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Grandma's Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Grandma's Red Velvet Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Grandma's Red Velvet Cake Recipe

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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
MAKES:14 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES: 14 servings


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 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

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.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. Combine 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 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. For frosting, in a small saucepan, combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until thickened and opaque. Cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in cornstarch mixture. Gradually add confectioners' sugar; beat until frosting is light and fluffy. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Yield: 14 servings.
Originally published as Grandma's Red Velvet Cake in Reminisce February/March 2009, p 50

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.

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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 Oct. 13, 2011

"Who wants to put two bottles of red food colouring in food that we are going to feed our families. That is crazy. This recipe used to call for beets did it not that are so nutritious."

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."

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