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Grandma's Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Grandma's Red Velvet Cake Recipe

In our family no one thinks it’s Christmas without the Red Velvet Cake. I baked the first one for Christmas in 1963 when I found the recipe in the newspaper and my Mother kept the tradition going into the ’80s. It’s different than other Red Velvet Cakes I’ve tasted over the years, since this one tastes only mildly chocolate and the icing is as light as snow. —Kathryn H. Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling YIELD:14 servings


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 bottles (1 ounce each) red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  • 2. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool layers 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • 3. For frosting, in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir water into cornstarch until thickened and opaque, 2-3 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Beat butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in cornstarch mixture. Gradually add confectioners' sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Spread between layers and over top and sides of cake. Yield: 14 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 slice equals 590 calories, 34 g fat (21 g saturated fat), 117 mg cholesterol, 518 mg sodium, 70 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Reviews for Grandma's Red Velvet Cake

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Reviewed Oct. 25, 2011

"I made this recipe but I thought it had an underlying egg tast to it. Everyone liked it, and i will use it, but I will still try other recipes."

Reviewed May. 8, 2011

"This cake is exceptionally good and the icing delicious. I used 1 bottle of red food coloring as suggested and increased the baking cocoa to 4 tbsp. Tossed my old red velvet cake recipe and replaced it w/ this one! Really tasty and the presentation is great when garnished w/ a raspberry sauce and a few fresh raspberries. A keeper!"

Reviewed Mar. 8, 2011

"I have never rated a recipe before but I have made this recipe both as a cake and cupcakes 3 times within a one month period. They are my families new favorite. I did make 2 minor changes. I use only 1 bottle of red food coloring and add 1 more tablespoon of baking cocoa. Hope you enjoy as much as we have."

Reviewed Feb. 18, 2011

"I would make the cake but not the frosting. It was runny no matter how much extra 10X sugar I added. It slid right off the cake even after two extra cups. Ended up making a favorite buttercream recipe that I use often that was so much better."

Reviewed Feb. 15, 2011 Edited May. 9, 2016

"Super moist cake with THE best buttercream frosting ever!!"

Reviewed Dec. 8, 2010

"While this cake was very nice & moist, we all thought it needed a little more chocolate taste (Red Velvet is always a mild chocolate, but this was just too mild)."

Reviewed Oct. 14, 2010 Edited Apr. 4, 2016

"i made this recipe for my cake decorating class it turned out really moist. I only had on 1 oz bottle of red food dye( which is the perfect amount if you ask me this one pictures looks a little too dark). It turned out great!!"

Reviewed Feb. 23, 2010

"I liked this recipe. The frosting was good, but I used less butter than the recipe called for because I don't like the buttery frostings. I found that the cake didn't rise as much as I was expecting, but it was still fabulous."

Reviewed Feb. 16, 2010

"Super moist, very flavorful and the icing is out of this world!"

Reviewed Feb. 14, 2010

"We made this as cupcakes with all purpose flour and they were wonderful. The frosting is also very good. Sending the recipe to my daughter to try! Shawn in Manchester, Mi"

Reviewed Oct. 31, 2009

"We made cupcakes instead of a cake, and they turned out great. Baked 20 mins at 350. The recipe yields 24 cupcakes."

Reviewed Sep. 6, 2009 Edited Apr. 4, 2016

"Best red velvet cake but the frosting is the best recipe ever. I use this recipe whenever I need a frosting."

Reviewed Apr. 13, 2009

"This cake is delicious. Light and tasty! A must try!"

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