Adams "Original Red Velvet Cake" Recipe

Red Velvet.jpg

Adams is credited with popularizing red velvet cakes in the 1930s and 1940s to help boost sales of its red food coloring. Here is the company's recipe for what it calls the "Original Red Velvet Cake."

Cake Batter

Prep Time/Cook Time:

15 minutes / 25 minutes


•             1 tsp soda

•             1 cup buttermilk

•             1 Tbl. vinegar

•             1/2 cup shortening

•             1-1/2 cups sugar

•             2 eggs

•             1 tsp. "Adams Best" Vanilla

•             1 tsp. Adams Butter Flavor

•             1 ounce Adams Red Color

•             3 Tbl. cocoa

•             2-1/2 cups sifted flour

•             1 tsp. salt


Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat vigorously. Add flavors to mixture. In a separate bowl make a paste of cocoa and food coloring and blend into shortening mixture. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with buttermilk to mixture. Add vinegar to mixture with last part of buttermilk. Blend well. Bake in 3-9" or 10" pans for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool completely. Cover with classic white icing or cream cheese frosting.

Tip: substitute 1/2 cup unsalted butter for shortening and Adams Butter Flavor

Tip: Make your own buttermilk by mixing 1 Tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting


·        ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

·        1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

·        1 teaspoon vanilla

·        3 cups powdered sugar, plus more as needed

In large bowl, beat softened butter and cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally, until smooth and creamy.

Stir in vanilla, then stir in powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar as needed until frosting is a thick spreadable consistency.

Spread or pipe frosting on cooled cake or cupcakes.

Cake batter recipe source: Adams Extract & Spice Company

Frosting recipe source: Betty Crocker