Red Velvet Cake Recipe

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We have five birthdays in our family in September, and they all request this cake! The recipe comes from my husband's Aunt Edith and makes a cake that's pretty and delicious.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 35 min.
MAKES:12 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 35 min.
MAKES: 12 servings


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) red food coloring
  • 3 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 slice) equals 542 calories, 25 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 362 mg sodium, 73 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine food coloring and cocoa; add to creamed mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla and vinegar.
  2. Pour into two waxed paper-lined 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
  3. For frosting, whisk together milk and flour in a saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick (like paste), about 5 minutes. Cool. Place in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Beat at high speed until consistency of whipped cream. Frost one cake layer; top with second layer and frost entire cake. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Red Velvet Cake in Grandma's Great Desserts Cookbook 1992, p19

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Reviewed Nov. 27, 2015

"made this for thanksgiving family loved it!!"

Reviewed Jan. 23, 2013

"to answer 808jen's question, YES you can use unsweetened cocoa powder in place of baking cocoa powder."

Reviewed Oct. 14, 2011

"Not bad, but my family thought it had a flour taste to it. Also, the cakes need to be cooled completely before frosting. The cake is completely gone, so it wasn't that bad, but I think I am going to try another recipe for Red velvet cake."

Reviewed May. 26, 2008

"When a recipe calls for baking cocoa powder, can I use unsweetened cocoa powder? Is it interchangeable in recipes? Thanks."

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