Grandma's Red Cake

Bad cell phone pic of the remnants of our red cake

One of the things I absolutely love about the holidays is getting to eat "home food."  Home food typically consists of dishes that never taste the same outside of my parents' or Grandma's house as well as a few local restaurant dishes.  One such "home food" that screams Christmas to me is Grandma's red cake.  We each have a piece for dessert after Christmas lunch and tend to fight over the leftovers in the days after Christmas.  Here's how Grandma makes her cake:

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1.5 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2.5 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix vinegar and baking soda in a small cup and set aside.

Cream sugar, shortening, and eggs. In a separate bowl make a paste with the cocoa and part of the red food coloring.  Add it to the sugar, shortening and egg mixture, then add the rest of the food coloring.

With the mixer beating on medium alternate adding buttermilk and dry ingredients to the mixture until fully incorporated. Once batter has formed, add the vanilla extract as well as the vinegar baking soda mixture.

Grease, flour, and line two 8-inch layer pans.  Divide mixture equally between the two pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

To make the icing, combine the milk and flour and cook until thick.  Cool.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture to creamed mixture while beating on medium speed.  Gradually add the rest of the flour mixture.  Add vanilla and beat until thoroughly blended.

When the cake layers are thoroughly cooled, split them in half and frost.