ice cream version!  This is not a bad thing, since I LOVE IT.   But almost every magazine you pick up has a recipe for it,  and I'm pretty sure you're yawning right now....yah, yah, yah, red velvet cake...tell us something we don't know.
Here's the thing.  Nearly 50 years ago, my mother was making this for our family's birthday cakes.  It has always been the family special cake.  I crave the distinct flavor.  There is cocoa in the recipe, but I wouldn't call it chocolate cake.  It is, velvet cake, and has a unique flavor all it's own!  I made one for my oldest son's first birthday in 1989 and used green food coloring by mistake.  In my defense, the bottle was white with red letters (come on!!!).  Green velvet cake was just not the same.  
Even in the 90's I brought one to a Valentine's day party and most people there had never even heard of it.  My mother always made it with mock cream frosting, but I've changed it up a little, since I have inconsistent results with the mock cream recipe.  Last week I made this cake for my mother's birthday and it went way too fast.  The Mister said the cake and frosting were the best I'd ever done, so I wanted to preserve the recipe exactly as is,  since I did tweak it a little.
The 100th blog post milestone is around the corner and a nice surprise about the blog is that so many of my go-to recipes are here now that I no longer need to remember which cookbook, binder or file box the recipe is in.   It has become my own personal online cookbook, with side notes included!   My goal is to eventually post all of my very best recipes here.  It's convenient for me, provides a record of them for my family, and it's been fun to share them with you!  Your support and comments here and on Twitter and Facebook have been incredibly encouraging and always appreciated!  
Red Velvet Cake

2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 ounces red food coloring
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 3 (8 inch) round baking pans.  In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar, oil and butter together.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Add the food coloring and vanilla.  In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to the batter.  Equally divide batter in the 3 greased and floured round pans.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until middle of cake springs back when pressed with your finger.
Cool on racks for 10 minutes.  Turn one cake out onto serving platter.  Turn other two cakes onto cooling racks.  Cool completely before frosting.

1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup), softened
½ cup Crisco
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 ½ pounds confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 – 5 tablespoons milk (just enough to bring it to spreading consistency)
Cream the butter, Crisco and cream cheese.  Add half the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat well.  Add the rest of the confectioner’s sugar, adding milk as needed to bring it to spreading consistency.


Anonymous said...

OMG I have just started making red velvet cupcakes & everyone loves them! Def will try this, I was wondering about a cake version! x

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Great! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

Erin said...

Most definitely an excellent cake... even if there's green added! I remember that cake...

Di said...

Wow, that looks gorgeous, Margaret! I admit, I had to laugh at the image of green velvet cake. =) I don't think I've ever actually made red velvet cake (a bit scared of the amount of food coloring), but I'm bookmarking your recipe. And I'm so glad that you're enjoying blogging.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Erin: Haha, thanks...!

Di: Thanks and I hear you can find red food coloring derived from beets so you don't have to use the red dye.

Kimby said...

I've tried a number of Red Velvet Cake recipes, but this sounds like THE ONE. Thank you for "tweaking" it and also for the history behind it. (GREEN velvet cake ... now THAT's Irish!) :)

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Kimby: Funny thing is, the green one just didn't taste the same - weird!

Karen said...

Can't wait to try this one! I have no doubt it will be great - every-thing I've made from your recipes has been fabulous. I look forward to every new post...

Melissa said...

Hi, Margaret,

Hope you're well! I'm an editor at Fine Cooking magazine and wanted to get in touch with you about a column that I edit. Could you tell me what e-mail address I should use to reach out to you (I don't see anything on your Web site)? Thank you!


Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Karen: Thank you so much! That is so encouraging! There would be more posts if I was a better photographer!

@Melissa: I'm doing great! Thanks for asking :-). You can reach me at
I look forward to hearing from you

Michael said...

Valerie asked me to make a RVC when she was down for Easter. I made a plain cheesecake (with Strawberries) instead. I will make this next time she comes down. BTW the sauce (red gravy) and meatballs were good Val made them while she was here.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Thanks Michael! I could go for some sauce and meatballs right now! Have a great weekend!

Mary said...

What a lovely cake, Margaret. I'd love to have a slice of it. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Anna Johnston said...

Gosh, Im terrible, I read this post, but forgot to comment on it. :( I adore Red Velvet cake, just made some red velvet cupcakes, isnt the colour brilliant and fabulous. :) For my wedding cake, not engaged yet, but a gal can dream, I am totally going to have Red Velvet cake. Love your recipe!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Anna, I think red velvet would make a perfect wedding cake! Keep will come true :-)!