Recipes » Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake: A Delicious Tradition for the Holidays

Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake: A Delicious Tradition for the Holidays

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Welcome to the world of Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake, a timeless recipe that brings back fond memories of holiday gatherings and family celebrations. Together we will explore the history, flavors, and secrets behind this beloved dessert. Join us on a journey through time and tradition as we delve into the origins of red velvet cake and share Grandma’s treasured recipe.

To be honest, it’s the one recipe she has coveted for decades that we finally got our hands on at the last family gathering!

delicious moist bite of grandmas red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting 2

What is Red Velvet Cake?

Red velvet cake is a classic dessert known for its moist texture, velvety crumb, and rich cocoa flavor. With its signature vibrant red color, this cake has become an iconic symbol of indulgence and celebration. The smooth and creamy frosting perfectly complements the cake’s decadent taste, making it a favorite choice for birthdays, weddings, and, of course, holiday feasts.

The Origin Story

The origin of red velvet cake is steeped in mystery and folklore. One popular theory suggests that the cake originated in the early 1900s in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Legend has it that a customer requested the recipe after enjoying a slice of the hotel’s red velvet cake.

Another theory traces the cake’s roots back to the South, where the combination of buttermilk and vinegar was used to react with cocoa, resulting in a reddish hue. Regardless of its exact origins, red velvet cake has captured the hearts and palates of people around the world.

Grandma’s Recipe

Now, let’s uncover the secret behind Grandma’s legendary red velvet cake. This treasured family recipe has been passed down through generations, creating a sense of nostalgia and warmth every time it’s baked. Here’s a glimpse into the ingredients and techniques that make Grandma’s red velvet cake truly special:

  • All-purpose flour, cocoa powder, and a hint of baking soda create the perfect balance of flavors.
  • Buttermilk and vinegar add moisture and tanginess, enhancing the cake’s texture and taste.
  • A touch of red food coloring gives the cake its signature hue, creating a visual delight on any dessert table.
  • Cream cheese frosting, with its creamy and slightly tangy notes, provides the ideal complement to the rich flavors of the cake.

How to Make Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake

This delicious Red Velvet Cake recipe has won numerous awards for its moist texture, rich cocoa flavor, and luscious cream cheese frosting combination. It’s a classic dessert that will impress your family and friends!

You’ll Need:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. This will ensure easy removal of the cakes once they are baked.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients to remove any lumps and ensure a smooth batter.

    red velvet cake dry ingredients
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. This step is crucial for creating a tender and moist cake. Beat the mixture for a few minutes until it becomes pale in color.

    how to cream butter step 2 using a mixer beat butter for a couple of minutes

  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. This will help incorporate air into the batter, resulting in a lighter texture.
  5. In a separate small bowl, combine the buttermilk, vanilla extract, red food coloring, and white vinegar. Mixing the wet ingredients separately ensures even distribution of flavors and colors throughout the cake.

    adding food coloring and mixing red velvet cake batter 2
  6. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. This method helps prevent overmixing, resulting in a tender and moist cake.

    combine the food coloring with the batter
  7. Divide the batter equally among the prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula to ensure even baking and a level cake surface.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through baking to ensure even heat distribution.
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. This resting time allows the cakes to set before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Cooling the cakes completely is essential before frosting to prevent the frosting from melting.
  10. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
    Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla extract, beating until well combined and fluffy.

    For a velvety smooth frosting, ensure that the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature.

    cream cheese frosting layers for red velvet cake
  11. Once the cakes have cooled completely, place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread a generous layer of cream cheese frosting on top. Repeat with the remaining layers. To prevent the layers from sliding, apply a thin layer of frosting between each layer as a “glue.”
  12. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting. Use an offset spatula for smooth and professional-looking frosting.
  13. Optional: Decorate the cake as desired, using cake crumbs, fresh berries, or other creative toppings. Let your imagination run wild!
  14. For best results, refrigerate the cake for at least an hour before serving. Chilling the cake allows the flavors to meld together and makes it easier to slice.

Slice, serve, and enjoy this award-winning red velvet cake with its irresistibly moist texture and delectable cream cheese frosting!

Even More Tips and Tricks:

  • For a deeper red color, use gel-based red food coloring instead of liquid. Gel food coloring is more concentrated, requiring less quantity.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes until it curdles slightly.
  • To ensure an evenly baked cake, make sure your oven is preheated properly and use an oven thermometer to verify the temperature. Oven temperatures can vary, affecting baking times.
  • When measuring flour, use the spoon and level method. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level off the excess with a straight edge. This prevents packing the flour, leading to a dry and dense cake.
  • To achieve a fluffy and creamy frosting, make sure the cream cheese and butter are softened but not melted. Softened ingredients incorporate air better, resulting in a lighter texture.
  • For professional-looking frosting, consider using a cake turntable. It allows for smoother and more Even and consistent frosting application.
  • To make the cake layers easier to handle and frost, you can chill them in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before assembling. This will help firm up the cakes and prevent them from crumbling.
  • If you want to add a touch of tanginess to the cream cheese frosting, you can incorporate a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. It adds a refreshing twist to the sweetness.
  • For a decorative touch, use a piping bag with a star tip to pipe rosettes or other designs on the top of the cake. This adds an elegant and professional look to your creation.
  • If you have any leftover cake scraps after leveling the layers, don’t let them go to waste! You can crumble them up and use them as a delicious garnish for the sides of the cake or as a topping for ice cream or cupcakes.
  • When serving the cake, it’s best to let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before slicing. This allows the flavors to fully develop, and the cake will be easier to cut without crushing the layers.
  • To store any leftover cake, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days. Just make sure to bring it back to room temperature before serving for the best taste and texture.

