Red Velvet

So in the midst of all this baby talk I forgot to mention that poor, neglected Nathan had his golden birthday last month. 28 on the 28th. I just so happened to be off work that whole day and decided it was my mission to become a domesticated housewife in the name of entering motherhood quite soon (see? there I am again with the baby talk).

No, I did not cook a four course meal. Puh-leez. As if I'm THAT crazy. I told him I would bake a cake for him in any flavor.....from scratch.

Please pause on those last two words for a moment.

Baking a cake from scratch is no freaking joke. Practically Martha Stewart material, right? If I could achieve this feat I would officially label myself 'domesticated.' Lots of pressure ensued especially when I realized that not only Nate would consume this project of mine, but my Whips-Things-Up-From-Scratch-Everyday-Like-It's-Nothing mother-in-law would also taste my attempt at domestication. Scary stuff, right?

Nate chose red velvet cake which is incredibly cute and a little touching, considering that my side of the family is all over this type of cake. Memaw makes it every single year for birthdays, my mom usually makes (or buys) one for me if possible, and I love that it's a little quirky and unique. Plus it's really pretty, so that's a bonus, but would it be easy to make? Hmmmm.

So I did what any wanna-be domestic goddess would do: I emailed Memaw immediately and asked for very specific instructions. And because she is the most bomb Grandma in the world, she emailed me back right away. Yes, my Grandma is the queen of internets, didn't you know? She's on Facebook, emails me nearly daily, AND she can cook literally anything in the world. I know, it's insane.

So I thought I would share this 'family secret' recipe with you lovelies today. Don't say I didn't warn you....I asked for 'details' and it was so worth it.


1 package fudge marble cake recipe [18-1/4 oz]
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk [instead of buying buttermilk, add either 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the milk and stir] let set for about a minute [I do this before I start putting the cake batter together]

1 bottle [1 oz] red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven: 350

Grease[ or use a spray] and then coat with flour, 2- 9" cake pans.

Combine cake mix [there are two packages in the box] and baking soda and stir.

Add eggs, buttermilk, food coloring and vanilla
BLEND on low until moistened.
BEAT on high for 2 minutes, scraping sides occasionally

Pour into the cake pans [some people use a 9 by 13 baking dish, but the two layers are very pretty

BAKE 30-35 minutes [I check at 30, touch the top and if it bounces, it's ready to come out]

COOL for 10 minutes BEFORE REMOVING from pans

BEFORE removing from pans to a wire cooling rack, I run a sharp knife around the edge and gently turn onto the racks.

****While cake is baking begin making the frosting

5 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk

1 cup butter or margarine [softened/ room temp]
[I zap in microwave about 10 seconds if I forget to set out the butter from refrig]
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a small bowl, put 2 T. of flour, ADD enough of the milk to make a thick paste, stirring all the time. Add more flour and then more milk, continuing to stir and add till all of milk/flour are in the mixture. [Reason: the flour has a tendency to lump if put it and milk together all at one time]

Put in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil,[medium heat] STIRRING CONSTANTLY. It will thicken quickly and resemble a custard [ if slightly lumpy--not to worry:)]

Remove from heat. Stir. Cover. Refrigerate [ I put mine in freezer and stir every two or three minute till LUKEWARM to COOL.

in mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.

ADD chilled milk mixture and BEAT[ on high] 10 minutes, till fluffy.
ADD vanilla, stir

FROST between layers and top and sides. [I often frost only between the layers and top. Makes it very pretty by showing the "red velvet." Also, makes a thicker frosting between the one layer and the top.
You guys. This took me literally 2 hours to make. No joke but it was pretty good. I'm critical of my own cooking but I guess if my almighty mother-in-law said it was good I should believe her palate before mine.

Here was the scene of the crime. Did I mention that I am in love with my KA mixer? I want to marry it.

When I saw the recipe called for an entire bottle of red food coloring I was a little scared. But oh, so pretty!

And the frosting? Freaking insanely difficult to make. Worth it but really hard. Not going to lie...anything that requires constant stirring over heat, then a freezer, then certain mixing techniques is way out of my league.

And don't make fun of me but we don't even have a real cake pan, so I used a circular pie pan instead. I'm such a newbie.

Isn't she lovely?

Happy birthday to you!

Mmmmmm. It was worth the two hours slaving away in the kitchen, I suppose.


So have you ever tried red velvet cake before? If so, are you in a southern state? My in-laws think it might be more of a southern thing because it is very uncommon up here....I'm not sure if that's right or not.

But if you are feeling particularly daring one day and have a few hours to spare, go for it. And take lots of pictures of this red beauty.


