Red Velvet Cake Recipe

A Slice of my Red Velvet Cake RecipeThis red velvet cake recipe is the original recipe made from scratch. This recipe also demonstrates how to make the original icing which is also made from scratch as opposed to cream cheese.

If you have to know.. this is my most favorite cake in the world and my wife makes me one every year on my birthday.. can you say DELICIOUS!

This red velvet cake recipe is worth a million dollars to me but I am so nice and I like to share so here it is…

Red Velvet Cake Recipe


2 oz Red Food Coloring
2 TBS Cocoa
1/2 Cup Shortening (Crisco)
1-1/2 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
2-1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Vinegar
1 tsp Baking Soda


Make paste of food coloring and cocoa – set aside – cream shortening and sugar – add eggs and cocoa paste – beat until fluffy – then add buttermilk and flour that has been mixed with salt – add vanilla and mix well with beater – remove from mixer – add vinegar – mix by hand then add baking soda – mix by hand again – bake layers in (3) 8-inch pans which have been greased and floured – bake at 350 degrees  for 30 minutes.

The Red Velvet Cake Icing


3 TBS Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 Stick Butter (Softened) do not melt
3 TBS Shortening (Crisco)
1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla


Cook flour and milk until it forms a thick paste – set aside to cool – refrigerate to make sure it is completely cooled – Cream butter and shortening until fluffy – add sugar and beat again – add vanilla and beat well – add cooled cooked mixture (make sure this mixture is cold or it will melt the butter and shortening when added to this mixture) – beat until it looks like whipped cream – spread on cooled cake

There you have it.. the original red velvet cake recipe for your very own. Feel free to make one and send it to me in appreciation for my generosity;-)


  1. Love red velvet cake will have to give this a try.
    Thanks Jeff

    • I am so happy to have found this recipe. My Mother, who passed away this year, always made this cake with this icing, not cream cheese. I somehow misplaced it. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing…you ARE so nice! This is a family favorite and we have our own recipe, but I wanted to try different measurements of the ingredients to make it even better – this sounds perfect!

  3. Biryani Recipes says:

    Yummy recipe. Sounds delicious. Thanks for introducing it. I like Red Velvet Cake. Thank u.

  4. Love the recipe. Made it for my husband’s birthday and were loving how nice it came out easy to follow recipe.

  5. I love this style of CAKE. But i’ve only been treated to the BOX. I am looking forward to making, baking and EATING this recipe.

  6. The time is all wrong. It is 12:15 AM CDT Omaha, Ne

  7. Michele Restainer says:

    Jeff, I tried making your Red Velvet cake for my daughter’s birthday. It started to raise while baking and them fell in the middle before I took it out. I went back through the recipe to make sure I didn’t miss something and I had put everything in. Do you have any ideas as to why this happened?

    • In my experience, cakes usually fall due to sudden changes in temperature or if the oven temperature is not correct. You might check to make sure your oven is holding a good temperature and also , try not to open the door at all until it is completely done and then very carefully move the cake to a cooling rack without any sudden or jerky movements. This can also be caused by ingredients that are not fresh. the baking powder and the flour are probably the prime suspects when it comes to ingredients.

      My mother used to make us tip-toe through the house when she was baking a cake.. she always said that if we didn’t, it would make the cake fall;-)

  8. Kathy Waldrop says:

    TULSA JEFF: While visiting friends in Charleston, SC, several years ago I had a REAL red velvet cake with a cooked frosting and have been trying to find the right one just to prove to west coast friends and family that it is the best ever. The hostess gave me the recipe but in my travels it was lost. Couple questions, I see you call for all purpose flour and not cake flour? That might have been one of my problems in the past and I wonder if using a sifter for the flour is necessary? Will be making the cake for group of attorneys getting together. Large group so should have lots of different opinions. If overall success will feeze and slice and send it FedEx. Thanks.

  9. sharon garner says:

    I made this cake for my son’s birthday. it boasted it was the original red velvet cake. it tasted like red velvet cake but it was so dry i could have sanded sheet rock with it. i followed the recipe word for word so was there an ingredient left out, maybe oil? this was the worst cake i’ve ever made.

  10. My boyfriends birthdays this wednesday and i know he likes red velvet cake. Its going to be the first time i ever make it so i hope it comes out as delicious as you described it >.<
    though i have a question, as for the ingredients part..would that be vanilla extract? And white vinegar you are referring to?

  11. I really like this recipe so im going to make it

  12. my mother clipped the recipe from a new york newspaper in the 1960’s. A lady spent a lot of money purchasing the recipe from a designer store, then she published it for the world. It calls for 4 bottles of food color. I have never found this recipe since. Your recipe sounds good and I will try it. I am glad to get the butter roux icing recipe. thanks

  13. Im going to try this receipe for christmas, my question is I love lots of icing on my cake this receipe doesnt seem like it makes enough for a 3 layer cake, should I double the ingreident?

    • It should; this makes a large amount of frosting. The 3 layer version is for 8″ layers; you could also make 2 9″ layers. I am also a frosting junkie!

  14. Pork Scratching says:

    I love this cake. Thanks to share Ingredients of this recipe.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing!!! This is going to be the cake I will be making for my brothers wedding cake 🙂 So excited!

  16. This recipe made a great cake, moist good flavor and pretty to view. Frosting as it should be for an original red velvet cake. No cream cheese frosting on red velvet.

    • I am actually planning an experiment with this frosting using half cream cheese and half butter just to see what happens. Regular Cream cheese frostings tend to be runny and this frosting is definitely not runny- I love its texture and it handles really well.

