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Nov 5, 2006 04:00 AM


I'm looking for a fantastic red velvet cake recipe that does not contain shortening. Any help out there? thanks

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  1. There's a good looking one on Do a search for "red velvet cake". The one I refer to has berries on it, but I bet you could leave them out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MaspethMaven

      I made this for a picnic once and it was very popular (and tasty). Even though I did use the berries, I think it would be fine without them.

      1. re: chocodile

        I've made this cake many times (with and without the berries; and cupcakes) and people always love it.

        Here's the link:

        1. re: Foodrat

          I have made the one Foodrat posted from Epicurious as well (though I omit the berries). I can attest it is fantastic and a real crowd pleaser.

          I make a few modifications:

          I use 2 tbsp red food colouring instead of one - gives it a really deep colour;

          I use 1 1/2 sticks of butter intead of the 1 called for

          I also add a 1/2 sour cream

          I also substituted evaporated milk for the buttermilk once (realized I did not have the buttermilk when I was making it) - turned out just fine, though a bit sweeter

    2. Just make your favorite chocolate cake and add two bottles of red food coloring.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Many people take you seriously, R. Lauriston! How much liquid coloring do the bottles hold?

        1. re: BangorDin

          I am serious, that's verbatim the recipe of a friend who makes it for her son's birthday every year. The usual little supermarket-size bottle. I guess they're an ounce each or something like that. Recipes call variously for one or two ounces or tablespoons.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Sorry to doubt you!
            A one ounce bottle holds 2 tablespoons.

            1. re: BangorDin

              I'll say that for me, one tablespoon of food coloring is more than enough. I added the two ounces stated in most recipes once and ended up with this frightening cupcake:


              Having said that, the Paula Deen recipe I used was was fine, but definitely TOO red.

              1. re: Pei

                I've always thought that red velvet cake was truly supposed to look like actual *red velvet*, the fabric, so there's no such thing as "too red"! I'd be afraid though that the food coloring would add an off-flavor. It's supposed to be tasteless, I'm not going to turn my whole mouth deep scarlet to find out.. It's a novelty cake, just for fun I guess, certainly striking on a table. Does eating a cupcake turn your teeth pink for a while?

                1. re: BangorDin

                  Mine turned my tongue, lips, teeth, and palms red for hours. No one I know has ever seen another red velvet cake as red as the horror I made. They usually look like chocolate with a tinge of red. The flavor doesn't really change much, but it really should be cloesr to brown.

      2. Saveur Magazine published a great recipe...sometime in the last year...I think around November or December...sorry I can't pinpint, but it's worth digging it up if you can.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            There's a mistake in that recipe -- correctly use cake flour, not AP flour.

            Here's the recipe from the source:

            I've made it many times -- not difficult to make, moist and delicious. Not very chocolately though.

            Another winner is Jennifer Appel's version from Buttercup Bakeshop in NYC -- very similar to the epicurious version.

        1. I follow the recipe for a boxed white cake mix. Stir 2 TBl cocoa powder to 2 bottles of red food coloring in a separate bowl. Mix cocoa mixture into cake mixture and bake as directed.

          Don't forget the cream cheese frosting. This makes more than enough frosting. I like a more cream cheesy flavor, so my ratio is a little different from traditional recipes. If you like a sweeter less tangy flavor, reduce the cream cheese and butter by half and add to the pound of sugar.

          1 lb powdered suger (sifted)
          2 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
          1 cup butter (2 sticks softened)
          1 tbl vanilla

          1. Out of curiosity, does anyone make red velvet cake with beets? For some reason I have it in my head that "authentic" red velvet cake is made with beets (someone must have told me this, and a quick internet search shows that I'm not completely crazy). I wonder what effect it would have on flavor, texture etc.?

            11 Replies
            1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

              Sounds pretty dubious, but if you Google "beet cake" there are lots of recipes, e.g.:


              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                You are 100% correct about the origins of red velvet cake having to do with beets! During World War I there was a ration of cocoa which made it difficult/impossible to get cocoa to make chocolate cake. Some inventive cook substituted pureed beets which with the vanilla makes taste that, although not chocolate, is better than nothing if there aren't any other options.

                Obviously there isn't a chocolate ration any more and has not been for a long time but people fell in love with the look of red velvet cake. It is now become essentially a devil's food cake with a dash of vanilla and as much red dye as the cook can get their hands on.

                SO, if you're looking for a recipe that tastes like modern red velvet cake then you'd most likely want to use a recipe that calls for cocoa and just substitute beet juice for the red dye. Here is a link to a possibly more "authentic" i.e. no cocoa red velvet cake recipe that Tyler Florence made on The View.

                1. re: Lilula

                  I got inspired so today I made the cake as outlined on the link above...

                  I'd never made a red velvet cake the "authentic" way before (no red dye, no cocoa). The results are delicious but it tastes more like a "spice cake" than the red velvet cakes I've had from mixes and at bakeries. Also, it doesn't come out blazing red like the bakery and mix ones do either; more brown with a pinkish tint. After looking around online I found some photos and apparently the brown with pinkish tint is normal.

                  If you like chocolatey and unmistakably red cake then stick to standard red velvet mixes or just add red dye to your favorite chocolate cake recipe.

                  1. re: Lilula

                    Red Velvet cake became popular due to the promotional efforts of a food coloring manufacturer:


                    The disgusting original recipe:


                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                        Fake butter flavor and shortening instead of real butter, red food coloring and white sugar instead of brown sugar, frosted with confectioner's sugar and shortening with more fake butter flavor.

                        Adding red food coloring has no effect on the flavor, so you can make a tasty version by adding two bottles to a good devil's food cake recipe and using a good boiled icing or cream cheese frosting.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Agreed on the fake butter flavors. Agreed on the preferred boiled frosting.
                          Disagree on the suggestion of brown sugar. That would change the cake to something entirely different.
                          Disagree on the suggestion of using a devil's food cake. RV is a buttermilk cake, not a chocolate cake. It should have just a bit of cocoa.

                          For the quintessential RV cake, Mom Mom's Red Velvet Cake here on the CH threads is the one to use. I can post a link when I'm back on my computer.

                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                            Stella Parks makes a good case that the original red velvet cake was a cross between a red (brown sugar) devil's food cake and a velvet cake, which sounds more interesting to me than a cleaned-up version of the Adams recipe. E.g. Alton Brown's:


                            Mom Mom's is a minor variation on the Adams recipe, with Crisco instead of butter in the cake.


                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Except for the vinegar and salt amounts, Mom Mom's is very similar to this 1963 recipe in a Canadian newspaper:


                              After reviewing a lot of recipes in old newspapers, I believe a lot of "old family recipes" started with Grandma and a newspaper clipping. ;-)

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                It occurs to me that my view of the 'real' RV is based on my own recipe for the cake that was given to me in the early '70s.
                                When I was in high school, my friend's mom made RV cake for her birthday.
                                I'd never seen nor heard of it- but this was in Ohio, and her mom was from the South. She was kind enough to give me her recipe (which has the boiled frosting ), and I admit, I've compared every recipe to that old Southern one. Mom Mom's (here on CH) is just about the exactly the same as the recipe I have. .
                                Whatever the true history of the origins of the RV cake, there's a flavor and texture to this particular recipe that is unique and delicious.

                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                  The similarity among most recipes reflects it being popularized nationally by the Adams Extract recipe cards.