A family favorite--great for the Christmas holiday.

Recipe Summary

prep:
25 mins
cook:
30 mins
additional:
1 hr 30 mins
total:
2 hrs 25 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
1 9-inch layer cake
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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Cake:
Icing:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9-inch round pans.

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  • Beat shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar until very light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well.

  • Make a paste of cocoa and red food coloring; add to creamed mixture. Mix salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and buttermilk together. Add the flour to the batter, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Mix soda and vinegar and gently fold into cake batter. Don't beat or stir the batter after this point.

  • Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes completely on wire rack.

  • To Make Icing: Cook 5 tablespoons flour and milk over low heat till thick, stirring constantly. Let cool completely! While mixture is cooling, beat 1 cup sugar, butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until light and fluffy. Add cooled flour mixture and beat until frosting is a good spreading consistency. Frost cake layers when completely cool.

Nutrition Facts

513 calories; protein 5.8g 12% DV; carbohydrates 66.6g 22% DV; fat 25.7g 40% DV; cholesterol 74.1mg 25% DV; sodium 502.5mg 20% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (512)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
10/19/2009
Without question, the negative reviews for this recipe can be explained by people not being familiar with the techniques that are used. I subtracted a star because this *is* a more complicated project than a box cake mix, and additional instructions would probably have been helpful. Things that are important to know about this recipe: 1) the vinegar-baking soda mixture is what makes it rise. This is a delicate leavening method because it does not last long. Get the vinegar mixture into the batter quickly and gently and get it in the oven FAST, or you will have a heavy cake. 2) Cakes from scratch have to be timed carefully in the oven because they're not "failproof" like box mixes. Start checking it with a toothpick 10 minutes before the given time and after that every 3 to 5 minutes until the toothpick comes out mostly clean. 3) The flour paste for the frosting must be cooked until it forms a mound that stays in the middle of the pan, and it must be cooled to room temperature but never chilled. The butter and sugar must be beaten for at least 10 minutes before adding the flour paste, to eliminate sugar grit. 4) You must frost a COMPLETELY cool cake; beating warm frosting or frosting a warm cake will produce a runny, oily frosting. Follow these instructions and the recipe *will* turn out. It is a good recipe with no errors. Read More
(1913)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
02/04/2011
This Red Velvet cake was definitely not what I expected. It could be that I have no experience with Red Velvet cake but with this recipe the cake was much to heavy. The Icing was bland and honestly tasted like flour. Overall the cake was nothing special. However I am willing to try it again just to make sure it was not my own fault. Read More
(23)
616 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 308
  • 4 star values: 149
  • 3 star values: 58
  • 2 star values: 47
  • 1 star values: 54
Rating: 4 stars
10/19/2009
Without question, the negative reviews for this recipe can be explained by people not being familiar with the techniques that are used. I subtracted a star because this *is* a more complicated project than a box cake mix, and additional instructions would probably have been helpful. Things that are important to know about this recipe: 1) the vinegar-baking soda mixture is what makes it rise. This is a delicate leavening method because it does not last long. Get the vinegar mixture into the batter quickly and gently and get it in the oven FAST, or you will have a heavy cake. 2) Cakes from scratch have to be timed carefully in the oven because they're not "failproof" like box mixes. Start checking it with a toothpick 10 minutes before the given time and after that every 3 to 5 minutes until the toothpick comes out mostly clean. 3) The flour paste for the frosting must be cooked until it forms a mound that stays in the middle of the pan, and it must be cooled to room temperature but never chilled. The butter and sugar must be beaten for at least 10 minutes before adding the flour paste, to eliminate sugar grit. 4) You must frost a COMPLETELY cool cake; beating warm frosting or frosting a warm cake will produce a runny, oily frosting. Follow these instructions and the recipe *will* turn out. It is a good recipe with no errors. Read More
