by Diane Rossen Worthington

Diane's Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
Diane's Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Recently, I visited the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. I was in town for the James Beard Awards, often referred to as "the Oscars of food and wine," and I wanted to visit the hotel's roof garden and beehives, where vegetables and honey are produced for use in the restaurant.

I met with Chef Matthew Schindler, who showed me around the garden. It was thrilling to be up on the roof surrounded with all sorts of beautiful vegetables and bees humming around the hives.

Back downstairs, I dined at the hotel's Peacock Alley restaurant and for dessert ordered red velvet cake. It was as good as I had ever tasted. The hotel claims that red velvet cake originated there as a signature dish in the 1930s, although apparently no specific chef can take credit for the recipe. Others believe that the cake is a Southern invention. Either way, I'm just glad someone created it so all of us can enjoy its pure American deliciousness. With a touch of cocoa powder and buttermilk to encourage a tender crumb, one might say this is the All-American cake.

The Waldorf Astoria's Red Velvet cake features canned beets as well as red food coloring. My recipe is inspired by the Waldorf's but only uses red food coloring. I like to make crumbs out of the sliced off cake tops and then press them against the bottom half of the cake for a pretty decorative touch. Try this for a dinner party, birthday party or for any American holiday -- remember, Memorial Day and Fourth of July are coming up.

Diane's Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Makes a 2 layer 9-inch cake.

2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 eggs

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

1 ounce bottled red food coloring

Cream cheese frosting:

4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Diane's Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe Steps

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Set aside

2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Reserve.

3. Combine the eggs, vinegar, vanilla and buttermilk in a glass measuring cup, and whisk together until blended. Reserve.

4. Place the oil in large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-speed, slowly add the sugar and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the food coloring and beat until bright red. Alternate half of the dry and wet ingredients on medium speed. Repeat with remaining ingredients ending with the wet ingredients. Beat until the batter is completely mixed together and there are no lumps.

5. Transfer the batter evenly into the cake pans. Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake about 34 to 38 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of each cake. Remove and cool in the pans. When cool, carefully loosen the sides of the cake and invert onto cooling racks.

6. Make the frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer on medium speed. Slowly beat in the vanilla and powdered sugar until incorporated; the mixture should be a thick frosting-like consistency.

7. Using a serrated knife, trim the top of each layer of cake so that it is flat. Press the trimmed cake pieces between your fingers and rub until there are crumbs. Set aside.

8. Arrange the first layer on a cake plate or serving platter and spread frosting over the top and sides. Place the remaining cake right side up and frost the top and the sides until all of the cake is covered. Try to cover the cake evenly. Clean off any residual frosting on the platter. Press the crumbs around the bottom of the half of cake until you have a nice crumb coating. You can sprinkle any remaining crumbs on the top, if you like. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. This can be made up to one day completely ahead and kept refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.

Diane's Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe, Classic American Dessert Recipe




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"Diane's Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting"


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