Indulge in a culinary journey with the timeless allure of Grandmother Paul’s Red Velvet Cake. This classic recipe, passed down through generations, emanates a comforting nostalgia that promises to transform your kitchen into a haven of warmth and delicious aromas. The tender embrace of velvety layers, rich cream cheese icing, and a medley of pecans, coconut, and marshmallows creates an experience reminiscent of days gone by. Let’s embark on this culinary adventure together, infusing the essence of tradition into our modern kitchens.


For the Cake:

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3 sticks butter (2 for the cake, 1 softened for the icing)
  • 2 oz red food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

For the Icing:

  • 1 (16 oz) box confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup marshmallows, melted
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese

Directions / Instructions

Step 1: Preparing the Cake Batter

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F for the perfect baking environment.
  2. Beat the eggs and incorporate the sugar until the mixture becomes lusciously smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine cocoa and red food coloring, creating a vibrant elixir that will infuse our cake with its iconic hue.
  4. Integrate 2 sticks of butter into the cocoa mixture along with the egg-sugar amalgamation. Stir thoroughly to achieve a harmonious blend.
  5. Sift together cake flour and salt, then add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk, ensuring a velvety texture.
  6. Blend in the vanilla essence to elevate the flavor profile.
  7. In a small bowl, create a reaction by combining baking soda and vinegar. Add this fizzy concoction to the batter, bringing a delightful lightness to your creation.
  8. Pour the batter into three 8-inch round pans, generously greased and floured.
  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick test confirms the cake’s done perfection.

Step 2: Crafting the Creamy Icing

  1. Blend cream cheese with 1 softened stick of butter, creating a velvety foundation for our icing.
  2. Add melted marshmallows and confectioner’s sugar to the mixture, achieving a cloud-like consistency.
  3. Fold in shredded coconut and chopped pecans to create a delightful medley of textures.
  4. Spread this heavenly icing between layers and lavishly on top and sides of your cooled cake, creating an edible masterpiece.

Popular Questions and Answers

Q1: Can I use a different type of flour? A: While cake flour is ideal for achieving the desired lightness, you can use all-purpose flour with a slight adjustment in texture.

Q2: Can I substitute buttermilk? A: Yes, you can substitute buttermilk with a mixture of regular milk and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice for a similar effect.

Q3: Can I make this cake ahead of time? A: Absolutely! The flavors meld even more deliciously when the cake is allowed to sit, making it a perfect make-ahead dessert.

Q4: Can I freeze the cake layers? A: Certainly! Wrap the cooled cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month, ensuring a quick and convenient assembly for future indulgence.

Q5: How do I store the leftover cake? A: Store your masterpiece in the refrigerator, ensuring its freshness for up to a week. Bring it to room temperature before serving for the best taste.

Q6: Can I reduce the sugar in the icing? A: Yes, you can adjust the sugar quantity to suit your taste preferences without compromising the overall texture.

Q7: Can I omit nuts and coconut from the icing? A: Absolutely. Customize the icing to your liking, omitting or substituting ingredients based on personal preferences or dietary restrictions.

Q8: What can I use instead of food coloring? A: Beet juice or pomegranate juice can be natural alternatives for achieving a red hue without artificial food coloring.

Q9: How can I prevent the cake from sticking to the pans? A: Ensure thorough greasing and flouring of the pans, and consider using parchment paper for an extra layer of protection against sticking.

Q10: Can I use salted butter in the cake? A: While the recipe calls for unsalted butter, you can use salted butter by adjusting the added salt accordingly.

Helpful Tips for Enhancing the Recipe

Tip 1: Room Temperature Ingredients Bring eggs, butter, and buttermilk to room temperature for a smoother batter and better texture.

Tip 2: Gradual Flour Addition Add the flour in small portions, alternating with the buttermilk, for an evenly blended and tender cake.

Tip 3: Perfectly Melted Marshmallows Melt marshmallows gently for a silkier texture in the icing.

Tip 4: Toasted Pecans for Extra Flavor Consider toasting the pecans for a nuttier flavor profile in the icing.

Tip 5: Quality Cocoa Matters Choose a high-quality cocoa for a richer and more intense chocolate flavor in the cake.

Tip 6: Even Cake Layers Ensure even distribution of batter among the pans for uniform cake layers.

Tip 7: Experiment with Extracts Explore different extracts, such as almond or coconut, for a personalized touch to the cake flavor.

Tip 8: Use Gel Food Coloring For a more vibrant red color, opt for gel-based food coloring instead of liquid.

Tip 9: Invest in Cake Flour Investing in cake flour is worthwhile for achieving the delicate crumb texture characteristic of red velvet cake.

Tip 10: Patience with Cooling Allow the cake layers to cool completely before applying the icing to prevent it from melting and sliding off.

Secrets for Achieving Culinary Perfection

Secret 1: The Magic of Vinegar The combination of baking soda and vinegar creates a magical reaction that contributes to the cake’s light and airy texture.

Secret 2: Cream Cheese Consistency Ensure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature for a smooth and luscious icing that spreads like a dream.

Secret 3: Embrace Imperfections Red Velvet Cake is known for its rustic charm. Embrace imperfections, as they add character to your creation.

Secret 4: Gentle Folding Technique When incorporating nuts and coconut into the icing, use a gentle folding technique to preserve the fluffy texture.

Secret 5: A Dash of Love Above all, infuse your baking process with a dash of love. The most important ingredient is the joy you bring to your kitchen.

Indulge in the art of baking with this cherished recipe, creating not just a cake but a beautiful memory to be savored.

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