My Mama made the best Red Velvet Cake in the entire world. It was always a hard decision on my Birthday to choose between her Red Velvet Cake or her Coca-Cola Cake. Mama always told me that she had gotten the recipe for her Red Velvet Cake from an older woman who befriended her when I was a baby. This cake became so tied into my memories of my Mama that it was a full six years after her death before I could bring myself to make this cake. My daughter had never tasted a Red Velvet Cake and I just could not bear to think of this recipe sitting in my files gathering dust. I now view this cake as a celebration of my Mama’s life.
An interesting fact about the Red Velvet Cake is that before the invention of red food coloring, people used ground beetroot to give the cake its distinctive red coloring. Another fact that may not be well known is that the combination of buttermilk and vinegar causes a chemical reaction that draws out the under lying red color in cocoa.
The most important fact is that this Southern style cake is simply the most delicious cake you will ever put in your mouth.
1/2 cup shortening
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon cocoa
2 ounces red food coloring
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 and 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar
Yield: 3 9 Inch round cake pans or 1 11 x 9 sheet pan
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F ( 177 degrees C ).
2. Grease and sugar cake pans.
3. With the mixer set to medium, cream shortening and sugar together.
4. Add eggs one at a time.
5. Add cocoa and food coloring.
6. Combine salt with flour in a small bowl.
7. In another bowl combine vanilla with buttermilk.
8. Alternating buttermilk and flour, add to batter. Note: Start with buttermilk and end with buttermilk.
9. Turn off mixer and remove bowl of batter.
10. Sprinkle baking soda over batter.
11. Pour vinegar over baking soda on top of batter.
12. Fold into batter.
13. Place batter in pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes clean.
14. Cool about 30 minutes and then ice.
My Mama usually iced this recipe with cream cheese frosting. However, there was another icing that she sometimes used. I will be honest, I have no idea what this frosting type is called. It isn’t a traditional seven-minute frosting because it does not call for egg whites. It isn’t a buttercream, cream cheese or whipped cream frosting. The taste of this frosting is like a creamy, buttery whipped cream. The frosting tastes light and airy and I happen to love it. I am just going to call it Mama’s frosting and if you have a name for it, please leave me a comment below.
2 cups real butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1. In a medium saucepan, combine cold water, cornstarch, and vanilla together. Cook, stirring constantly until thick.
2. Take off stove and allow mixture to cool.
3. With a mixer set to medium, cream together butter and sugar.
4. Turn mixer to high and add cornstarch to icing. Mix well until thoroughly blended and light and airy.
I hope you enjoy this taste of the South and I hope you can also tell me the name of this frosting.
Sources: This recipe came from the author’s own recipe files.