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Mom Mom's Red Velvet Cake/Butter Cream Icing

Mom Mom's Red Velvet Cake

1/2 cup crisco
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 oz red food coloring
2 heaping tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream crisco and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat for 30 seconds. Add cocoa and red food coloring, mix. Add flour, salt and buttermilk, mix. Remove batter from mixer. Sprinkle with baking soda, pour vinegar over batter and add vanilla. Stir. DO NOT BEAT - (don't over stir - it can make the cake tough). Pour batter into 2 - 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.

Mom Mom's Butter Cream Icing

2 tablespoons cornstarch or 4 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix cornstarch (or flour) with milk. Cook until thick, whisking the entire time. Set aside to cool. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and cooked cornstarch mixture slowly. Beat until it feels like whipped cream.

ENJOY!!

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  1. Thanks again for sharing this. It was very genrous of you. I'm going to tackle this and am curious what brands you use for the cocoa, butter and cake flour. Also, is that two large eggs.

    1. Thank you so much, Axalady. I know how precious family recipes are, so I really do appreciate you being willing to part with it, not to mention spending the time to type it out. My sister will love this. She goes gaga over red velvet cupcakes, so I can only imagine how much she'll love having a whole cake to herself.

      And for those who might not know, Crisco now makes shortening without trans-fat, and there's also a Whole Foods brand of shortening without trans-fat. That might be the one substitution I make, although who cares. It's 1/2 a cup for the whole cake, you only live once.

      1. One question: when you stir in the vinegar, how much should you stir? I understand that I shouldn't be whisking it or beating it hard, but do I need to stir until it's all encorporated or should I just fold a few times and let it be?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Pei

          Hi Pei and rworange, I use Hershey's unsweetened cocoa, and I use Softasilk Cake flour, and I do sift it. I use large eggs. Stir the vinegar and vanilla in until it's incorporated well. If the cake is tough you'll know next time to take it easier. I've learned through trial and error with this recipe. Also, I use cornstarch in the icing and have never had lumps, and I really do whisk it the entire time it's on the heat until it thickens. It's interesting that I never had considered before that this recipe has been in the family about 50 years. Gee, I'm getting old!! I hope that you girls have the success with it that I have.

          1. re: Axalady

            can this icing be made in advance? or will it set up?

        2. This is awesome b/c I lost my family recipe for r.v cake and I was planning on making it for Easter. For convenience sake tho, I was going to make cup cakes. Would this be ok if I just poured the batter in the cup cake pan?

          3 Replies
          1. re: lbs

            Red velvet cupcakes is something I've never made, but might have to try.... I guess if you can do it with other cake batters you can certainly do it with this one.

            1. re: Axalady

              I made red velvet cupcakes a few weeks ago for a bake sale. They turned out great.

              I prefer a cream cheese frosting myself, but it's all personal taste.

              1. re: mamamia

                Have you tried this original frosting? You may be used to using cream cheese frosting but that wasn't used when this cake first became popular in the 40s and 50s. Cream cheese frostings didn't come into use until the 60s or 70s.
                At least give it a try. It's lighter, less fat, fewer calories, holds up better in heat and humidity.
                My family would kill me if I put a cream cheese frosting on a RVC.

          2. This is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing.

            1. INTERIM REPORT:

              Holy buttermilk and vinegar, that cake is good!

              Axalady, thank you thank you thank you. I popped the two cakes out of the oven half an hour ago, and just now I sliced off the domes and piled them into a bowl to eat as dessert (cook's treat, you know). Darn me for not having made the frosting yet.

              People, this is a darned good cake. I used Penzey's cocoa powder, and the smell of it is deeply chocolatey and heavenly. The cake is light and fluffy, so it won't please those who are after a dense fudgey version of chocolate. My favorite part, however, is the crispy crust on the dome contrasted with the warm fluffy interior. Of course, this piece is exclusively for the person who bakes the cake and the sensation will be lost once the cake is cooled and frosted. C'est la vie.

              I used less than a teaspoon of red food coloring, and to me the cake is plenty red. I will use even less next time and see how little food coloring I need to just need a tinge of red. Searing red velvet cakes don't appeal to me, personally.

              Full report and photos to follow after the cake's done.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Pei

                Pei - I'm so happy! Now - MAKE THE ICING!!!!

                1. re: Axalady

                  Just for the heck of it I thought that I'd look around the internet to see how many different variations of this recipe there are. Here are just a few: Martha Stewart's recipe calls for 1/4 cup cocoa, one recipe on cdKitchen has a recipe that has no cocoa in it at all. I saw a recipe on parents.com that has neither buttermilk or vinegar listed and one on Cooks.com calls for 3 tablespoons of Nestle quik powder. Sarah Molton has a red velvet recipe attributed to Cakeman Raven Confectionery in NY that calls for 1 teaspoon of cocoa - 1 teaspoon, why bother?! I also see more references to red velvet cake with cream cheese icing than with the gravy icing. Great recipes really can get bastardized over time. It makes my MomMom's recipe seem all the more special to me. :)
                  Pei, when I take the cakes out of the pans to cool I put them upside down on the cooling racks. By the time they've cooled they've lost their domes and sit flat. Although, I have to admit that I like your idea too - the first and the best taste for the chef...
                  Can't wait to read the rest of the report and see the pics!

                  1. re: Axalady

                    I do the upside down trick too, but after I did it to the first cake I couldn't resist slicing off the top of the second cake... :)

                    1. re: Axalady

                      You might be interested in this version called "Red Earth Cake" It also has coffee as well as cocoa in the cake. The icing uses brown sugar.
                      http://www.twisted-candy.com/vintage-...

                      There is another Red Velvet cake further down on the page, but no frosting with it. It uses vinegar too.

                2. Do mean sprinkle the vinegar w/ baking soda, not the batter, and then stir in?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: danna

                    Hi Danna. Sprinkle the baking soda over the batter, pour vinegar and vanilla over the batter then stir.

                  2. Axalady, where is your MomMom from? Any idea how old this recipe is? I've heard this cake dates back to at least the 40s. Probably before then.
                    I've often wondered if the gravy icing was ever made with crisco, especially when butter was rationed during WWII. Always meant to try it - even if I had to throw out a yucky batch.
                    I'm from New Orleans. Mama gave me her recipe in the 60s and I don't know how long she'd had it or where she got it from. Her mother didn't bake.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: MakingSense

                      Hi MakingSense, My MomMom (my Mother's Mother) was born and raised in Maryland. The first time my Mom remembers having a red velvet cake is sometime between 1939 and 1942. I asked her if she remembered her Mother using crisco during WWII, unfortunately she couldn't remember. She did remember at times when her Mother couldn't get butter she'd use margarine. She remembers margarine as a white lump that came in a bag. She said it came with yellow coloring that was added into the bag and kneaded into the margarine to give it it's color.

                      1. re: Axalady

                        Mama often used margarine for both the cake and the icing - especially when money was tight. It didn't seem to make any difference in the taste. One of the few times butter doesn't seem to make a difference.
                        I understand that all oleo originally came with yellow coloring that had to be added. Apparently the dairy industry wanted to reinforce that it wasn't the real thing. It was all most people could get during the War when butter was rationed.

                        This may explains a lot about the origins of gravy icing. Perhaps it came into use during the butter rationing of the War. You could make it and/or boiled frostings without butter. After the War, people went back to buttercreams until cream cheese frostings began to be used in the 60s and 70s.

                        1. re: Axalady

                          My family is from Oklahoma and we have always used Crisco in the frosting, not butter. It is quite delicious and I am thinking that Crisco (in the can) was the original ingredient in the frosting as stated above. We also use liquid Crisco in the cake and it works quite well.