(1913)
Rating: 4 stars
02/18/2007
When making this cake, substitute shortening for 1 cup of oil and double the cocoa for a perfect cake. The cake was dry. Icing was creamy and buttery without being too sweet. The icing perfect. My 87 year old mother was here and said it was very close to the original red velvet cake recipe. Be sure to let the milk and flour cool completely before mixing with the sugar mixture for the icing. It also needs to be mixed for about 15 minutes to be perfect. Read More
(731)
Rating: 4 stars
05/06/2007
My grandmother used to make red velvet cake and after she passed I've made probably 5 different recipes to replicate her cake. This came the absolute closest. It's delicious and wows the crowds every time I make it for class (I'm in college) and even the teachers are impressed. It CAN BE DRY. So make sure you check it in the oven before it's done. Pull it out right when you think it's not quite ready. Then LET IT SIT!! It will continue cooking as it cools just like cookies. Do not cut it or frost it before it's done cooling. You'll thank yourself when you have an amazing moist incredible cake. Marriage proposals from this one! Read More
(576)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/07/2004
I bake ALL the time and this has got to be the BEST cake I have ever baked in my life. It's better than the one my husband buys at the gourmet bakery downtown. The cake is delicious and the icing is heavenly. I took this cake and two pies to Christmas dinner and 7 people devoured the entire cake within 2 hours. Read More
(209)
Rating: 5 stars
02/07/2004
I am puzzled by the negative reviews for this recipe. I have made this cake at least six times all with good results. I even made it in a 9X13 pan (I had to increase the baking time of course) and made it into a "spaceship" cake for my 5 year old son who loves this cake. I have found that this cake tastes better after refrigeration for some reason. And I have found it very important to chill the milk and flour combination for the icing - if the butter melts then the icing consistancy becomes runny. The only "modification" I make to this recipe is that I use Dutch Process Cocoa instead of the regular cocoa it has a stronger flavor. I think this cake is better than any I've had in a restaurant. Read More
(152)
Rating: 5 stars
02/07/2004
I also have this recipe, which is our all-time family favorite. It is absolutely the best cake I've ever eaten. At family reunions, everyone knows to get their piece of this cake as they go through the dinner line, or there won't be any left at dessert time! One thing I do differently is cutting the layers with a string or very sharp knife, making 4 layers. When you frost in between the layers, and leave the sides unfrosted, it is such a festive looking dessert. This is definately a "must have" recipe. Read More
(104)
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Rating: 5 stars
09/25/2006
This cake turned out so good! I baked it in 2 8 inch heart shaped pans and had just a little bit of batter left. I recommend using paste food color (find at a hobby shop) bc liquid affects the flavor. Also to those complaining about grainy frosting mix it a little longer (I use a kitchenaid). The directions are so precise (does anyone else feel they're being scolded when reading this?) but not about how long to whip the frosting in the last step. It takes a little while. Keep beating until the frosting gets smooth. It will. Excellent flavor loved it! Read More
(77)
Rating: 5 stars
02/29/2008
I picked this particular recipe because of the excellent reviews...and let me tell you was this cake excellent! I'm not going to lie I had never made a red velvet cake before and it came out delicious! Follow the recipe exactly and make sure not to over cook! It will cook fast. Everyone loved it! Read More
(61)
Rating: 5 stars
04/13/2003
I haven't had Red Velvet Cake since I was a child growing up in South Carolina. I may not remember exactly how it tasted back then but I do know that this cake was incredibly moist and delicious! My parents loved it so much they took a few slices home and ate them as a midnight snack. To top it off this cake was easy to make. I will definitely make this again! Read More
(59)
Rating: 3 stars
02/04/2011
This Red Velvet cake was definitely not what I expected. It could be that I have no experience with Red Velvet cake but with this recipe the cake was much to heavy. The Icing was bland and honestly tasted like flour. Overall the cake was nothing special. However I am willing to try it again just to make sure it was not my own fault. Read More
(23)
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