Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red Velvet Cake--My Valentine to You

Missy, here. And I have a gift for you. I'm sharing one of my most special recipes today. This is the recipe for red velvet cake from my college roommate's grandmother. Granny died many years ago, but I still have the recipe jotted on notepaper in her own hand. My roommate, Melinda, would go home on weekends, and would return stocked up with food. So I'd get a treat when she came back to the dorm every Sunday evening! Often, that treat included several pieces of red velvet cake that Granny had made. I think she was tickled I loved it so. When I asked for the recipe, she had to think what to write down. She never used a recipe! :)

Granny's Red Velvet Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cocoa (I use 2-3 tablespoons because I like it more chocolatey)

Sift together the above ingredients.

Now cream together these ingredients:
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 bottle red food coloring (I usually use a little less)
1tsp vanilla

Now add 1 cup of buttermilk to this wet mixture alternately with the flour mixture until all ingredients are incorporated.

Bake 350 degrees in two layers (pans buttered and floured) until done. (for me, this is about 30-40 minutes)

A casualty of watching the news while cooking! Flour all over the remote!

Now a really special step! While the cake is baking...
Mix 3/4 cup regular milk and 1/2 cup sugar and heat on the stovetop.

When the layers come out of oven, spoon the hot milk and sugar mixture over them and let it soak in.

8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup butter
1 box powdered sugar (10x confectioners sugar)
1 tsp vanilla

Blend together and ice the cooled cake. It's amazing! :) Enjoy! And since it's our regular Wednesday coffee chat day, let's chat about your most precious recipes, those that have sentimental value to you. Please share!


  1. Missy, I love that yours is more chocolatey and I can't wait to try it. I'm doing a birthday supper for Matt (Oldest finance boy) and this would be a perfect thing to try.

    I love the milk drizzle. Isn't that like they do in Mexico with the "leche" cakes? I know they use three milks, but I would not have thought of this with red velvet. I'm lovin' on GRANNY!!!

  2. You should make it, Ruthy! These photos are actually from middle son's b-day in December. The kids usually request this now. Either this one or the strawberry cake--another special recipe. :)

  3. Missy, I can't wait to make this. I love red velvet cake, so long as it's a good one.

    Now let me get this straight, you have a sister Melinda, a college roommate named Melinda, and another friend named Melinda? So was the roommate a Mindy too?

  4. Can I say yum? YUM!!!!! But I have questions: Does it have to be buttermilk? Is there a way to pretend you're using buttermilk but aren't? Because I know I'll buy a whole carton of buttermilk and only use the cup unless I can hunt down a bunch of buttermilk recipes.

    Second question -- that 3/4 cup milk/sugar mixture -- do you use all of it? Like totally saturate the cakes? And what does it do exactly? I'm curious.

    This isn't a question -- it's an observation -- cream cheese and butter in the same icing recipe???? Ohlala! C'est tres yummy!!!!

    I had a hankerin' for something sweet last night when I got home from work so I made me a lazy dazy cake. It's fast to throw together because you actually melt the butter in hot milk so you don't have to cream it with the sugar. You pretty much dump everything in a bowl and stir. Then you make this yummy coconut, brown sugar, vanilla, melted butter topping that you sprinkle on top before baking and voila -- the cake is ready to eat when it comes out of the oven -- no need for icing. Blissful sigh. I brought some for lunch today as well.

    I think my mum got the recipe from the newspaper back in the olden days. It was the first 'Canadian' recipe she made and we were thrilled to invite our friends over for 'normal' food. Up until then I was the laughing stock of third grade because I had jam on my birthday cake and no icing -- just powdered sugar dusted on top.

  5. Mindy, my roomie went by Melinda. My sister is Mindy. And of course I also have my cp Lindi. Now toss you into the mix, and it can get pretty confusing. :)

  6. Kav, you can make your own buttermilk substitute! I've done this before. Here's a recipe I found online:

    Milk (just under one cup)
    1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice

    1. Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.

    2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.