                        2. re: MakingSense

                          Hi every one. This was my birthday cake every year when I was young. My mom had a OES cookbook from the early 60's. It had several slightly different recipies for this cake. Every one of them with the cooked milk frosting. All the recipies in that book called for butter in the cake and the frosting. The cake had various other names: Waldorf Astoria, Five hundred dollar cake. The story goes as follows. A wealthy woman had a slice of this cake at the Waldorf Astoria hotel and love it so much, she wanted the recipie for so her cook could duplicate the cake. When the waiter told the chef of her request, he replied that she could have the recipie for $500.00 which she paid without batting an eye. Nowadays that would probably be like $100,000.00. The Waldorf Astoria version had walnuts and coconut mixed in the frosting. This is the same hotel the Waldorf salad came from. This was one ritzy place so they could well afford butter.
                          I once had the frosting melt into the cake because it was so hot. I'll tell this about that experience, it was still a wonderful tasting cake. Also I hae made it in blue and lavender. I just add a bit of water to have 2 oz. total of coloring liquid. My mom also told me about mixing the color into the oleo way back when.

                        3. Made this cake for a co-worker's birthday. I found it to be a little dry, but am wondering if that is a result of me overmixing? I am by no means an expert baker and am trying to learn the nuances of making a delcious cake.
                          I really like this icing recipe. It is less sweet than the icing I usually make and had a nice light texture.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: Honey Bee

                            I don't think overmixing = dry. Generally, overbaking = dry. It's especially easy to overbake a chocolate cake. Some recipes will tell you to pull the layers when the cake pulls away from the side of the pan. IMO, it's too late then. Or it could just be a dry-ish recipe...I personnally like a buttery cake on the drier side as opposed to really moist cakes which sometimes remind me of mixes.

                            Thanks for the feedback on the icing. Did it seem to be sturdy, like it would hold up to transportation, warm temps, etc.?

                            1. re: danna

                              Thanks for the feedback. I probably did overbake the cake. I was using new caphalon pans and my oven does tend to run a little hot. I did a little research and found I also made a mistake by refrigerating the cake. Apparently, this changes the fat structure. The mistakes of a novice!
                              The icing was sturdier than I thought it would be. I think the cornstarch lends itself to that. I think it would be fine for travel and warm days.

                              1. re: Honey Bee

                                to be honest, it shouldn't make THAT much of a difference to refrigerate it. i work at a really great bakery where my boss actually did his bakers apprenticeship in Denmark and he usually refrigerates his cakes when necessary. I also refrigerate when I'm doing a big decoration job and its too hot to keep the icing from melting. its always better when you don't, but i don't think that's the reason your cake was dry.

                                1. re: larafaye

                                  I'm going to give this recipe a go for my bf's brithday in a couple of weeks - he loves red velvet cake but I've only ever been able to make him dull maroon velvet cake before! My question is whether the un-frosted cake could be frozen? I've got loads of stuff to make for his party and am trying to schedule it to avoid a last-minute rush...

                                  1. re: gembellina

                                    I took a commercial cake design class and my instructor, a real stickler for perfection, actually recommended wrapping the freshly baked and cooled cake in plastic and freezing before icing it. She said it made it moister than a cake that was not frozen.

                              2. re: danna

                                This is a terrific icing. Much sturdier than a straight buttercream.
                                As for transportation and heat. Remember that the origins of this cake and icing are Southern where they invented heat and humidity. The cake was likely carted to church suppers and relatives' homes. Nobody had air conditioning.
                                Good icing to use in the summer. Doesn't get oily in the heat. I usually refrigerate the cake however because my family likes it served cold for some reason and the icing is still good that way unlike a buttercream which is better at room temp.

                                1. re: MakingSense

                                  Thank you. Please forgive me for continuing to quiz you, but I am stressing over an icing choice for my parent's anniversary cake. I think I am going to make chocolate layers and want a plain-ish frosting that I can tint ivory, and then tint w/ luster dust for the decorations.

                                  Have you ever tried piping this stuff? Is it that dense, or is it more like a whipped cream?

                                  I always have better luck w/ ganache than buttercream (this party will be June 29th in SC, hello heat and humidity). I have considered a white chocolate ganache, but I don't have any experience w/ that since I generally frown on white chocolate.

                                  Thanks for the advice!

                                  1. re: danna

                                    This icing is stiff enough for piping and should be okay for the party. I made the cake here in Austin, Texas on a humid day and it held up well.

                                    1. re: Honey Bee

                                      OK, I made this icing Saturday. It was good, but I have a few questions:

                                      I had to let the creamed butter and sugar sit for 30 minutes to try to keep the icing from being grainy. Do you use extra-fine sugar?

                                      It did not make enough to fully fill and frost an angel food cake cut into two layers. Does that seem right? Did I not get it fluffy enough?

                                      Thanks

                                      1. re: danna

                                        Danna, the recipe Mama gave me calls for beating the icing for 10 minutes after the addition of the cooked white sauce to the creamed butter/sugar mixture. Thank God for the KA stand mixer. I remember using the hand-held as a child! I use granulated sugar, not extra-fine or confectioners. I guess the long beating allows time for the granulated sugar to dissolve.
                                        I get enough to generously fill and frost a 2-layer 9 inch cake or a 3-layer 8 inch.

                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                          Danna, I use regular sugar and I've never had the icing turn out grainy. But you really need to beat the sugar/butter until they are FLUFFY - and that does take a while. I always make sure it's fluffy BEFORE I add the cornstarch mixture, then I continue to beat until it's like whipped cream. I also make sure my butter is very soft before I start. I've always had enough icing to easily cover two 8 inch layers. I hope you've better luck next time. This really is a fabulous icing.

                                        2. re: danna

                                          Hey Dana,
                                          As my Grandmother would say, "ya gotta beat the hell out of it" LOL. I always tell anyone that I've given the recipe to that don't be afraid at first it will look like it's "curdled" but just keep beating it and in no time it will look like dense whipped cream. May be just me but have tried margarine for thye frosting and wasn't happy with the results, but then again I use butter for the cake too.

                                          Tim

                                    2. re: MakingSense

                                      I have made that type of frosting a couple of times and it seemed very whip-cream-ish and got greasy when it was chilled. I am guessing I did something wrong. Anyone have any idea? Used butter if it matters..

                                2. This sounds so great. I am going to make it for my next book club meeting.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Megiac

                                    Megiac,
                                    I ended up only using about half of the suggested 2 oz of red food dye and the cake, IMHO, had plenty of red color. You can definitely scale it back.

                                    1. re: Honey Bee

                                      Honey Bee, I'm so glad that you tried this cake! I've made it MANY times (I posted the recipe) and over-beating will result in a tough cake, not a dry cake. You mention that you only used half of the suggested 2 oz of red food coloring. Unless you used some other liquid to equal the 2 oz that is probably why the cake was dry. Baking is an exact science and recipes need to be followed to the letter. Omitting 1 oz of liquid may not sound like a lot, but it is. I don't know why people shy away from red food coloring. It's not like you're eating this cake everyday and none of my family members has died from our red velvet cake ingestion in over 50 years. Megiac, I would ask you, and anyone else who makes this cake to please follow the recipe exactly, at least the first time. You'll need two bottles of red food coloring for it. You will be surprised how gloriously red 2 oz of red food coloring will make it, and how moist the cake is.

                                      1. re: Axalady

                                        Good point Axalady, I had not thought of that! BTW- no objection to red food coloring. I just only had one bottle and didn't want to make another trip to the store. Next time I try the cake I will make sure to purchase two bottles.
                                        Thanks for sharing this recipe. This weekend I am going to bake a chocolate cake and use this icing recipe.