  1. I'm not really a fan of the red velvet, but yours looks pretty good. congrats on your first cake from scratch!

    I made Matt a german chocolate cake completely from scratch last year for his birthday. He loved it and asked for another this year. Oy!

  2. The only way I've ever made red velvet cake was from a mix :-) It was pretty good, so I would imagine for baked-completely-from-scratch cake was probably amazing!

    My mother-in-law is probably the best baker ever. My husband loves her cake and frosting SOO much. She gave me the recipe for her homemade cake and frosting at my wedding shower, which was almost a year-and-a-half ago. I haven't tried it because I'm honestly TERRIFIED!! I know that it won't compare to the MIL's, and my husband will be disappointed and I will cry :-P

    Your cake looks really good, though! You've given me the inspiration to MAYBE give the recipe a try. Sorry for the novel of a comment :-)

  3. My hubs' favorite... looks deli :)

  4. I love red velvet! We even had it for one of the layers of our wedding cake. Yours looks delish!

  5. I am so naive. I thought it was common to make cakes from scratch. And I don't see how your cake was from scratch sorry, you used cake mix. Thats cheating.
    Also, whats with putting flour in the icing? I always use icing sugar. (Beat butter, icing sugar and a little bit of water with colour/flavoring easy frosting)
    Is it an American thing to use flour?

  6. I want cake!

    Awesome job though. It looks absolutely delish! You are becoming so domesticated :)

    Oh, and I love red velvet cake. I'm actually surprised I do's what I had the night of my 21st know right before I got bombed off my a$$!

  7. Prigruss~

    True there was a box of mix used in this concoction. But since there was about a million other ingredients in addition to the box I can still call it 'from scratch' without 'cheating.' They do sell red velvet cake mix in a box and if I used that plus cream cheese pre-made icing, then I'd say I cheated. Not so much this time.

    And yes, we make icing the way you listed, too. But for this particular recipe it was different and with flour...made it more like a butter cream and very light. Try it sometime and you might like it.

    Finally, maybe it's common for other people to bake cakes from scratch but not me. I don't LOVE cooking and really don't have the time with my work schedule, so it's something I've never even considered. I wouldn't say you are naive but just different from me, that's all.

    Jessica~I'm with you on the scary comparison of my mother-in-law to myself when it comes to cooking. But just go for it!

  8. I absolutely LOVE red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting! Its definitely a very Southern thing - most groom's cakes (also originally a Southern tradition) used to be red velvet! Yours looks DELISH!

  9. I haven't had red velvet cake in years, and I've never made it. Now I want to try :) I agree with you and your love for the kitchen-aid mixer...although I just got a food processor that is rivaling that love!

    Your cake looks great though, way to go!

  10. Red velvet is absolutely my favorite cake. It was one of our wedding layers - I'd dreamed of that for years!

  11. I'm a HUGE red velvet fan. We even had red velvet as our wedding cake!

    Great job! Looks delicious!

  12. That's gorgeous!! I have never made a red velvet cake before, and I may have to try this recipe out!

  13. my mother-in-law makes "Red Cake" as it's called in our family only for special occasions. birthdays, holidays and when the men go up to the hunting shack during deer season! i will never attempt to recreate her recipe. she is a pro, makes is completely from scratch (doesn't use a box mix) and sifts the flour and everything! oh and we live in WI :)

  14. I don't want to be a nag, what with you propagating the human race and all, but following a recipe that involves a prepackaged cake mix is not cooking from scratch- that's cheating (regardless of the other ingredients involved)!

    I have an awesome Red Velvet recipe that actually is from scratch- starting with sifting the cake flour and going from there!
    And it comes together quickly- doing a three layer cake, with prep, baking and cooling time only takes an hour and 15 minutes!

    And- frosting tip....Cream Cheese Icing is mucho mucho easy (it's cream cheese, icing/confectioners sugar, and a bit of butter, then mix it all together at room temp) and superdelicious, especially on a very strong cake like a red velvet. I can usually whip up a giant batch in the time it takes my cake layers to bake.

  15. OMG I LOVE red velvet cake. I've only ever made it from a mix too. It's dayum good even from a mix, but I bet from scratch is better.

  16. I am definitely trying your frosting recipe. I have about 5 dozen cupcakes to make for a baby shower so you can bet I'm adding red velvet into the mix.

    From scratch is very motherly of you...I'm impressed!

  17. Looks Yummy!

    I live in Seattle and had my very first slice of Red Velvet cake this year (and I'm 23!). I would have to agree that Red Velvet is a Southern thing!


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