Posted by: Sylvia, aka Shucky | August 20, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

I first had this in Arlington, back in the mid-60’s when Mary Crabtree’s mother, from Oklahoma, would make Red Velvet Cake. She got the recipe from her grandmother, who when she was young, bought it at a church sale.

One of the ladies had visited New York city at the turn of the century, and had the cake at the Waldorf-Astoria. She asked for the recipe, which was in order, as was the $100 charge on her hotel bill. To pay for it, when she got home, she wrote it out on a hundred chits, made the cake for a church tea, and sold the recipe for a dollar for each copy. And that was the story I heard from Mary’s mother in 1965.

The cake was red, and was as good as any cake from a mix. The icing was not anything to write home about, being a sugary bechamel, but at the time… Mary’s mother, however, would not share the recipe with a young cook, though I did learn the secret to her amazing fried chicken was deep-frying it in a kettle of bacon grease in the oven. I’ve tasted no better fried chicken in my life!

However, in 1983 I worked with a young woman who also liked to bake, and her grandmother had a similar story about buying the recipe for Waldorf Astoria Red Cake for a dollar back during the Depression, and she was willing to share it as a kindness. I baked it up, and it seemed pretty much like the same cake to me. Here it is, extant as I received it (and you will note the odd sequence of mixing in the ingredients) from my battered notebook:

Waldorf-Astoria Red Cake

1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2-1/4 c. flour
1-1/2 c. sugar
red food colouring
2 T. cocoa

1 c. buttermilk
1 t. baking soda
1 T. vinegar

Cream the butter and sugar until dissolved, then beat in the eggs. Make a paste of the cocoa and food colouring,and add to the creamed mixture. Add the buttermilk and salt, alternating with flour. Add vanilla. Fold in soda and vinegar (hold over bowl as it foams). Beat well. Bake at 350 degrees in two 9″ cake pans. When cool, cut into layers to make four.

White Frosting

3 T. flour
1 c. milk
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. butter

Cook flour and milk until thick, then cool. Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla until dissolved. Beat until fluffy, then blend in milk mixture and frost the cake layers.

Note: I did send this story to the Urban Legends site years ago, with another true story that has been touted as fiction, and never received the courtesy of a reply.

Coco

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