                                        1. re: Honey Bee

                                          Hi Honey Bee. I remember the first time I made this cake I had only bought one bottle of red food coloring thinking it was enough. And even thought this is entirely embarrassing I'm going to admit it...my sister had given me the recipe. She had listed one TABLESPOON of salt. Not even thinking about it, I put in one tablespoon of salt. Needless to say the cake was dull colored and totally inedible! I still say to this day she did it purposely, although she won't admit to it!!

                                        2. re: Axalady

                                          I made the cake this weekend and should have read the entire post again. I remembered the suggestion to reduce the food coloring by half, but did not remember your response. The cake, while delicious, was a little too dry. The frosting, however, was delicious!

                                          I am going to reattempt it with more food coloring the next time I need to bring a cake somewhere.

                                        3. re: Honey Bee

                                          I used Wilton frosting dye after looking up on their website what to use for red velvet cake. They suggested 2 oz. Um no. Trust me you don't need that much of the frosting dye to dye the cake. I thought it was weird Wilton would suggest that much since frosting dye is really concentrated and typical food dye from the grocery store is very liquid and not concentrated. 1 oz of grocery store food dye gives a fairly red cake. 2oz per Wilton's instructions of frosting dye resulted in everyone who ate it pooping red for a week. :-)

                                      2. I made this cake the other day. Its the first Red Velvet Cake I've ever made. I grew up in NJ and I guess they don't have RV cake there, because I never heard of it or saw one until I went to college in Virginia. But this was my first attempt at making one, maybe because I knew I had to wait for just the right recipe. And that took 25 years.

                                        This cake is great. Its easy, its fun to make (the chemical reaction between the vinegar and the baking soda is like a little volcano on the top of the batter), its bright, its yummy. The frosting, which I really had my doubts about because I had no idea that those ingredients could actually make frosting, is amazing. I beat it in my KA with the whisk for 10 minutes and it is light and fluffy and smooth and sweet and oh my god I need another piece right now.

                                        Here are photos:

                                        http://www.furryterrier.com/images/re...

                                        http://www.furryterrier.com/images/re...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Linda513

                                          Linda, I can't tell you how happy I am to read this! The cake looks fabulous, just like MomMom used to make!

                                          1. re: Axalady

                                            Wow, thanks! That's a great compliment. Thank you so so much for sharing the recipe.

                                        2. What beautiful pictures of your cake AL, I love it when people post pictures. I am not a great baker, but have been enamoured with the lore of the RV cake for sometime.
                                          I have only seen cream cheese frosting recipes for the cake, this looks really yummy.

                                          I am going to do it. There I said it now it must happen. Wish me luck.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            You don't need luck. The cake practically makes itself, just follow the directions and measure carefully. Enjoy the little volcano.

                                            1. re: Linda513

                                              Oh Linda513! What ever do you mean? "Enjoy the little volcano?"

                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                When you sprinkle the baking soda and vinegar over the batter it fizzes. Not exactly a volcano, but its fun.

                                                1. re: Linda513

                                                  Linda513, I too thank you for the photos, it looks gorgeous!

                                                  Cakes scare me. I tend to overbake them, out of fear of them not being done and hence they're usually dry and I don't bake more cakes and since practice does make a better baker, it's a catch-22 with me.

                                                  Interesting icing, I have never made one like it.

                                                  Axalady, thanks so much for sharing.

                                          2. We all LOVED this recipe! I had made many desserts for my christmas party and this was the one that everyone ate! But I do have a question. Are you suppose to place the icing in the middle of the cakes and on top? after I finished putting it in the middle, I didnt have enough left for the top- So i just did a few dollops with the icing I did have left and sprinkled with sugar- Would love to know as this cake has officially been adopted to a family forever fav!

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Rachealing

                                              The icing usually fills and covers the cake for me, but then I've been making it for about 40 years so I'm an old hand. In the past several years though, I've started increasing the icing recipe by 50% because my kids love it so much. Just figured that since I make the cake only a few times each year, I'd slather it on.
                                              BTW, one of the differences among the old recipes for RVC is the type of fats used. This one uses Crisco for the cake and butter for the icing. Mama's uses margarine for both and I have substituted butter in the frosting but, oddly enough, couldn't tell the difference in the taste. My sister has even used butter-flavored Crisco for the icing and it did fine. Since this recipe dates back to at least the Depression, it makes sense that less-expensive fats would be acceptable alternatives, I guess.
                                              Just please, NO cream cheese. Never. Not authentic. Wrong. Doesn't taste right.

                                              1. re: Rachealing

                                                I had enough icing for the middle, the top and around the sides. Maybe if you whip it more it gets more airy and thus you end up with more? But it couldn't hurt to make more, after all the cake is just a vehicle for the icing, right?

                                                I haven't made this in about 6 months. I think its time to make another one.

                                                1. re: Linda513

                                                  Hi all- Quick question if I want to make cupcakes insetad is this too much batter? how long in the oven? Thanks much I am makingf them for superbowl.

                                                  1. re: drewb123

                                                    Made this recipe and decided to do cupcakes. RAVE reviews superbowl. I personally prefer vanilla cupcakes (non-red velvet) but everyone devoured them. A good recipe to hold on to.

                                                    1. re: drewb123

                                                      Ditto- I made these for a tea and even though the frosting was basically a solid hunk of butter and sugar (my first batch of frosting ever, and clearly my technique needs work!) everyone devoured them. You can do them with only half the red food coloring (sub in an extra ounce of milk or water). As for cupcakes- I think I started checking them after 12 minutes, and only the extra-puffy batch needed a couple minutes longer. Thank you so much for the delightful recipe!

                                              2. OKay, so I have to say that I made your red velvet cake for my honey last night for Valentine's Day, and I WAS SO IMPRESSED WITH THE QUALITY OF THIS CAKE! It was the first cake that I've made from scratch (i'm more of a cookie girl), and MY GOODNESS it was yummy. The icing was also scrumptious. Not too grocery-bakery sugary-sweet. A perfect blend of a sugary flavor mixed with a light whipped cream texture. The cake was moist and delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe with the rest of the world. It's definitely a cake meant to be eaten by all (especially on Valentine's Day!)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: njzmusic

                                                  I'm so glad that everyone is enjoying baking - and eating - this cake. It was a pleasure to share the recipe. I've always thought it was something special.

                                                2. RVC is my FAVE in the UNIVERSE!! I saw this recipe now I am gonna get the stuff together and whip me up one!! Thank you for the gr8 recipe. It seems popular and yummy! I made 1 before and it was OK now I have all of your tips & hints on how to make it yummier this time around. I will take pic's.
                                                  Should I make it in layers or can I use a bundt pan or a normal sheet cake pan?
                                                  What is suggested?

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: JavaGurl

                                                    Hi JavaGurl. Glad that you're going to make this special cake! I've always made the 2 layers. I like the look of a layer cake. Hopefully others can give you suggestions on how to cook it in a bundt or sheet pan. Enjoy both the cooking and the eating!! I look forward to seeing your pics.

                                                    1. re: Axalady

                                                      must...be...layers.......

                                                    2. re: JavaGurl

                                                      Hey JavaGurl, I've baked it in a sheet pan, and it's just fine, but my Grandmother ALWAYS baked in two layers then split them to make a 4 layer cake, my Mom always made a heart shaped RVC for Valentines day, LOL and for my Dad's birthday!!

                                                      Tim

                                                      1. re: twh1475

                                                        it's just so pretty in the many layers, the deep red and the fluffy white, white! my father's favorite cake!

                                                    3. I'm planning on making this for Easter this weekend. Can I substitute homemade buttermilk (milk w/ lemon juice)? I know I won't use a whole quart of it.
                                                      Thanks!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: chucktownlady

                                                        I made it using just that (and skim milk, no less) and it turned out just fine.

