Heritage Red Velvet Cake

Heritage Red Velvet Cake

I have made and tasted many versions of red velvet cake, but this one stands out as a favorite.  I call it “heritage” red velvet because it has been passed down, passed around -and now I’m passing it on to you!  This recipe uses butter instead of shortening or oil,  and it is bright red as opposed to the usual dark red or brown-red.  The soft, moist crumb is the result of a healthy dose of buttermilk in the batter…

Heritage Red Velvet Cake

 … and that is key! You can’t make a good red velvet cake without buttermilk.

Heritage Red Velvet Cake

Before I get to the specifics of the cake, I’d like to share a recent feature.  If you follow me on FB, then you have already seen this, so please forgive the repeat.

Sprinkle Bakes is featured in the February/ March issue of Yum Food and Fun magazine.  Inside are two familiar SB recipes (plus lots more good lookin’ grub!) and a little write up about the blog. 

This magazine can be found at grocery stores or at your local book store.

Back to business!

Heritage Red Velvet Cake

When making red velvet, I always mix the cocoa powder and liquid red food coloring together to form a paste.  Doing this seems to evenly disperse the red color when it gets mixed into the batter.  If your cocoa is lumpy, mash it into the food coloring with a fork.  

Heritage Red Velvet Cake

For the heart template, trace the bottom of a cake pan on wax paper, cut out the 9″ circle. Fold it in half and cut into a heart shape.  Lay the paper heart on the cake and trim it down if it doesn’t comfortably fit inside the cake’s circumference.

Heritage Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake is dense, so it carves easily with a serrated knife.  I decided to give this cake a crumb coating (after seeing THIS), but you could certainly leave it frosted white if you wish.  To make the crumb coating, crumble the cake scraps with your fingers.  Discard any crusty, hard or discolored crumbs. You only want the best and softest crumbs for coating.

The best way I’ve found to apply the crumbs is to place the frosted cake on a serving platter lined with wax paper strips. Crumb the top of the cake first, then hold the cake – serving platter and all – over the sink and press the crumbs into the sides of the cake.  This will be messy, but most of the excess crumbs will fall to the sides of the cake, and a few will fall in the sink.  When you remove the wax paper strips most of the excess crumbs will stay on the paper and be removed also.  From there you can do a little clean-up around the edges with a damp paper towel.

Heritage Red Velvet Cake

Heritage Red Velvet Cake

Heather Baird
This heart-shaped red velvet cake needs no special pan for its shape. The red velvet cake recipe is a family recipe handed down for generations.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern United States
Servings 12

Ingredients
 
 

Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp liquid red food coloring
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar

Cream cheese frosting

  • 16 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour 2 or 3 round 9″ cake pans.
  • Sift flour and salt together, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix well after each addition. Add the flour mixture to the bowl alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Blend in vanilla.
  • In a small bowl, mix the 1 1/2 tbsp red food coloring and 1 tbsp cocoa powder until a paste forms. Add to the sugar and butter mixture. Mix well. In a small bowl or condiment cup, stir together the baking soda and cider vinegar. This will foam and should be put into the batter immediately after well mixed. After adding the foam mixture, blend on medium-high speed until batter is consistent.
  • Spoon batter evenly into pans – batter will be very thick! Level top of batter with an offset spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake springs back when pressed in the center. Turn out on wire racks and cool completely.

Cream cheese frosting

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. With the mixer on low, gradually pour in the confectioners’ sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. If mixture is too thick, add a little milk to loosen it. If it is too thin, add additional powdered sugar or put in the refrigerator to firm up.
  • *If carving cake and coating with crumbs, be sure to put the crumbs on when the icing is fresh and still sticky.
Keyword cream cheese frosting, red velvet cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Unknown
Unknown
10 years ago

Yum, wish I saw this recipe before I made my friends birthday cake!
&& beautiful pictures

Jessica @ How Sweet
Jessica @ How Sweet
10 years ago

This is so pretty!

PaisleyJade
PaisleyJade
10 years ago

Oh yum! This looks amazing – and the cake crumb topping is beautiful!!

Marisa
Marisa
10 years ago

Absolutely amazing cake. I'm not a fan of red velvet, but this is a work of art. Gorgeous photos, too. Kudos!

Sue
Sue
10 years ago

Oh my heavens, Heather! You sure know how to up the ante on any recipe! What a gorgeous and vivid RED, and the crumb topping is amazing! Have a wonderful weekend, Sue

Maysem
Maysem
10 years ago

That looks so YUMMY! Need to try it πŸ˜€ Does the food coloring need to be liquid or can it be the gel coloring (Americolor)?

Rituparna
Rituparna
10 years ago

This is pretty !!!
Love the rich colour & the simple recipe !!!

Charisse
Charisse
10 years ago

Gorgeous!! And perfect timing for this upcoming holiday! I LOVE that it is bright red rather than the darker color!

AngelEden
AngelEden
10 years ago

Oh that looks yummy!! I am bookmarking the page as we speak for future reference. I'm a bit addicted to puddings right now, so this is going on the to do list πŸ™‚

Abi
Angel Eden Blog

Rosa's Yummy Yums
Rosa's Yummy Yums
10 years ago

It is soooo pretty! A lovely Valentine's Day cake.

Cheers,

Rosa

Nina | Salt
Nina | Salt
10 years ago

Heather, this is stunning! Beautiful job with this cake….simply gorgeous!

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

I've never seen a cake so lovely, and I worked in a bakery for five years! That crumb coating is not only a smart use of the discarded cake pieces, but adds a pleasing textural and visual element as well. It really pops the red color. Congrats on your spot in YF&F as well!

