Although the origin of Red Velvet Cake is uncertain, the recipe supposedly dates to the 19th century, referring to a woman who was served the delicious cake during her stay at New York’s Waldorff Astoria hotel. An inquiring letter and $350 later, the woman had the recipe and, out of spite for the high cost demanded of the recipe’s connoisseur, handed out 3” x 5” cards, each with the recipe, to passengers on a bus. The rest is history!
To southerners, Red Velvet Cake is a staple for holidays, especially Christmas. The combination of cream cheese and hint of cocoa makes the cake an instant classic, not to mentioned the rich contrasting red color that goes well with the decorations of a Christmas party! While many bakers and cooks busy themselves with finding an alternative to the red food coloring ingredient, most would argue that the red dye is the quintessential ingredient to the cake that gives it its unique taste and makes it authentic from other cakes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Mix cocoa and food coloring together, then add to sugar mixture; mix well. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour batter into 3 (8-inch) round greased and floured pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting.
Blend cream cheese and butter together in a mixing bowl. Add marshmallows and sugar and blend. Fold in coconut and nuts. Spread between layers and on top and sides of cooled cake.