                                                      2. I will try the frosting but I'm a bit indecisive. does anyone know which one actually taste the best. The butter, margarine or crisco. Please help. Additionally which one would hold better in the heat.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: migluv

                                                          OMG! Without question the BUTTER!!!!

                                                          1. re: migluv

                                                            i think crisco holds better in the heat than butter or margarine. now which "tastes best" is another matter. i wonder if using mostly butter with some crisco would help the butter cream frosting hold up better to heat?

                                                            my sister used a boiled white icing that was fluffy somehow, like this recipe, i guess: http://www.mealsmatter.org/recipes-me...

                                                            or this: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs...
                                                            http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,166,1...

                                                            it is not heavy or overly sweet.

                                                          2. At last, Red Velvet cake without cream cheese icing! Thank you, thank you.
                                                            p.s. I love cream cheese icing on carrot cake or some heavy vegetable cake but not on RVC

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                                              Kate,

                                                              I agree, I have never had RVC with cream cheese frosting! Love it on Carrot Cake, but would NEVER dream of serving it on the RVC!!

                                                              Tim

                                                            2. Axalady - I know the OP is from well over a year ago - but thank you, thank you, thank you - for sharing this recipe. Most generous of you. You can see how many people have enjoyed it and I cant wait to make it! Looks like a real gem ! Happy baking.

                                                              1. Another entry in the red velvet cake is a red velvet cheesecake. Recipe found here:
                                                                http://www.culinaryconcoctionsbypeabo...

                                                                I'm going to try it for the office holiday party.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  HillJ, please report back on how the Red Velvet Cheesecake tastes!

                                                                  1. re: SaraASR

                                                                    Will do! I'm going to test-drive the recipe beforehand; make a mini version.

                                                                    1. re: SaraASR

                                                                      Reporting back on my test drive of Red Velvet Cheesecake.
                                                                      If you like wickedly creamy cheesecake this one will drive you mad.
                                                                      Super, super creamy (almost wet).
                                                                      The cream cheese topping was almost too much and next time I won't go w/a top.
                                                                      I used the thin chocolate wafer cookies for the crust and without a crust this cheesecake would have a hard time standing on a plate (that's how creamy).

                                                                      I'm going to bake longer than the recipe suggests and play around with a few other topping ideas and report back again.

                                                                      If you enjoy red velvet cake and cheesecake on the super-creamy side, this is a winner. I think the recipe needs some work.

                                                                  2. hillj, that cheesecake is scary looking -- like, "the cheesecake that ate the world (and was really angry about it, too)."

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      LOL, alkapal! When I saw the pix I thought..."don't hate me because I'm beautiful..."
                                                                      RED has an impact!

                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                        That cheesecake looks good! I'm tempted to try it.
                                                                        I just made my first red velvet cake, using a Magnolia Bakery recipe from "More from Magnolia." It was seriously good. I have a weakness for food coloring.

                                                                    2. Here's a question. I grew up in the South We always had red velvet for Holidays It is still my favorite cake, but I never had it with out the buttercream frosting ( which my family always made with crisco, and it was cooked with flour but our frosting was always topped with sweet coconut. My question is does anyone else use coconut on their red velvet? I now live in Texas and everyone here uses cream cheese frosting on Red Velvet. I don't care for this at all it doesn't taste right without the buttercream coconut frosting.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Analisas mom

                                                                        in sw florida, we had buttercream but no coconut (but maybe that is because my dad perhaps didn't like coconut?). but my sister -- who made them -- was a devotee of southern living magazine and lots of cookbooks, so i'm guessing her cake was the "standard". cream cheese frosting on red velvet is the wrong flavor and texture!

                                                                      2. thanks for posting this, i was looking for this kind of cooked flour icing. using it on my easter bunny cake tomorrow.

                                                                        1. Axalady, thank you for sharing your recipe.

                                                                          I am a baking novice but am slowly starting to bake more as my 10 yr old is showing a keen interest in this art. Can I easily translate this to cupcakes? I assume there will be a difference in baking time? What about temperature? Thanks.

                                                                          My other DD turns 13 tomorrow & I would love to make this for her soccer game. Don't know who's more excited - birthday girl or DD#2 who gets to bake :)

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: ceekskat

                                                                            I just saw the same question above...

                                                                            1. re: ceekskat

                                                                              I didn't do cupcakes but did mini, individual RVCs for a dinner party for my daughter's birthday last year. She absolutely HAS to HAVE this cake every year for her B'day.
                                                                              I used salvaged tuna cans and made a 1 1/2 times batch of the icing b/c there was more surface area to coat..
                                                                              They were glorious! Set in the middle of lovely china plates with each person having one all to himself.

                                                                              Whatever you do, as self-confessedd novice baker, please add this icing to your repertoire! It is wonderful. Much better than a heavy buttercream. It is a mainstay in my kitchen.

                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                I did it! It *is* delicious but it did come out a bit dry. DD & I couldn't help just eating the delicious batter. I baked for 22 min., try for less?

                                                                                As for the frosting, I really debated whether to do this one or a cream cheese frosting as I love the latter (don't like Sprinkles or any other "trendy" buttercream frosting). Finally decided to go with your suggestion - glad I did :) Girls loved it! I wasn't sure at first because it just tasted sooooo buttery, is it supposed to be like that? Also, didn't know how long to beat the frosting mixture & just stopped short of becoming stiff. Tasted light with smooth texture & easily spreadable.

                                                                                Leaving for the soccer game now...thanks.

                                                                                1. re: ceekskat

                                                                                  Re: dry cake. Maybe a CH who's a better baker than I (not hard) can verify, but I think that overbeating batter can make a cake dry. The length of time in the oven may have less to do with it if you're already doomed by overbeating.

                                                                                  I'm happy that you took the leap of faith in the old fashioned icing. It has been a traditional favorite for so many families and sort of got overshadowed by the rush to the commercial ease and no-brainer success of Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
                                                                                  It's got less fat, fewer calories and is cheaper. Not to mention all those additives in cream cheese. What's not to love? Especially since it tastes great and stands up in heat and humidity making it terrific for Summer, catering, potlucks, etc.
                                                                                  Mama's recipe says "beat for 10 minutes" which flat out wore us to a frazzle back in the 50s when we didn't have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I still follow that 10-minute rule and get a smooth, light icing that everyone loves.
                                                                                  The biggest battle is keeping my now-adult kids from sticking their fingers in the bowl and eating the icing before it ever hits the cake.

                                                                            2. Your icing recipe is a lot of an icing recipe that my mom used to make when I was a kid. I still remember it and loved it, so I just asked her for that recipe the other day. Here it is:

                                                                              1 cup milk
                                                                              3 rounded tablespoons flour

                                                                              Cook until thick, stir constantly so as not to get lumpy - pour into bowl and let cool.

                                                                              Add:

                                                                              1 cup sugar
                                                                              1 tsp. or more of vanilla
                                                                              1 cup Crisco

                                                                              Beat until looks like whipping cream - approx. 10 minutes.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Sunny Days

                                                                                The idea of Crisco just really turns me off, have never worked with it, can't imagine it tastes good. Can I sub butter in the frosting and the cake?

                                                                                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                  Check up-thread, including the OP.
                                                                                  This icing works with butter, margarine, and Crisco. ( Hell, I'm surprised nobody ever tried it with lard.)
                                                                                  I've used all three and it works fine. Frankly, there isn't that much difference in the flavor although I can taste a slight off-ish mouthfeel with Crisco. The only advantages to Crisco are when you are out of butter, economy, or for the pure white color which you cannot get with any buttercream.

