A Red Velvet Cake Hug


This is a guest blog from Sarah James, a writer and camper who spreads cheer through food. Check out her blog: Mountainman Approved.


Every grandma has a signature recipe. One dish, whether it be sweet or savory, that embodies all of the love and care a grandma could possess. It’s a dish greeted by “oohs” and “ahhs”.  Eyes close and time stops as the first bite is savored and followed by sighs of blissful satisfaction.

While these recipes are beyond mouthwatering, what makes them special is the magic that they hold. Each bite eases heartache, wipes away tears, and soothes stress. They are the ultimate comfort food.

Over the past six months I’ve experienced plenty of heartbreak. A breakup, ailing grandparents, illness and a sexual assault, but no matter what life throws at me, I always find myself in the kitchen, recreating some of my Grandma’s iconic recipes. I’ve sought comfort in Grandma’s cooking: from melt-in-your-mouth Velveteen cookies, covered in sugary Day-Glo sprinkles, to flaky crusts filled with tender apples, sweet peaches and tart cherries.

The one recipe that I keep repeating is her infamous Red Carpet Cake. Also known as a Red Velvet Cake, this tower of crimson perfection always fills my bruised heart with sugar-coated happiness.

A little butter, a splash of vanilla, a shower of sugar and a hit of cocoa, are blended together and baked into three layers of moist cake, stacked and held together with the most decadent of icings—a cooked white frosting that is absolute heaven, and mends a broken heart.

If things are rough in your life, break out the cake pans and cut yourself a slice of this magical dessert.

Grandma Anna’s Red Velvet Cake

For Cake

2 oz. red food coloring

1 Tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup shortening

2 eggs

2 ½ cups flour, sifted

1-cup buttermilk

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vinegar

For Icing

1-cup whole milk

5 Tbsp. flour

1-cup sugar

1-cup butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans. Cut out wax paper rounds and put on the bottom of each pan. Set aside.

2. Mix food coloring, cocoa and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside. Cream together sugar and shortening. Add eggs one at a time. Alternate adding flour and buttermilk to creamed mixture.

3. Add food coloring mixture to batter and mix well. Combine baking soda, salt and vinegar in a small bowl. Add to batter and mix well. Pour batter into pans and bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely.

4. For frosting: In a small saucepan, cook milk and flour until thick. Cool, but do now allow to get cold. Meanwhile, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla. Slowly add thickened milk mixture, beating until well incorporated.  Spread frosting between each layer and on top of cake. Refrigerate till set.


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One Response to “A Red Velvet Cake Hug”

  1. Jamie says:

    Lovely! Food heals so many sorrows, soothes so much pain. And food evokes emotions and connections. The last cake I ever baked with and for my brother was his favorite Red Velvet Cake so this has meaning for me as well. I will try your grandma’s recipe, Sarah.

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