Now, armed with these tips and tricks, you’re ready to create a red velvet cake masterpiece that will impress everyone who takes a bite. Enjoy the process and savor every moment of indulgence as you delight in Grandma’s award-winning recipe!

Baking Tips and Tricks

Baking a perfect red velvet cake requires attention to detail and a few insider tips. Here are some suggestions to ensure that your cake turns out moist, flavorful, and visually stunning:

  1. Properly measure your ingredients to maintain the right balance of flavors and textures.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients to remove any lumps and ensure a smooth batter.
  3. Properly cream the butter and sugar to achieve the perfect texture cake.
  4. Use room temperature ingredients to achieve even mixing and optimal rise.
  5. Be mindful of the baking time to avoid over or undercooking the cake.
  6. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting to prevent melting and sliding.

The Frosting

When it comes to red velvet cake, the frosting plays an equally important role as the cake itself. Grandma’s preferred choice is a luscious cream cheese frosting. The tanginess of the cream cheese beautifully complements the sweetness of the cake, creating a harmonious flavor profile.

Smooth it generously over the cake layers, creating a tantalizing masterpiece that will leave everyone coming back for seconds.

cream cheese frosting layers for red velvet cake

Serving and Presentation

To truly showcase Grandma’s red velvet cake, consider these serving and presentation ideas:

  • Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder or red velvet cake crumbs for an elegant touch.
  • Garnish with fresh berries, such as raspberries or strawberries, to add a burst of color and freshness.
  • Serve individual slices on vintage dessert plates for a nostalgic feel.
  • Make cupcakes for individual-sized servings, perfect for Valentine’s Day

red velvet cupcakes

Memories and Traditions

Red velvet cake holds a special place in our hearts, evoking memories of family gatherings, holiday traditions, and joyous celebrations. Perhaps you have your own cherished memories of Grandma’s red velvet cake. Share your stories and traditions in the comments below; we would love to hear them!

Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake Recipe – Print Now

red velvet cake adorned with fresh berries
cropped b101 header logo

Award-Winning Grandma's Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Budget101.com by Melissa 'Liss' Burnell
Indulge in the irresistible charm of this award-winning red velvet cake recipe, hailed for its moist texture, rich cocoa flavor, and heavenly cream cheese frosting.
Add to Collection
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cool 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course christmas recipes, Dessert, holidays, valentines day recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 753 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
Cream Cheese Frosting:

Instructions
 

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    1 cup unsalted butter
    2 cups granulated sugar
    4 large eggs
  • In a separate small bowl, combine the buttermilk, vanilla extract, red food coloring, and white vinegar. Mix well.
    1 cup buttermilk
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons red food coloring
    1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, ensuring not to overmix.
  • Divide the batter equally among the prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • While the cakes are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating until well combined and fluffy.
    16 oz cream cheese
    ½ cup unsalted butter
    4 cups powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Once the cakes have cooled completely, place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread a generous layer of cream cheese frosting on top. Repeat with the remaining layers.
  • Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting, creating a smooth and even layer.
  • Optional: Decorate the cake with cake crumbs, fresh berries, or any other desired garnishes.
  • Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Slice, serve, and enjoy this award-winning red velvet cake!

Equipment

Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer

Notes

Note: This recipe has won numerous awards for its moist texture, rich cocoa flavor, and luscious cream cheese frosting combination. It's sure to impress your family and friends!
Recipe Size Alteration Note

If you altered the ingedients above by doubling or tripling the recipe, you may also need to change the pan/dish size and adjust the cooking/baking time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 753kcalCarbohydrates: 97gProtein: 8gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 156mgSodium: 343mgPotassium: 148mgFiber: 1gSugar: 75gVitamin A: 1329IUCalcium: 100mgIron: 2mgNet Carbs: 96g
Tried this recipe?Mention @Budget101com or tag #Budget101com!

Conclusion

Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake is more than just a dessert; it’s a symbol of love, tradition, and the joy of sharing delicious food with loved ones. Whether it’s a holiday gathering or any special occasion, this classic cake is sure to delight and create lasting memories.

So, gather your ingredients, follow Grandma’s time-honored recipe, and savor each bite of this timeless treat. Happy baking and may Grandma’s red velvet cake bring sweetness to your festivities for years to come.

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