Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cake

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker

Thirty-four years ago on Valentine’s Day my husband and I became engaged. I’ve kept all his love notes throughout the years in heart boxes. I also make card books by punching holes in cards tying them together with ribbon and using special cards to make placemats that I use for holiday decoration. While browsing through a book of Valentine cards I found this poem that my husband wrote me not long after we were married.

When our locks have turned to gray,
And our three score and ten years of days
Have spent themselves and flown swiftly away.
Still will I wish you at my side to stay;
For every day with you is a Valentine’s Day!
Dana Walker

It was an instant love affair as soon as I heard the intriguing name of Red Velvet Cake. Seeing and eating a piece of this colorful dessert only enhanced my devotion to this unique cake. Since then each year for Valentine’s Day I make a Red Velvet Sweetheart Cake. No matter how you celebrate Valentine’s Day my Red Velvet Sweetheart Cake will make a perfect addition to your Valentine holiday.

A recipe for Red Velvet Cakes appeared in numerous 19th century cookbooks and was considered a popular southern dessert, although cake at the time was considered to be a rich man’s food due to the ingredients being so expensive. Red Velvet Cake was a signature dessert at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City during the 1920’s. After the Industrial Revolution baking ingredients became more affordable for the average folk. During World War II due to food rationing some bakers began using boiled red beets instead of food coloring for their Red Velvet Cake recipes while others believed that the combination of vinegar and buttermilk turned the cocoa to a red color. By the 1960’s Red Velvet Cake recipes were appearing across the nation in major newspapers. Red Velvet Cakes are typically frosted with a white butter cream or cream cheese frosting to give a dramatic contrast.

My Red Velvet Sweetheart Cake is a regal and moist cake that will capture instant attention with its deep red color making it a perfect Valentine’s dessert. Preparation time for the Red Velvet Sweetheart Cake is twenty-five minutes (not counting baking or cooling time) and this heart cake serves sixteen.

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cake

1 devil’s food cake mix
1 (1 oz) red food coloring
1 c cold water
3 eggs
½ c cooking oil
2 (16 0z) cans of cream cheese frosting

Beat the first five ingredients for two minutes and then pour half of the batter into a greased 9-inch heart shaped pan. Bake at 350º for twenty-five minutes. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Let both layers cool, frost, and then decorate your heart cake!

Weekly tip: The best Valentines come from the heart and don’t have to be elaborate. Even if you aren’t a professional cake decorator a simple homemade heart cake still sends a special message of love!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

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