                                                                                  This icing was very popular in the rural South in days before electricity, ergo: no refrigeration and no butter. Crisco is shelf stable.
                                                                                  Through WWII, butter was rationed and many people used Crisco where they could to save money - even over oleomargarine. Consequently, many versions of this "heirloom" recipe specify Crisco.
                                                                                  Ain't no reason to use Crisco today if it offends you. I don't.

                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                    Crisco DOES have it's uses. It has always grossed me out a little, so when I ran out recently, I just didn't buy anymore. Last few piecrusts I have made have been....less than up to standard. I suppose I'll get some more, I reserve it's use for pie crust and biscuit. Frosting...can't bring myself ;-)

                                                                                    1. re: danna

                                                                                      I've been using that organic shortening with the non-transfats. Has anyone noticed a difference between the different kinds of shortening there are available now? (Transfat vs. non-transfat, organic vs. Crisco, etc.) I'm all for organic and healthy, but ultimately, I want to produce the best-tasting treats!

                                                                              2. Axalady, thank you for sharing your family recipe! Before today I had only had red velvet cake once, didn't like it at all! Found out through cooking conversation that it had come from a mix. I'm not knocking mixes but that was NOT good tasting at all.
                                                                                Decided to try yours today and it was a completely different dessert. I'd never made an icing like this before, so that was fun to do. Didn't have enough food coloring but added water to make up the difference. It is so pretty and delicious! There were 4 us of for supper tonight and by the time we all had "just a sliver more" we'd eaten a full half. The night's not over yet, either. This one is going fast!

                                                                                I love knowing this is a special family recipe, makes the whole thing even better. Thank you, again!

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: fern

                                                                                  I'm so very happy to read my fellow Chowhounds are enjoying this recipe. I've always thought it was a very special cake.

                                                                                  1. re: Axalady

                                                                                    Just finished up another slice. Grown daughter came by and we had some together, she loved it too and wants the frosting recipe. Loved how light it is. Your recipe continues to travel...thank you, Axalady!

                                                                                2. Just found this while searching for a frosting to hold up outside in NC during summer party. Looks like it will working after reading all posts. Quick ?...is it unsalted butter or salted butter? Clear vanilla or regular? Does this frosting take color with paste well? Thanks for your help and the recipe!
                                                                                  jenjenNC

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jenjenNC

                                                                                    This icing holds up in the heat better than any other buttercream. It will still be soft - like whipped cream - but it won't slide right off the cake.

                                                                                    I have used both salted and unsalted, depending on what happened to be in the fridge, and didn't notice the diff. Guess there's enough of that cooked paste that there wasn't enough salt to matter.
                                                                                    I've used powdered and regular vanilla. Clear should be fine as well.
                                                                                    I have never tried the paste color.
                                                                                    I'm usually trying to keep the icing as white as possible which is why I generally use the powdered vanilla. I can't see any reason why the paste wouldn't work. Maybe you could add it when you add the cooked paste so that it would have the most possible time to incorporate.
                                                                                    I hope this recipe works for you. The most common mistake is not beating it long enough. Then the sugar doesn't dissolve completely and it remains slightly gritty. My mother's old recipe says, "Beat for 10 minutes," and I always do.
                                                                                    Good luck!

                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                      i've been making this recipe for years. i actually thought it was MY secret family recipe!!! (c: i got it from my southern gramma for use on her red velvet cake, which is eerily similar to the op's red velvet cake. possibly we're related?? (c:

                                                                                      but as far as the beating of the icing goes, i have had to beat that darn stuff for up to 1/2 hour before. it depends on the firmness of the butter and the temp of your room. i once made it for a 6 layer red velvet and the icing never fully set up. i did everything the same as i always do, but i had to chill each layer of cake separately to firm it up and then was unable to frost the sides. luckily, my client liked the "rustic" style of my 1 foot tall cake and luckily, my cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake made that look like the $90 cake she was purchasing. YIKES!

                                                                                      1. re: raygunclan

                                                                                        i'm super excited about making this cake but i'm curious if i can make it purple???
                                                                                        my soon-to-be 3 year old is having a "purple and blue birthday party" and is obsessed! if i use half blue and half red, or if i find purple food color, will it work?
                                                                                        also, if i make a 10 inch cake should i double the icing?

                                                                                        1. re: bedford

                                                                                          Sure it will. Any food coloring combo will work. Just a warning about purple-it can turn to black easily so experiment and use a light hand. If you like your icing piled high, def. double it.

                                                                                          1. re: bedford

                                                                                            how about a "blue velvet cake"? http://www.bakespace.com/recipes/deta...
                                                                                            (happy clean-up after that one ;-)).

                                                                                    2. Hi Axalady, I was wondering if it would effect the moisture of the cake if I use Wilton Icing Colors food coloring (which is a gel, not a liquid as food coloring usually is)?
                                                                                      Would I still need to use 2 oz. of food coloring if I use the gel?

                                                                                      If you have never heard of or used this icing, here is a link to the Icing page at wilton.com

                                                                                      http://www.wilton.com/store/site/prod...

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: NikkiLyn

                                                                                        I've used Wilton color for icing, but never for anything that required heat. Not sure how heat would affect the color.
                                                                                        Those colors are so intense that you shouldn't have to use a 1:1 replacement. That would be a very expensive substitution for plain old food coloring.
                                                                                        Just add 2 oz plain water to replace the liquid in the food color if you decide to try this. My mother's recipe uses a little water although it is otherwise almost identical to Axalady's Mom Mom's recipe.

                                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                          So I'm guessing its probably easier to just use plain old food coloring? lol Its inexpensive, so it doesn't matter, I just have some Wilton here at home and was wondering if it would make a difference. :)

                                                                                          1. re: NikkiLyn

                                                                                            I sure wouldn't use 2 oz of it! Yikes! And there is a caveat on their website about the taste of some of their colors when used in heavy concentrations. Could be yucky.
                                                                                            The other stuff is a lot cheaper.

                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                              Yeah I know what you mean. I'm getting ready to make an Elmo cake for my sons first birthday and the instructions say to buy no-taste red due to the immense amount of coloring needed. It will effect the taste of the cake and after all the hard work its going to take to make that thing, I'm not about to have it taste bad! I plan to use this cake and frosting recipe! I will let you know how it turns out on my practice run as the actual party isn't until October 11th haha I'm a big plan-aheader :) I should have known I couldn't use the icing coloring for the simple fact that it is just that; its ICING coloring! :| I'm a bit blonde at times, I will admit.

                                                                                      2. Also, what brand of Buttermilk do you use?

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: NikkiLyn

                                                                                          Most dairy products are regional. Different brands in different regions of the country, except for national chains like Safeway. Even then, they may get them from regional suppliers and package them in company trademarked containers, although I'm not certain.
                                                                                          I've used whatever buttermilk I picked up at the store, as well as powdered buttermilk. Didn't make a difference. Even when I used expensive organic stuff from grass fed cows.

                                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                            Thanks for your help! I can't wait to try this recipe!

                                                                                            1. re: NikkiLyn

                                                                                              My family loves that icing so much that I use it all the time, even when I'm not making RVC. It's so much lighter than regular buttercreams.
                                                                                              And hey! less fat, fewer calories - as though that makes a lot of difference when you eat a big slice of cake!

                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                And whats the point in making a RVC if you aren't going to have a big slice or 3? :P

                                                                                        2. Hi! I am baking this cake on the weekend for a Christmas party. I can't wait to try it! Does anyone have any suggestions for decorating it? Toasted coconut on the sides? Or would that ruin it? i was going to do nuts, but someone has a nut allergy. Any ideas on how I should decorate it or should I leave this one rustic looking?

