This cake is legendary, just like my Great Grandma Berger. If the love of baking is genetic, I definitely got it from her! She passed away at 94, but has left a legacy of cooking and baking with love behind. I was only 7 when she passed away, so I don’t remember much about her baking, but my mom and aunts always talk about her famous desserts and their memories of helping her in the kitchen. Specifically, this red velvet cake.
Making this reminds me of all my fond memories of going to Oklahoma to visit Grandma Berger. Like how at Christmas time she always had those ceramic trees with the little lights all over the house. And how her screened-in porch was the coolest place on the planet to play. And how she would ask us to run to Sonit (Sonic), Walmark (Walmart), or Brauns (Braums). And when you tried to correct her she would say, “I know, I said Sonit.”
The ingredients and methods are so old fashioned and I LOVE it. Just like any respectable red velvet cake should be… It is moist, vibrant, and slightly chocolaty. The icing is fluffy, rich, and creamy. But like my Grandma Berger, this cake is super SWEET! Trust me, this old school recipe is a winner.
The essentials for a red velvet cake.
Shortening. Told you it was old fashioned.
Add the eggs.
Add the sugar. And then turn your mixer on high until light and fluffy.
The two ingredients that make this cake red and chocolaty. See how it instantly begins to turn the butter mixture red? Beautiful!
I just love the deep red color of this recipe. Don’t be afraid if the batter looks a little grainy. Just keep truckin’!
Alternate the flour and salt mixture with the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. ALWAYS START AND END WITH FLOUR!
When you start with flour and end with flour you will get a creamy and smooth batter like this!
Pour evenly into generously sprayed pans. For extra safety, you can line with parchment paper. I am out of parchment paper and I live in the middle of nowhere, so non-stick spray had to do!
The cake baked and pulled away from the pan. That means enough non-stick spray was used. Do not be afraid of this stuff. Really lay it on.
Now, it is icing time! This is what my mom remembers most about this recipe.
It starts with flour and milk in a saucepan. Very, very old school.
Whisk constantly until the mixture gets very thick. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Then let it cool completely!
Once the cooled flour and milk mixture is added to the butter and sugar, you get a beautifully light and rich icing!
Assemble! I do naked ALWAYS. I am too lazy and too messy to even try to fully ice a cake. Thankfully naked cakes are cool now!
Ooooh la la.
The ultimate red velvet cake from the ultimate great grandma.
Ingredients for the cake:
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 white sugar
- 2 oz. red food coloring
- 2 heaping teaspoons cocoa powder (a little extra won’t hurt)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Ingredients for the icing:
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 sticks butter
- 1 cup white sugar (NOT powdered sugar, you want regular granulate sugar)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9 or 8 inch round pans with non-stick spray, butter, or parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the shortening, eggs, and sugar together. With the mixer on low add the red food coloring and the cocoa powder. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt. Then, measure the cup of buttermilk and add in the vanilla. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture into the shortening, eggs, and sugar mixture. Start with flour and end with flour. Beat until smooth and fluffy. In a small bowl, combine vinegar and baking soda. Pour this into the batter and mix until completely combined. Pour into the prepared pans evenly. Tap on a hard surface to pop any air bubbles in the batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees.
While the cake bakes, make the icing. In a small sauce pan on medium heat, combine flour and milk. Whisk constantly until very thick. It should not drip off your whisk. Put this into the refrigerator until completely cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, whip the butter and sugar on high. Add the cooled flour mixture and whip on high for 1 minute. It should be light and fluffy. Let the cake cool and assemble whatever way you prefer. I like naked cakes, but if you want to ice it all, go for it! Enjoy!
MT and Grandma Ruby Berger