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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, combine water and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir 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: 595 calories, 34g fat (21g saturated fat), 115mg cholesterol, 564mg sodium, 71g carbohydrate (52g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

Reviews for Grandma's Red Velvet Cake

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Debra Torres User ID: 4566970 259744
Reviewed Jan. 16, 2017

"This cake looked pretty, but the amount of butter in the frosting was just too much for our family. A whole pack of butter! I think I'll keep looking for a better recipe."

Jan User ID: 8993384 258622
Reviewed Dec. 25, 2016

"Followed directions- added 1 more T cocoa and only1 bottle red food coloring. I watched the baking time closely. My cake was moist, pretty as the picture , and everyone loved it for Christmas dessert. Will keep this recipe. There sure was a lot of frosting"

GaitherMom User ID: 6038554 113519
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."

parksville User ID: 1598935 122134
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!"

MW Recipe User ID: 2695913 122133
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."

susqgal User ID: 2811438 165083
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."

msnowell User ID: 5544788 179146
Reviewed Feb. 15, 2011 Edited May. 9, 2016

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

angelasandoval User ID: 2401339 180937
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)."

danielleylee User ID: 4484886 183283
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!!"

slug9000 User ID: 3827284 165082
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."

HsyBar User ID: 1594532 181904
Reviewed Feb. 16, 2010

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

shawninger User ID: 4002394 143606
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"

martinna User ID: 2142710 122132
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."

idouggs User ID: 4080763 166897
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."

cookjan User ID: 1082472 180888
Reviewed Apr. 13, 2009

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

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