Grandma's Red Velvet Cake |

I know I really missed the boat on getting this posted in time for Valentine's day and the rest of red velvet-palooza that's been happening here all month.

Palm to the head.

But I just had to post it anyway, because it's seriously the best red velvet cake I've ever had. And even better than that– it's a family recipe. Like, a real family recipe.

I mean, of course I have other family recipes on hand. But they mostly come from… like, you know… underneath the Cool Whip lid and stuff.

Grandma's Red Velvet Cake |

But not this one. It's completely legit, from scratch, and totally amazing.

I have a small notebook with a handful of recipes that come from my mom, aunts, grandparents, and those recipes are really special to me. This one happens to be from my great grandmother (and we even have it in her handwriting!). My Grandma made it for our Christmas dessert last year, which was the first time I remember eating it.

I was blown away.

Grandma's Red Velvet Cake |

The cake manages to be moist and dense at the same time. The frosting isn't a traditional cream cheese frosting, which surprised me– but in a good way. It's filled with pecans and coconut, and it's not overly sweet since the base is made from a flour and milk paste. I know that sounds a little weird, but you'll have to take my word on it. This frosting is FABULOUS. And it really pairs perfectly with the red velvet.

My great-grandma's recipe calls for making this a 6 or 8 layer cake (which my Grandma, the queen of layered cakes, pulled off beautifully at Christmas), but I'm took that down a notch and went for 4 layers. However, if you have the magic touch with layered cakes, definitely go for it. I'd double the frosting if you're doing more layers though… just a note.

I hope you enjoy this special family recipe as much as I have!

Grandma's Red Velvet Cake |

Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake

Yield: 20


For the Red Velvet Cake:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

For the Coconut Pecan Frosting:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp vanilla


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven 350ºF. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with foil and grease with a non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, food coloing and eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until batter forms and is a uniform color.
  4. Divide batter between the two cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting each cake through the center to create 4 layers of cake.

For the frosting:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and milk until thick paste forms. Set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Mix in the flour paste, coconut, and chopped pecans.
  3. Layer the frosting in between each layer. Garnish with additional coconut and pecans if desired.


I have two versions of this recipe in my family recipe book. I didn't notice until I was typing this up that the frosting recipes are different. One recipe calls cooking 3 tbsp of flour with 1 cup of milk over the stove top until thickened, and then letting it cool before adding it to the butter and sugar. Obviously, I used the version that calls for mixing together 1 cup of milk with 1 cup of flour.

I have no idea how the other version comes together since I haven't made it myself, but if you are averse to using so much flour (I know that 1 cup of raw flour is substantial), I would definitely recommend trying the stove top version.