Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake

Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake
Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake

This is the classic Red Velvet Cake recipe from the Waldorf Astoria.

The story goes that the restaurant at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City was the first to serve this cake, back when it first opened in the early 1930’s…although some would argue that it is actually one of the classic Southern cake recipes.

In any case, it is a delicious cake that has many fans.

This cake is traditionally iced with the butter cream icing below, but many people think it tastes better with Cream Cheese Icing.

Click here to find our Cream Cheese Icing recipe if you would prefer to use that.

Red velvet cake
Red velvet cake

What you need for the cake


1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 eggs
2 ounces red food coloring
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 Tablespoon baking soda

Pots and Utensils

Mixer and mixing bowl
Small bowl
2 8-inch cake tins or 2 12-cup muffin tins

How to make the red velvet cake

1.  Heat the oven to 350° F

2.  Cream together the shortening, sugar, and eggs.

3.  Mix the food coloring and cocoa in a small bowl.

4.  Add the food color/cocoa mixture to the shortening mixture and mix.

5.  Mix the flour, vanilla, vinegar and baking soda to the shortening mixture in that order, mixing in between each addition.

Note: For the best texture, the flour should be sifted before measuring.

6.  Pour into 2 8-inch cake pans or 24 muffin tins if you would like to make cupcakes.

7.  Bake for 30 minutes for a cake, or 25 minutes for cupcakes.

8.  Let cool completely before icing.

Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Icing and Berries
Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Icing and Berries

What you need for the traditional icing

Click here to find our Cream Cheese Icing recipe if you would prefer to use that.


5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Pots and Utensils

Sauce pan
Mixing bowl

How to make the traditional icing

1.  Cook the flour and milk until thick in the saucepan.  Let cool.

2.  Cream the butter, vanilla and the confectioners’ sugar together until fluffy.

3.  Mix the flour mixture and the butter mixture together.

Makes enough icing for 2 cake layers or 24 cupcakes.

Have comments or questions about the Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake Recipe?  Tell us in the section below.

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2 Responses

  • First time I’ve ever seen almost the same recipe that my Aunt gave me back in 1967!!! Only difference is the granulated sugar was “fine granulated sugar” I put it in the blender to “grind” the granulas but stop before it turns to powdered sugar. This gives the cake and the cooked frosting a “finer texture”. Also actually “sifting” the flour also gives a better texture. All these time consuming steps make me only make this cake for very special people that appreciate the effort and the texture. The frosting just doesn’t seem to go with other cakes for some reason and the cream cheese frosting should NEVER touch this home made version of Red Velvet Cake.

    • Thanks, Connie! I had not heard of grinding the sugar granules. I’ll have to try that the next time I make it. I do always sift the flour when I’m baking cakes, but thanks for pointing it out…I should add that to the instructions 🙂

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