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Red Velvet Cake Recipe, adapted from Adams Extract Company recipe.

Adams Original Red Velvet Cake Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 - 16 Servings 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Follow our step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions as we recreate the Adams Original Red Velvet Cake Recipe. Adams Extract, a Texas based company, is credited with bringing this cake to American kitchens during the time of The Great Depression. Just why is it so red though? We’ll explore it’s origins and follow the recipe of Betty Adams to see just why this Red Velvet Cake is so good and why it’s become so popular.



For The Layers

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 11/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Adams Best Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Adams Butter Flavor
  • 1 ounce Adams Red Color
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 21/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Betty Adams No-Cook Frosting

  • 1 pound box (apr. 3.54 cups) Confectioners Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Shortening or Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon ADAMS BEST VANILLA
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ADAMS BUTTER FLAVOR(omit if using Butter instead of shortening)


For The Layers

  1. Cream the shortening and sugar.
  2. Add eggs one at a time and beat vigorously.
  3. Add flavors to mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl make a paste of cocoa and food coloring and blend into shortening mixture.
  5. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with buttermilk to mixture.
  6. Add vinegar to mixture with last part of buttermilk. Blend well.
  7. Bake in 3 – 9″ pans for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  8. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.
  9. After 15 minutes, run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the layer.
  10. Place a plate or another wire rack on top of the layer pan and flip over.
  11. Gently tap your pan and slowly remove the pan.
  12. Let cake cool completely prior to frosting.

For The Frosting

  1. Sift confectioners sugar.
  2. Cream shortening, salt, and flavors.
  3. Mix in 1/2 of the confectioners sugar.
  4. Alternately add in the rest of the sugar and enough milk to get smooth spreading icing.
  5. Adapted from Adams Original Red Velvet Cake Recipe at


Use a Simple Syrup mixture with a little added Adams Vanilla to spread on each layer before adding the frosting. You may also want to make two batches of the frosting as one just didn’t seem to be enough.

Keywords: Adams Original Red Velvet Cake Recipe, made from scratch, Adams Extracts, no-cook frosting, buttermilk, southern recipes