Cheers and happy Valentine's Day,

*Heather*

Rux
Rux
10 years ago

omg, such a cute and tasty and perfect cake! makes me drool πŸ˜€

Kenni
Kenni
10 years ago

I used to work at a bakery that had the best red velvet cake ever and this one reminds me of it. I may have to make this!

Sanna
Sanna
10 years ago

What a cute cake πŸ™‚

Lauren (PB&G)
Lauren (PB&G)
10 years ago

This cake is gorgeous! I adore red velvet cake!

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

yummmmy and oh so pretty….if you ever get tired of tasting and need a taste tester…I'm your girl!!!! patti b.

Paula
Paula
10 years ago

I can`t stop looking at this! It`s absolutely divine and I want to try this…

Have a great time,
Paula

Susan
Susan
10 years ago

This is absolutely beautiful–so neat and tidy too. I actually have heart pans of my mom's from the 1960's so I might try this recipe (while hubby is watching superbowl) without the crumb coating.

Irene
Irene
10 years ago

Wow, that's a very cute cake!

Unknown
Unknown
10 years ago

I love your dessert presentation, hearts are my favorite thing! This rocks.

homepodge
homepodge
10 years ago

The crumb topping makes the cake look especially pretty. It's almost too gorgeous to cut into….
almost. πŸ™‚

Lili
Lili
10 years ago

That has to be the most stunning red velvet cake I have ever laid eyes on! And congrats on your well deserved feature in the Yum Food & Fun Magazine. You are just raising the bar for everyone all over the place! xo ~Lili

Heather (Heather's Dish)
Heather (Heather's Dish)
10 years ago

WOW…this is an absolutely heavenly looking red velvet cake! i think i know what i want for my birthday cake this year πŸ™‚

Megan
Megan
10 years ago

This is amazing! I love your tip about mixing the food coloring with the cocoa powder. I never would've thought to do that. Also, I've always wanted to make a cake with a crumb coating after seeing that same picture you linked to.

I just really love this! Can you tell?! πŸ™‚

Abby
Abby
10 years ago

I just have to say that I LA LA LA LOVE your blog! Thanks for taking the time to share your talents with the world. You do a wonderful job!

Dina
Dina
10 years ago

that was a great idea to put the crumbs around the cake. lovely!

Jenn
Jenn
10 years ago

I LOVE this cake. I would have to use heart shaped pans, because there is no way I could cut my cakes and have them all end up the same size? Yours looks perfect.

foodie and the chef
foodie and the chef
10 years ago

Oh the red is amazing – I've never seen red velvet so vibrant! I have to try this, the colour has sucked me in. Beautiful photos πŸ™‚

CaSaundraLeigh
CaSaundraLeigh
10 years ago

Congrats on being in the magazine–that's so exciting! And I agree with all the above comments, the bright red color is phenomenal!

cookies and cups
cookies and cups
10 years ago

gorgeous cake! I love that trick of mashing the cocoa powder with the food coloring!
ALso, congrats on the magazine, very very exciting :))

jenbryson
jenbryson
10 years ago

that cake is a stunner.

Lisa Marie
Lisa Marie
10 years ago

BEAUTIFUL!!

Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy.
Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy.
10 years ago

Love this cake, such a vibrant red! Congrats on the magazine feature and thanks for the tip about mixing the red food coloring and cocoa, I've never tried that before!

Heather, TJ, Brock, and Jillian
Heather, TJ, Brock, and Jillian
10 years ago

Can't wait to try this this weekend! Thanks for sharing! I'm going to share it on my FB fan page, Pirates-n-Princesses. You should check it out!!! πŸ™‚
Heather

Jenny
Jenny
10 years ago

Wonderful.

Beatriz Rodriguez
Beatriz Rodriguez
10 years ago

Can i substitute the Cider Vinegar with Apple Cider Vinegar?

Beautiful pictures:D

Unknown
Unknown
10 years ago

This is adorable. I love red velvet cake.

Sanjana
Sanjana
10 years ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sanjana
Sanjana
10 years ago

^typo

Drop dead gorgeous. I would love to give it a go but am so scared it won't come out looking as perfect as yours. Maybe I'll just gawk from a distance…

Amanda
Amanda
10 years ago

Beautiful cake. Absolutely love the idea of the crumble topping!

Jordan
Jordan
10 years ago

saw this on tastespotting. it is seriously awesome. thanks for sharing!

Meg Luby
Meg Luby
10 years ago

just lovely! what a great way to use the cake scraps too!

πŸ™‚ thanks for posting
-meg
@ http://www.clutzycooking.blogspot.com

Erika Beth, the Messy Chef
Erika Beth, the Messy Chef
10 years ago

So beautiful! Absolutely lovely. I hope your Valentine's Day is just as sweet.

Beatriz Rodriguez
Beatriz Rodriguez
10 years ago

Just finished Baking this! Turned out great πŸ™‚

marla
marla
10 years ago

This cake is amazing Heather!!! That red is glowing and fabulous. I bet it tastes amazing too. Congrats on Yum magazine, I both kids and adult versions. I must purchase this copy with you in it πŸ™‚ xo

nikcreate
nikcreate
10 years ago

when i saw this it looks exactly like the one on williams sonoma! I didn't think of carving the cake like you did it looks amazing

Meredith
Meredith
10 years ago

I just happened upon your blog thanks to a link from The Kitchn, and I love it! These desserts look amazing! Red Velvet is my favorite.

Leslie
Leslie
10 years ago

Beautiful!!!! Such a bright red!

Cathy
Cathy
10 years ago

Recently found your blog and I love how pretty this cake is. The red is really vibrant. I'm from Norway, so I never heard of red velvet cake until I moved to the UK, but this post really made me want to make some red velvety cupcakes! Thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