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: freelancer

                                                                                            Also I have an 8 inch pan - should I get 9 inch pans instead? for this cake and most others?

                                                                                            1. re: freelancer

                                                                                              I just made this cake using ONE 8-inch pan, and that was a mistake. The middle collapsed a bit; and I think the larger pan allows the cake more evenly.

                                                                                            2. re: freelancer

                                                                                              I can't remember where I saw it, but piping holly leaves and berries looked very festive.

                                                                                              1. re: freelancer

                                                                                                piped white icing w/a special wilton flower tip
                                                                                                red candy "dust" or sparkles
                                                                                                red sprinkles
                                                                                                silver or white dragees (http://www.surlatable.com/product/id/...
                                                                                                )toasted coconut
                                                                                                or do what crumbs bakeshop does and sprinkle it w/red velvet cake crumbs

                                                                                                1. re: superfinespot

                                                                                                  I made this cake last night and it was a HUGE hit at the party! The icing was really subtle and not too sweet. The cake turned out perfectly moist and flavorful. I used Magi-strips on the cake pans so the cakes were 100% level. Amazing.

                                                                                                  Pictures attached. Thanks to Axalady for sharing this recipe!

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  1. re: freelancer

                                                                                                    Glad to read of your success, the cake looks wonderful! I have to purchase some magi-strips. What size pans did you end up using?

                                                                                                    1. re: Axalady

                                                                                                      Hi Axalady! Again, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful recipe! The magi-strips are AMAZING - there was not a single rise in the middle. You could put a level on it and it would have been flat!

                                                                                                      I ended up using heavy duty Cuinsinart 9 inch pans which was perfect. I might pick up some Fat Daddio pans though as I have heard they are the best for even distribution though with the Magi strips, you can use the cheapest pans out there and they'll put out perfectly level cakes.

                                                                                                      I'm going to use your using recipe for cupcakes I'm making next week though I'll be adding pureed strawberries to it. Can't wait to see if it works!

                                                                                                    2. re: freelancer

                                                                                                      Beautiful job, freelancer! Looks divine! Can't wait to make this one for the holidays.

                                                                                                2. I made this cake using one 8-inch pan, which was probably a mistake, as the center collapsed a bit.

                                                                                                  On the upside, the cake was sooooo goood. The texture was moist and fluffy. I used semi-sweet cocoa powder and one container of red food coloring. My cake had a lovely magenta color.

                                                                                                  1. This icing is great! My family didn't like sweet icing, so I tried this recipe using only 1/2 cup of sugar and we all loved it. Problem is the icing seems too runny, is there anyway to firm it more but with using only 1/2 cup sugar?

                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: monkii

                                                                                                      I would try cooking the milk cornstarch mixture till it's really thick.

                                                                                                      1. re: freelancer

                                                                                                        this is my favorite. Ive started my own business out of other people's love for this red velvet cake (and you must have a cream cheese frosting; at the end)

                                                                                                        For the red velvet cake
                                                                                                        1/4 cup red food coloring
                                                                                                        2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
                                                                                                        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                                                        1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
                                                                                                        1 1/2 cups sugar
                                                                                                        2 large eggs, at room temperature
                                                                                                        2 1/4 cups cake flour
                                                                                                        1 cup buttermilk
                                                                                                        1 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                        1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
                                                                                                        1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                                        Make the red velvet cake

                                                                                                        1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9- x 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.

                                                                                                        2. In a small bowl, whisk together until well combined the food coloring, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Set aside.

                                                                                                        3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Add in the salt. Beat in the cocoa mixture until thoroughly incorporated. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter at the end, making sure to mix well.

                                                                                                        4. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

                                                                                                        5. Let cake cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

                                                                                                        Ingredients
                                                                                                        2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
                                                                                                        1/2 cup butter, softened
                                                                                                        2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
                                                                                                        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

                                                                                                        1. re: smokeandapancake

                                                                                                          Please refer to the OP. This cake traditionally has a cooked white sauce-based icing.
                                                                                                          The cream cheese frosting which you claim it "must have" is a recent alteration, apparently dating to the increased popularity of Red Velvet Cake that followed the hit movie Steel Magnolias in 1989 in which it was featured.
                                                                                                          The original icing is a lighter, less sweet, less greasy compliment to the cake itself that enhances its flavor rather than overwhelming it.
                                                                                                          Yes, cream cheese icing is easier, allowing less-skilled cooks to make it successfully with little effort, but the original icing is preferable for texture and flavor, in addition to being "true" to the traditional recipe.

                                                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                            Amen.

                                                                                                            Making sense, MakingSense

                                                                                                            This thread is all about the original recipe, a beautiful and rare thing.

                                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                              does reducing the sugar effect it's consistency? if yes, any tips to help make it firmer or melt slower? I live in a very hot country...

                                                                                                              1. re: monkii

                                                                                                                This is a Southern cake. That icing works better for hot, humid weather than any I have ever seen. Have you ever been to New Orleans, Mobile, or anywhere in the Deep South in the summer?
                                                                                                                Even with that, my family loves this cake cold so we put it in the fridge. The icing gets pretty solid when it's chilled.

                                                                                                                Some possibilities:
                                                                                                                Perhaps you didn't cook the white sauce to a thick enough consistency.
                                                                                                                When I make this, I cream the butter and sugar for a good bit of time to dissolve the sugar.
                                                                                                                My mother's recipe calls for beating the icing for 10 minutes. It actually takes that long for all the sugar to dissolve so the icing isn't gritty, and so that's it's light and fluffy.

                                                                                                                Try making it with the full cup of sugar one time. If it works, cut down the sugar the next time by 1/4 cup and see what happens. If it's still OK, cut it down to your preferred 1/2 cup.
                                                                                                                That way, you'll be able to test if it's the sugar or some flaw in your method.

                                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                  Just double-checking on the flour measurement: That's 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour -- not 2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted?

                                                                                                                  Better yet, can someone give me the grams/ounces? (I HATE volume measurements! Why don't we weigh our ingredients in this country? -- it's vastly simpler and more accurate!)

                                                                                                                  Thanks.

                                                                                                                  1. re: guajillo55

                                                                                                                    Mama's recipe is almost identical to the OP, but it doesn't say "sifted."

                                                                                                                    I also use plain White Lily flour instead of cake flour. It's very low protein and makes a tender cake. Much cheaper than cake flour too.

                                                                                                                    There are untold numbers of recipes for traditional Red Velvet Cake. They are almost all identical, but with small variations. A little bit more or less vinegar or cocoa. Crisco, butter, or margarine. Sift or don't sift. Two or 3 layers, 8 or 9 inch.
                                                                                                                    My kids love this icing so much that I increase the recipe by 50% so I can slather it on really thick. That's also a good idea of you do three layers.
                                                                                                                    The only rule: no cream cheese icing. Blech!!!

                                                                                                      2. a little (ok, a *lot*) OT, but has anyone tried the starbuck's RVC cupcake? and what frosting does it have? i guess i'll have to "take one for the team" and try it! ;-).

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                          Dry, overly sweet and not worth the chow dollars.

                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                            Agreed. This recipe is like fine china, I don't know how a company could mass produce a cake that needs such delicate care for the baking soda/vinegar section.

                                                                                                            1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                              Sometimes being "popular" is the kiss of death. The minute a classic cake recipe becomes a main street hype item, it's as good as archived (imo).

                                                                                                              1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                They can get away with it because so many people have never tasted real RVC.

                                                                                                                If their first experience is nothing but a standard layer cake dyed bright red, what would they know about the complex flavor and texture of the real thing.
                                                                                                                If all they've ever had is that awful cream cheese icing with fluffy red layer cake, how would they know about the traditional icing and how it compliments the real cake that they have never eaten?

