This red velvet cake is meant to be a legendary copycat from a cake at the Waldorf-Astoria!
There is a legend with this red velvet cake – that a woman asked for the recipe after eating it at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, and they gave it to her with a hefty price tag. In retaliation, she told them she would share the recipe with everyone she knew. (Story here.) This is supposed to be THAT cake.
In my family, this cake is a legend of its own. My great-grandma was known to make this cake. Then, my dad latched onto it and it became his “thing” to make. This recipe I’m providing today has his own adjustments to it (an extra egg, and a little extra buttermilk). He makes it for every holiday and special occasion…and even for fun! I have no idea how, because the recipe card doesn’t say this, but this pudding-based icing earned the name “White Mountain Icing” but true White Mountain Icing is more meringue-based… some things we may never know until we get to Heaven!
It’s got two unique baking techniques that aren’t used much nowadays, which makes it fun. The first is a vinegar and baking soda fizz folded in as the rising agent. It feels bizarre, but it works! The second is the pudding icing, which I mentioned before. It’s a cooled pudding made from milk and flour that you beat into shortening and granulated sugar until it’s completely smooth. You just really have to slowly work the pudding in, and beat it foreverrrrr and it will eventually be smooth. Trust me. FOREVER.
Local Spotlight: Eggs! Also…I tried to make homemade food coloring by using beet juice, but all the color cooked out, so I ended up with a brown cake. Sad!
Do you have any well-loved recipe cards, like this one?
Red Velvet Cake (Waldorf Astoria Cake)
- ½ C. shortening
- 1 ½ C. sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 C. flour
- 1 T. cocoa
- 1 t. salt
- 1 ¼ C. buttermilk
- 2 oz. red food coloring
- 1 t. vanilla
- 2 T. vinegar
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 C. milk
- ¼ C. flour
- ½ C. shortening
- ½ C. butter 1 stick
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 C. sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease and flour two 8 inch round pans (I used butter).
- Cream shortening, sugar and eggs together in a standing mixer on medium speed.
- Sift flour, cocoa and salt together 3 times, or until well-combined and light.
- On low speed, incorporate flour mix and buttermilk, alternating between the two.
- Combine food coloring and vanilla in an external bowl, then incorporate into the batter on low.
- Combine vinegar and baking soda in an external bowl, then incorporate into the batter on low.
- Separate batter into two pans and bake for 35-40 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle).
- On the stovetop on low heat, whisk 1 C. milk into 1/4 flour. For best results, gradually add the milk into the flour, instead of the other way around to prevent clumps. Whisk constantly until it reaches a pudding-like texture. Remove from heat to cool.
- Cream sugar, shortening, butter and vanilla in a stand mixer on medium-high speed.
- When the pudding is cool, incorporate the pudding into creamed ingredients gradually on high speed, until the icing becomes stiff and the texture is smooth.
- Once cooled, layer the cakes together with a layer of icing in between. Ice the outside, and it's ready to #enJOY!