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Old fashioned Red Velvet Cake

Moist Red Velvet Cake topped with whipped Cream Cheese Frosting.

Every recipe has a story.  I’m learning this truth as I create in my kitchen and write recipes.  Even a brand-new recipe has a story to tell…the things that didn’t work, the layers that fell apart before you could assemble them, the smiles when you served it, the 1st taste of an experiment.

This recipe has a story.  My manager at work, Joe, grew up in a small town in southern Indiana and his Aunt Doris was known as the best baker in town.  His Aunt Alice found this recipe and when she gave it to Aunt Doris to make it, the result was the BEST Red Velvet Cake anyone had ever tasted.  In fact, at a local event called the Chelsea Jubilee two women got in a fight over this very cake at a dessert auction. Aunt Doris stepped in and said she was going home that instant to make a second cake.

When I heard this story, the 1st words out of my mouth were— “I simply MUST have that recipe Joe!”  So he spoke with his Aunt Alice and they dug it out of the archives of their family recipes for me.  It didn’t come with a frosting recipe (which is at least half the flavor of a cake) so I aimed for a whipped cream cheese frosting.  It is a REALLY good cake.  It is the very 1st “homemade” cake I’ve made that is VERY moist.  It is SO flavorful and it cuts beautifully.

I would consider getting in a fight for this cake.

The original recipe is called “Waldorf Astoria Cake” and here is how you make it:


  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 oz. red food coloring ( I didn’t add enough– your cake should be REALLY red- it is a lot of food coloring!!!!)
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 t. cocoa
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray 2- 8″ round cake pans with non-stick spray and cut a round piece of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of each one.  Spray top of parchment paper with non-stick spray as well.
  • Cream shortening and sugar together.
  • Add eggs, vanilla and food coloring and blend well.
  • Sift together flour, salt and cocoa
  • Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating together on medium speed until well mixed.
  • Mix vinegar and soda together in a small bowl.
  • Drizzle vinegar/soda mixture over cake batter and blend in on low speed.
  • Pour batter evenly into the two round cake pans.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 until a tooth pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, run a small knife around the edge of each cake to loosen it and gently tip each cake over onto a cake rack to cool completely.
  • Frost between layers and on top and sides with whatever frosting you want.  I created a whipped cream cheese frosting for this and the recipe is below.



  • 2 packets of Dream Whip (4 come in one box)
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 4 oz. (1/2 brick) of softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar (divided)


  • Cream together softened cream cheese and about half of the powdered sugar.  Set aside.
  • Add remaining ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and stir until all powder is combined.
  • Mix with an electric mixer (beaters are ok, but I like to use my whisk attachment if you have one) on high until very stiff peaks form.
  • Add cream cheese mixture and continue beating on high until stiff and thick.
  • You can frost the cake immediately with this or refrigerate it covered.
  • Frost between the layers and on the top and sides.  Keep cake refrigerated until serving (it is oh-so-good served cold!!!)

Note: I made twice as much frosting as the recipe above (I wasn’t sure how much I’d need!) and that is why the layers on the pictured cake have PILES of frosting!  If you LOVE frosting, just double the recipe given above.  If you do, you will probably have some left over–but is that ever REALLY a problem???

Enjoy!    -r

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