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Red Velvet Cake

“It’s the Dolly Parton of cakes:  a little bit tacky, but you love her,” said Angie Mosier, an Atlanta food writer.

The day that you either love or hate, depending upon your love-life status, is fast approaching and here is a charmer of a dessert, Red Velvet Cake for the day!  I can’t really tell you what it tastes like other than delicious because it is neither a chocolate (although there is a little cocoa in it) cake nor a white cake and it certainly doesn’t taste like anything red, as in berries.  It has a distinct flavor of its own. It has to be the brilliant red color that is so alluring!

Red Velvet Cake, according to some, was invented in the 1920’s at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City and was considered their signature dessert.  Others insist that it is from the Civil War era and that southern ladies baked it to “keep their husbands home.”  If you’ve seen the great movie “Steel Magnolias,” you will recall that the groom’s cake (another southern tradition) was a Red Velvet Cake made in the shape of an armadillo.  This movie brought a resurgence in the cake’s popularity and I tend to believe the Civil War version as it is served so much in the South, particularly around Savannah.

Whatever your love-life status is, you will love this cake!  It actually looks like ketchup when it is poured into the cake pans to bake.  It is so very moist with a fabulous cream cheese frosting covering it; sinfully good and rich.  Those people in the South have a good reason to be crying out their “oohs” and “aahs” when it is served!  Sweet, it is!

This recipe is out of “Mrs. Wilkes’ Boardinghouse Cookbook.”  Mrs. Wilkes took over a non-descript turn-of-the-century boardinghouse on a brick street in historic downtown Savannah.  Her goal was to make a living plus offer comfortable lodging and home-style Southern cooking served family style in the downstairs dining room. 

Mrs. Wilkes is in her nineties now and four generations of Wilkeses help her keep the restaurant's tables laden with platters of her fried chicken, ribs, biscuits and her Red Velvet Cake.  Here's the recipe:

Red Velvet Cake


2 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 to 3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 ounce bottle red food coloring


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the eggs, sugar, oil and vinegar.  Sift the cake flour, baking soda, and cocoa together.  Add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients while beating.  Slowly add the buttermilk.  While still beating, add the vanilla and food coloring. 

Pour into three 8” greased and floured cake pans.
Bake for about 25 minutes.  Press lightly; if the layers are spongy, then the cake is done.  A toothpick will come out clean.
Let set in pans for 10 minutes on wire racks.
Frost when cool.



1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter
1 (1 pound) box confectioner’s sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla


Combine the cream cheese and butter, melt over very low heat.  
Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
If frosting becomes too thick, add a little milk.
Frost the cake layers.

Not only deeeelicious, it’s also beautiful!


  1. My daughter wanted a red velvet cake for her birthday, so I made it! One of my sons thought it was odd, but everyone else loved it. It is a strange looking thing, no doubt, and it is a different flavor, but fun to make!

    Thanks for dropping by and visiting me and Thor!

  2. I love red velvet cake, and finally a recipe that doesnt scare me away. Thankyou very much.

    Following :D

  3. Marje, it is a little odd but, great to bake!

    Fortunas, Yes, there's nothing scary about it. It's actually very easy to make and tastes delicious!

    Thanks to both of you!

  4. this cake looks absolutely delicious - might just dare try baking it! shocking colour - but my hubs favourite, so he'll be pleased. And I guess that's what valentine is all about...:o)

    I can see why you like Zits, with 2 sons :o))
    Thanks for dropping by.

  5. LOL! You're right on spot about Zits, Monica! Thanks!


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