                                                                                                          2. Hi, I'm brand new to CH and a novice baker. I want to make this for my husband for Valentine's Day but I'd like to tint the icing pink. Will that work with this recipe? Any particular brand or kind of food coloring that would be best? I have a heart shaped pan I was going to use to bake the cake, would that alter the cooking temp or times? Thanks so much for your help, to the OP for sharing this family gem!

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: mandypants

                                                                                                              If you have never used food coloring before, let me give you some tips. You can just buy the plain liquid food coloring at the grocery store (although there are paste food colorings that keep from adding liquid to the frosting, i have never used enough coloring to matter)

                                                                                                              Then...treat the red coloring like it's poison. Dribble a bit in a small bowl or in a measuring spoon. Dip a toothpick in...then touch to the frosting. Beat. observe color. Repeat. This care is because a bad guess or a heavy hand w/ a squeeze bottle or a bumped elbow can turn a delicate pink frosting into something that looks like thickened Pepto Bismol or worse.

                                                                                                              A few years ago I made peppermint marshmallows that were supposed to have a pink swirl, and in the end looked like an episode of Dexter.

                                                                                                              1. re: danna

                                                                                                                This is the best metaphor for using food coloring!

                                                                                                              2. re: mandypants

                                                                                                                There is no reason why you can't. The icing recipe uses vanilla extract, also a liquid, so a drop or two of liquid food color which is all you'll need for a pale pink color, shouldn't make a difference. Neither should a teeny bit of paste.
                                                                                                                The icing is beaten for a long time to get the proper consistency so I'd add the color early on. Mama's recipe says to beat it for 10 minutes.
                                                                                                                As Danna says, a little goes a looooong way. Use a very light hand. You can always add, but you can't take it out.

                                                                                                                I would watch the timing on a heart shaped pan to make sure the top humps don't overcook. I've never had any particular problem with that but it's easy to misjudge the baking time on RVC.

                                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                  The first time I made this cake, I used half the amount of red food coloring the recipe called for, and my cake was still a fine, fiery, red.

                                                                                                                2. re: mandypants

                                                                                                                  welcome to chowhound, mandypants. be sure and post a picture of your cake. we all eat vicariously here! ;-).

                                                                                                                3. That's the same recipe that I have. Many years ago I had to beg my friend to give it to me. She had promised whoever gave it to her that she would never divulge it. I just finished making it for a birthday party tomorrow night. In reply to someone who asked, you fold in the baking soda and vinegar froth just like you would fold in eggwhites.

                                                                                                                  1. Hi Everyone. I never post anything and am new to CH. I am originally from the Deep South and remember my grandma making this cake. Unfortunately, none of the great recipes were passed down. I really love red velvet cake but do not have access to all of these ingredients because I live in a country where they do not exists. I would need to make some mods and hope I get the consistency correct. Can I run some of this by you guys and you can tell me what you think? Of course, this would be a work in progress to get it right!

                                                                                                                    1/2 cup Crisco = 1/2 cup Butter

                                                                                                                    cake flour = can I use regular gold medal flour sifted (this is the hard one)?

                                                                                                                    2 oz red food coloring = I only have 1 oz. Could I add more oil, water or milk to make up for the difference? A friend of mine sends things to me from time to time so I have a little left over. :)

                                                                                                                    1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup of milk & 1 Tablespoon vinegar (setting for 5mins)

                                                                                                                    Since I do not have buttermilk and may need to make that with reg milk and vinegar…do I still need to add the teaspoon of vinegar to make the fun volcano in the end. :)

                                                                                                                    Also, I am above sea level. Do I need to add a little more flour?

                                                                                                                    Thanks for any help you can offer!

                                                                                                                    Btw, always having a butter cream icing is beyond 100% better than a cream cheese icing. Why would you use heavy cream on a delicious cake? Butter cream fluffy icing, yum yum.

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: dandelions

                                                                                                                      I think all your substitutions will work. I use sifted regular unbleached all purpose flour in place of cake flour sometimes. I would sub water for the extra oz of food color. I think you do need the vinegar at the end. If you're worried about too much vinegar, perhaps you could curdle the milk w/ lemon juice? I'm just guessing on that one, and wondering if others agree.

                                                                                                                      1. re: danna

                                                                                                                        Danna, thanks for the reply. I'll try it and give it ago. What's the worst that could happen... it just might taste awful or fantastic. Who knows. :) In any case, next week I will go to it!

                                                                                                                        1. re: dandelions

                                                                                                                          you might discover something! A friend of mine was making sour cream pound cake last week, realized she had none, raided the fridge, and wound up using a combination of greek yogurt and brie. She said it was great! I imagine that brie must have imparted a really interesting flavor. have fun ;-)

                                                                                                                    2. can we make the buttercream into a chocolate flavored buttercream? how much cocoa powder or chocolate melt do I need? thanks

                                                                                                                      1. Thank you Axalady! I'm not sure what I liked better - the icing or the cake! I brought this cake to our murder mystery themed dinner club dinner and I'd show you a picture but I forgot my camera and there is nothing left on the plate but a few crumbs.

                                                                                                                        The only sub I made was butter for the shortening called for... texture was nice and light - and the chocolate flavor was really there - something I haven't always found with Red Velvets cakes.

                                                                                                                        I followed the icing recipe to the letter, but was short on time so probably didn't cool the cornstarch & milk mixture as much as I should have. After reading comments I used regular granulated sugar and beated til I got soft peaks. The icing was nice and light and completely smooth. I can see this icing becoming my go-to for birthday cakes.

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                          :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: Axalady

                                                                                                                            Made the buttercream again to ice the chow carrot cake (dh doesn't like cream cheese icing...I know, I know what can you do heh) and once again, absolutely perfect.

                                                                                                                        2. Would I be able to use Gold Medal Bread flour for the cake flour? When I compared the ingredients they both have similar ingredients except the bread flour has barley flour in it.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: kelsie4646

                                                                                                                            did you try the bread flour? i think it would be too hard.

                                                                                                                            1. re: kelsie4646

                                                                                                                              Bread flour is much higher protein that cake flour. It will make the cake denser and tougher. Regular flour can be subsituted since it's protein is somewhere in the middle, but you need to use about 1/4 cup less for this recipie.

                                                                                                                            2. I made this last night - cupcakes for a party at work. I liked the cake but my oven is finicky so I think my cupcakes were a tad dry. Nobody seemed to notice because they were gone in a flash. I also made some sour cream vanilla cupcakes and put the buttercream on it too. I am a devoted fan of this frosting recipe now and forever. Years ago I decorated and sold cakes and I hated the standard powdered sugar/butter recipe - so sickly sweet. I wish I had known about this frosting. I did know that you should beat the sugar and butter a long time to get it to the point so there is no granulation. When I added the cooled cornstarch/milk mixture and it turned to whipped cream I was thrilled. I piped it onto my cupcakes and they were beautiful. People commented on how perfect it was - not too heavy, not too sweet, just the right balance and everyone wanted more. I think I might like buttercream frosting again and I also think I will put this on my carrot cake (and chocolate cake and...!)
                                                                                                                              Thank you so much for posting this. I'm a southern girl as well - always searching for those old recipes I remember my mama making.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: TriciaRose

                                                                                                                                :)

                                                                                                                              2. Axalady, it is so nice to see that so many people have used your recipe! This is exactly the same as the one my girlfriend's Southern-born mother gave me back in high school in Columbus, Ohio in the early 70's. It's the only way I've ever made it, including the heavenly delicious icing.
                                                                                                                                Having lived in the Midwest most of my life, I didn't know till I moved to Georgia eight years ago that Red Velvet cake was a Southern tradition. When I first moved South, I tried a few Red Velvet cakes from bakeries, restaurants, and even the grocery store, thinking I could save myself the trouble of making it, as it was available everywhere. Wrong. Nobody makes a commercial RV cake like this.
                                                                                                                                A suggestion to those who may try this recipe for the first time - I used Dutch process cocoa once or twice to make the cake when I didn't have regular Hershey's Cocoa, and it Does Not Work!
                                                                                                                                Something changes in that whisper of cocoa-y, buttermilky soft flavor when you use the Dutched cocoa. Lesson learned!
                                                                                                                                My son at college called a few days ago and asked for my RV cake recipe. He wants to make it with one of his coed friends, to show her how it's REALLY supposed to taste!