  17. I made this, it was delicious, great recipe, also, I added a drop of mint extract to the frosting and it tasted great.

    With or without the mint, this recipe is the BEST red velvet cake, and icing ever.

  18. i dont know if this icing is gonna work……
    it looks to mushy but hey maybe it will work…….

  19. Sweetntwisted says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! So glad to see a recipe that does not used the bastardized cream cheese version!

  20. just made this cake it turned out great! i used 2 nine inch pans and i was worried that would mess it up. but it looks and tastes great. thank you!

  21. Casey Graveline says:

    I also had the original recipe from the 60’s. Same story, lady asked the restaurant for the recipe and then charged her $200.00 Therefore, she decided to share it with everyone. I remember the recipe and yours is the same directions; making several mixtures then combining them. Only one ingredient was different. My recipe called for cake flour instead of all purpose flour, Would this make a big difference. Your frosting is spot on to the recipe I had. Only problem I had with frosting was it ended up lumpy on occassion. When this happened I told everyone it was tapioca and they were pleased. Whatever works. LOL

    • LOL sounding like the Neiman Marcus cookie legend. Neiman’s swears this never happened. But it makes a good story!

  22. So happy to find this recipe — I had one that I got from my friend’s grandmother many years ago, it was handwritten so I decided to type it up but forgot to include the baking temperature and time! The only difference with the recipe I have is it calls for butter instead of Crisco. The rest is exactly the same, and this is the only icing I like with red velvet cake. How much baking time should I allow to make this as a sheet cake? Thanks!

    • I love this frosting recipe. I have found it on Pinterest with the name Ermine Frosting,. I have also seen it named Chalk White Frosting because if you make it with Crisco and clear vanilla it is blindingly white. I use butter and real vanilla though; I don’t care how white it is.
      It makes a great coconut cake – fill between the layers with a mixture of the frosting, some well drained crushed pineapple and coconut – even some chopped pecans if you like., then frost the outside.

      My husband wants me to try it with lemon, and I want to make a chocolate version, It is a very easy to handle frosting, too.

  23. Denise Witzen says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe…I use to have my Aunts recipe and now can not find it…this is close to hers…so thank you again

  24. Trudy Laub says:

    I wanted to review the process for combining the ingredients because when made correctly it is the best. We make this red cake once a year. We call it the birthday cake for Jesus Birthday. It is a family tradition and a good reminder of what we are celebrating

  25. Carolyn Smith says:

    I’ve had this “original” Red Cake recipe for over 50 years now & it’s still a “winner”!

  26. I am the baker in my family so I have had years of experience baking however this cake was one of the worse I have ever made. I followed the instructions carefully but the cake was not good. My family all tasted it but they all agreed it was not good. I threw what was left away. NO one wanted to take any home and I certainly didn’t want any of it.

    • I was suspicious of the instructions re: the vinegar and baking soda. I have always combined the soda and vinegar and added it at the very end before putting it in the pans. This one mixes them in separately and that may be the problem.

  27. Thanks for posting the Original Red Velvet Cake! You have made this Southern Girl very Happy! Hope your Holidays are filled with love and laughter!

  28. in my familys recipe we mix the baking soda and the vinager and add it last and go right into oven after…. helpful tip

  29. Amazing! I have virtually the same recipe passed down from a great aunt, except that it calls for 3 tablespoons of cocoa, and also for 1/4 cup of “very strong black coffee.” The frosting is exactly the same. I LOVE this cake; it’s the only cake I do like.

  30. I’m just watching someone making a red velvet cake on cookingchanneltv and they used a butter cream icing. Then they said “Instead of a cream cheese icing, they use butter cream.”. I say they’re both wrong! This is the correct icing for red velvet cake. I think it’s what was used in Hostess Cupcakes, as well.

    • When I ran into this frosting on Pinterest, it was in a group of several buttercream style frostings: American Buttercream, Italian Buttercream, French Buttercream, and this one which was named Ermine buttercream. It is buttercream in that it contains butter which is creamed with sugar. The milk/flour thickener just gives it that awesome texture which makes it so easy to work with.

  31. on the frosting you said to use , “sugar”…is that granulated or powdered?

  32. If you don’t like this cake, you’re probably used to box mixes, not real, old fashioned scratch cakes. Years ago, while they had access to baking soda, they didn’t always have baking powder, hence using soda with vinegar and buttermilk for leavening. I’m a senior citizen. My mother used this same recipe, but we used all butter we churned ourselves, in both cake and frosting. Granulated sugar, as the frosting is a cooked frosting. I double the frosting recipe. The frosting will melt if the room is too warm. I refrigerate the cake before I transport it.

  33. Forgot to add: my mother used larger cake pans, dividing the cake batter into the two; then, after the cake was cool, she divided the layers into four layers.

  34. I would like to make this red velvet cake in a bundt pan. Can anyone help me with what temp to set the oven at and how long to bake it? Thank you.

  35. Just found your recipe on line, and was a bit surprised! I have virtually the exact same recipe, which has been “in the family” for a long time. The only difference is my recipe calls for 3 Tbsp of cocoa (I use Hershey’s Special Dark), and also 1/4 cup strong black coffee to be mixed with the cocoa and food coloring. My frosting recipe is exactly double of this one… This is the absolute best Red Velvet cake!! The only thing I (personally) would add to your instructions is to NEVER use the “convection” setting on newer ovens as it can really suck the moisture out of the cake!

  36. My grandmother would use one 1 oz. bottle of red food coloring and fill the bottle with water for the second oz. It made not difference in the bright red color of the cake.

  37. Granulated sugar in icing. My old recipe had crisco in the icing no butter.

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