My mom used to make this when I was little. It is a very rich and elegant cake. The frosting is very unusual tasting in that it is almost like a custard.

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Ingredients

20
Original recipe yields 20 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Cream together the shortening, sugar, and eggs.

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  • Make a paste with food coloring and cocoa. Add to shortening mixture.

  • Add salt and buttermilk to mixture.

  • Next add flour, vanilla, vinegar, and baking soda in that order. Mix.

  • Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in two 8 inch round greased and floured cake pans. Let cool.

  • To Make Frosting: Cook 5 tablespoons flour and 1 cup milk until thick, and then cool.

  • Cream together 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 1 cup butter or margarine and 1 teaspoon vanilla 'til fluffy. Add to flour mixture.

  • Cut layers of cake in half lengthwise. Spread frosting on each half layer. Stack and frost over all.

Nutrition Facts

287 calories; 15.4 g total fat; 44 mg cholesterol; 325 mg sodium. 34.7 g carbohydrates; 3.3 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (42)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/29/2009
This is a very special recipe I've made for years. I have a hint to offer...I only use 1 ounce of red food coloring then I fill the bottle with water and add that to the mixture for the additional ounce of liquid. The color of the cake does not change and I save about 2.50 each time I omit one bottle of red food coloring. Read More
(49)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
02/14/2008
The reason some reviewers are coming up short with a single batch of frosting is because the recipe as originally developed called for frosting between the cake layers only NOT the sides. The classic way to frost this cake is to leave the sides unfrosted and a thick spread of frosting between each layer. I'm also surprised at the amount of cocoa and vinegar in some of these recipes. My grandmother's recipe (consistant blue ribbon winner at fairs) calls for only 1 tsp of vinegar and 2 1/2 tsps cocoa. Too much cocoa ruins the bright red color of the cake it comes out too brown plus that might be what caused a "heavy floury taste" that one reviewer complained about. Read More
(24)
54 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 30
  • 4 star values: 11
  • 3 star values: 8
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 5 stars
12/29/2009
This is a very special recipe I've made for years. I have a hint to offer...I only use 1 ounce of red food coloring then I fill the bottle with water and add that to the mixture for the additional ounce of liquid. The color of the cake does not change and I save about 2.50 each time I omit one bottle of red food coloring. Read More
(49)
Rating: 5 stars
12/29/2009
This is a very special recipe I've made for years. I have a hint to offer...I only use 1 ounce of red food coloring then I fill the bottle with water and add that to the mixture for the additional ounce of liquid. The color of the cake does not change and I save about 2.50 each time I omit one bottle of red food coloring. Read More
(49)
Rating: 5 stars
03/19/2007
This is nearly word for word the recipe I got from my grandma. She used to make this for our birthdays. It is one of my favorites. It is sooooo hard to find one withOUT the cream cheese frosting that stuff is good on carrot cake but horrible on red cake. The frosting here (although my grandma made it with 2T cornstarch instead of 5T flour she also used 'oleo' instead of butter) is much closer to the real thing. Red Cake is only good with the right frosting. Read More
(47)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/07/2003
My mother also makes this cake. We called it Red Velvet Cake. It is to die for. Remember the grooms cake from Steel Magnolias? Same cake. You can make it into an Armadello or not.:) Pure heaven... and sin. The frosting can be a little tricky but worth it. (Think cream cheese frosting for carrot cake it just isn't good without it.) Make this cake once and you will HAVE to make it again. Save it for special occasions so you only have to go through all of that food coloring once or twice a year or so. Great for Birthday cakes and Valentine's Day. Read More
(27)
Rating: 3 stars
02/14/2008
The reason some reviewers are coming up short with a single batch of frosting is because the recipe as originally developed called for frosting between the cake layers only NOT the sides. The classic way to frost this cake is to leave the sides unfrosted and a thick spread of frosting between each layer. I'm also surprised at the amount of cocoa and vinegar in some of these recipes. My grandmother's recipe (consistant blue ribbon winner at fairs) calls for only 1 tsp of vinegar and 2 1/2 tsps cocoa. Too much cocoa ruins the bright red color of the cake it comes out too brown plus that might be what caused a "heavy floury taste" that one reviewer complained about. Read More
(24)
Rating: 4 stars
02/16/2008
This is such a great recipe. I love the frosting. It's much better if it sits overnight in the fridge and served the next day. Read More
(15)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/12/2004
I made 2 8 inch layers and frosted between the two layers instead of cutting the cake into four layers. I also increased the cooking time to 35 minutes. It came out moist and delicious. I can't say enough good things about the icing. It tastes like custard and it's very hard not to eat it all before frosting the cake. Since my icing was soft I didn't ice the outside until I got the cake to work. It was a big hit and I'd definitely make it again and use the frosting on other cakes too. Read More
(11)
Rating: 3 stars
03/30/2011
I have a copy of a Waldorf Astoria's recipe for Red Velvet cake and I've made it often (just last week was the lates) Do yourself a favor sub the shortening with canola oil. You'll be amazed at the difference in moistness. In a bind (if you don't have buttermilk) add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to enough milk to make one cup and let sit atleast 5 minutes. Although many Southerners would faint switch to a cream cheese frosting. The tang of the cream cheese frosting complements this cake very well. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
01/20/2012
I can help here. My mother got the recipie for this cake from the chef at the Astoria and paid 250 dollars for it many years ago. Then they shared the recipie out because he charged so much for it! In the original I have there are these differences...Use 2 1/2 cups cake flour 1 tsp salt 2tsp cocoa 1 tsp white vinegar and in the frosting only 3 TBS of flour....it will make a huge difference!! Read More
(10)
Rating: 4 stars
02/15/2007
Just made this for my sweetie for Valentine's Day. It turned out perfectly but I decided I'm more of a fan of regular sweeter cake. As for the frosting I followed other reviewer's advice to double the frosting and I ended up with enough frosting for two cakes (funny how that works huh?). Although I simply stacked one cake on top of the other so there were only two layers not 4 so maybe that's why I had so much frosting left over! Good quality recipe though! Read More
(10)