                                                                                                                                1. This thread was just recommended to me by Caitlin McGrath, and coincidentally, I just received the Essential NY Times cookbook today, and in there is a nearly identical recipe. The flour for this one is AP, the vinegar is cider, but in every component, is nearly identical.

                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                    Well ... that book was published in 2010 and this recipe was osted in2007 ... I'm just saying.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                      roxlet, how about the frosting recipe? Is the Essential NYTimes cookbook frosting the same as the OP's?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                        No, the recipe for the frosting is completely different. In any case, my son is requesting a cream cheese frosting, so I won't be making either...

                                                                                                                                      2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                        I always used the called-for cake flour until one rainy day when I was out of it. Used White Lily instead and it worked great. White Lily is soft winter wheat with a low protein level and is probably comparable to cake flour. It's available pretty widely throughout the South.
                                                                                                                                        No more cake flour now to clutter my pantry shelf.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                          my mother loved to find white lily flour to make her biscuits.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                            It is so hard to find in the NY area. We used to bring it back from Atlanta, but since my MIL moved, we haven't been in a long time, and I have not found it recently...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                              You can buy it online. White Lily was sold and from certain posts I've read, it is no longer the same quality product.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                I have heard that, but I never see it any way.

                                                                                                                                      3. Will substituting 3/4c AP + 2 T cornstarch be a fairly good substitute for the cake flour?

                                                                                                                                        Or is 1c AP - 2 T a better substitute?

                                                                                                                                        I realize probably neither of these are perfect but budget is tight here. I can't really justify the expense of a 2 lb bag of cake flour when I have 25 lbs of AP that cost me under $7 right here.

                                                                                                                                        Also, the stuff another poster was referring to as Magi-strips is actually Magi-cake strips. Just to save people from the stuff that popped up when I tried to google Magi-strips. *SHUDDER*

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                          I cup AP, minus 2 Tbsp, + 2 tbsp corn starch.

                                                                                                                                        2. I served this yesterday for my son's birthday, and it was a HUGE hit. Tasters commented that they usually don't like Red Velvet cake because it tends to be dry. This one definitely wasn't. I made a variation on the frosting that I got from the book Southern Cakes. It is very similar to Mom Mom's Butter Cream Icing except that the proportions are slightly different, and it mixes in finely chopped pecans and coconut at the end. I though that it made a really delicious frosting that added a nice twist. Thanks Axalady for the recipe and I will be definitely adding it to the cake repertory.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                            roxlet, would you mind typing out your frosting recipe. The pecan/coconut combo sounds wonderful and I'd like an alternative frosting to use from time to time on this fab cake recipe. Mom Mom's RVC also makes delicious cupcakes.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                              Coconut Pecan Buttercream
                                                                                                                                              1 cup of milk
                                                                                                                                              2 tablespoons flour
                                                                                                                                              one cup of sugar
                                                                                                                                              1 cup of butter
                                                                                                                                              1 teaspoon vanilla
                                                                                                                                              1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
                                                                                                                                              1 cup finely chopped pecans

                                                                                                                                              Proceded exactly the same as for Mom Mom's frosting, cooking the milk with the flour, and cooling before adding to the sugar/butter mixture. Add the sugar to the butter a third at a time, beating very well after each addition. Add the coconut and pecans at the end.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                Thank you! I'm adding MM's cake & your frosting to my holiday party.

                                                                                                                                          2. I have never had Red Velvet before and was wondering what the fuss was about, so I went looking for a recipe for it. This is my first time making Red Velvet so I really don't have anything to compare it to, BUT this recipe is soooo yummy! I didn't make a cake, as I was looking to make cupcakes. I took the recipe, and turned it into cupcakes instead. I was a little "scared" of the forsting, as I never made frosting with cornstarch before, but this frosting is soooo yummy! I love baking, it's hard to buy any baked goods as my kids have nut allergies, so I tend to bake everything myself :)

                                                                                                                                            My kids and husband LOVE it! Thanks so much Axalady for sharing your recipe :) Below is a picture of how my cupcakes turned out.

                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: peekkaboo

                                                                                                                                              They look delicious!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: peekkaboo

                                                                                                                                                I'm so glad the recipe worked out for you and your family liked it. The cupcakes look beautiful!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: peekkaboo

                                                                                                                                                  Will be looking to make this recipe into cupcakes as well. Please share how many cupcakes you made (12? 18??24?) and how long you baked them? Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                2. Here we are five plus years later... Tonight the birthday girl requested chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. I made your Mom Mom's buttercream again, this time doubling the batch and making half with cocoa added to the roux. In a few minutes I'm going to let the birthday girl and her sleepover guests go crazy decorating their own cupcakes.

                                                                                                                                                  Thank you again Axalady, and Mom Mom for sharing :D

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                    So glad you continue to enjoy the icing maplesugar! It really is fantastic. I have a girlfriend whose birthday is just 9 days before mine so we make a Red Velvet Cake together. Her hubby says that eating this cake reminds him of eating an Oreo cookie. The cookie (cake) part is really good but you can't wait to get to the middle (icing)!

                                                                                                                                                    :)

                                                                                                                                                  2. I have made this cake and loved it. The next time I make it I will try making the icing with caster sugar, finer than regular sugar, it might be easier to blend.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I found this recipe amazing! The cake was super-moist and incredibly delicious. I made this spur of the moment and by god was it fabulous!

                                                                                                                                                      Just one downside. I read all the reviews and even though i seemed apprehensive about cooking the icing all the reviewers swore by it and were in love with it so i decided to give it a go.---BIG MISTAKE---

                                                                                                                                                      I was incredibly disappointed! I made it to the letter, and so many people were raving about it but i could not for the life of me stand it. I too hate super sweet icing, and cream cheese is unappealing to me but this unfortunately is as well.

                                                                                                                                                      I wasn't going to leave a review saying i hated the icing out of courtesy, but i thought what if i had seen at least one person say that the icing tasted like boiled milk, i probably wouldn't have spent so much time and ingredients making it. But if other people read this and are wondering about the icing this is my suggestion.

                                                                                                                                                      It will look nice, and be like whipped cream and appear oh so good. But if you are like me and the smell-let alone the taste- of boiled milk make you gag then this recipe isn't for you. I wonder why it never occurred to me before making it that the milk would actually have to cook up and thus make it taste like boiled milk...but it didn't. I could never stand when my mother used to boil milk, the smell and taste were revolting to me. This just had a boiled milk taste that i couldn't hide no matter how much vanilla and icing sugar i added on top. Thankfully i found a great vanilla icing recipe that wasn't too sweet, and didn't have a boiled milk taste.

                                                                                                                                                      All in all your cake recipe is superb and i will be keeping this recipe and making the cake again--just not the frosting.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: IntrepidDreamer

                                                                                                                                                        Did you really BOIL it? Anytime I make a milk-based custard, the first bubble is my clue to take it off the stove. It should be just about thick before it actually starts to boil. Once I see a big bubble rise up and pop, I give it a couple more quick stirs and take it off the stove.