    3. Let stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

  7. Oh, and yes, use all the milk/sugar mix! It soaks in and makes the layers pretty sticky and moist on top. It's a little harder to ice it. You have to really blob the icing on thick. :)

    Your cake recipe sounds so good!! I'd love for you to email us at yankeebellecafe [at] so we can set up a date for you to share it with us. Sounds like something I'd love!

    Jam as icing sounds good, too. I'm sorry the kids weren't nice about it!

  8. You know Missy, for my soaked cakes (lemon and strawberry) we poke holes in the top (like the poke cakes from Jello) and then the moisture sinks in better. I think I'll try that with this recipe.

  9. Ruthy, I have done that before! I can't remember if I did it this time or not. Another tip that helps is to just drizzle it slowly so it doesn't all run off to the edges.

  10. Red Velvet Cake is such a southern thing! Between Debby on Seekerville and Missy here, we're all going to be talking with an accent, y'all!

    I tried a Red Velvet Cake recipe once, but nobody liked it - and about the only thing it had in common with your recipe, Missy, is the red food coloring. Your recipe must be the one I was looking for!

    And that last step with the hot milk and sugar! That has to be the moistest, richest cake ever.

  11. Jan, it definitely makes a heavy cake--which I've always loved! :)

  12. By the way, Granny (and my roommate's family) lived in a tiny town in Kentucky. I used to love to go stay the weekend with her!

    Now, though, they live in Bowling Green, where I grew up. :)

  13. sounds and looks delish(though if you could see me you'd know i don't say yuck to many desserts!)

    I need to go through my mom' recipes and see if I can find the special ones - she had several through the years- though some were with convenience foods that others would probably gag thinking about LOL (enchiladas - corn tortillas, diced onion, veleeta, Wolf chili anyone?! but we loved the stuff!)

    my mom tweaked so many and went by 'eyeballing' it that I may never get it reproduced. her biscuits are the best I can think of - I'll try but not too optimistic. her dumplings as well - not even sure if they were the same recipe - don't think they were exactly the same. she also made a good chicken spaghetti, dirt cake, watergate salad..

    Grandma made snickerdoodles but I think she winged it too because they were all good but sometimes tasted or looked a bit different!

    Grandmother and Aunt Ann are known for their turkey dressing. my mom could make it and my brother knows how thanks to playing around with it when mama was still alive. they also made killer pies (which they later replaced the beloved chocolate, lemon and coconut with pumpkin and sweet potato)

    hey someone on a forum posted a link to a place called ourbestites - they had a post in 2009 for pies in a jar! they're cute - short widemouthed canning jars and you put the crust in the bottom and up the sides then fill then top with another crust...someone needs to get adventurous and give it a try! said you can freeze the suckers and heat up in the oven- also said they could withstand the heat but I'm leary of that - just because something can withstand hot doesn't mean it can withstand cold in my book and I've known even the sacred pyrex to break! but I guess letting them gradually heat up I'd be ok (though I'm more likely to want the microwave LOL and not be able to sleep knowing there's pie around)

  14. Susanna, my friend gave me a recipe for those jar pies! She made them for a wedding shower and then also made them for us for a Christmas party. They were excellent! I'll have to see if I can find the recipe. I'm afraid she texted it to me! LOL

  15. Missy or Ruthy - is there some trick to that drizzle? I did it with a lemon cake last year - poked the holes with a toothpick and let it seep in. The next morning when I came down to ice the cake, the entire thing had broken apart under the weight of the drizzle. I slathered tons of lemon buttercream icing on to cover it, but it was my worst cake disaster ever (well except one as a teenage baker).

    Missy, do you taste the food coloring? A whole bottle? YIKES!

  16. Mary, I'd say to just use less of the drizzle. I've had a cracked cake disaster myself, but it wasn't on the red velvet. It was a strawberry cake, and the icing was just too heavy.

    I don't think I've ever used a whole bottle to even tell you! I'm too paranoid (remember way back years ago when we heard red food coloring causes cancer??) :) So I just use about a half a bottle. Without much cocoa, the cake looks kind of pink. With all the cocoa I use, it covers the pink. If you want a truly red cake, it probably needs the whole bottle. :)