Red Velvet Cake (1962)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Nov 9 01:58:57 UTC 2003


    The Ancestry database wasn't helpful here, but Sam can re-check.
November 4, 2003
In this issue: Lari Rescues Recipes. Gary tackles Red Velvet Cake Myth. Daphne moves back East. Where is FHN58? And this is going to turn into a blog if I am not careful.....

 Our own Gary Allen sheds light on the Red Velvet Cake origin mythology in the Leite's Culinaria website which some of you may visit from time to time, and which features Gary under its Food History tab. Put this site on your weekly click list. Anyway, it was interesting to me to see that Red Velvet Cake was another one of those recipes with an apocryphal tale of a large store charging big bucks for a recipe which then gets passed around gratis. A similar tale is told about Neiman Marcus cookies. It is as old a saw as you'll find. Gary also explains about the redness. The last Red Velvet Cake I had was at Barnhill's Restaurant in Columbus, Mississippi. Before that it was my neighbor Doria's New Year's party. Yum.

After heading down countless          dead-end alleys and hitting walls in her search for the history of Red          Velvet Cake, frustrated reader Cathy Nolan turned to us.

While no one know exactly when          and where Red Velvet Cake originated, a story (and a recipe) began circulating          around the United States in the 1920s about a cake that supposedly was          served at the restaurant in New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Here's an          account of this urban legend as it appeared in Jan Brunvand's book, The          Vanishing Hitchhiker (Norton, 1989): (...)

      With Right Wax, All Waxes Well
              The Washington Post, Times Herald  (1959-1973).       Washington, D.C.: Jan 9, 1962.                   p. A25 (1 page):
   I would like to have the recipe for Red Velvet Cake, a red layer cake with white frosting.

      Reader Exchange
              The Washington Post, Times Herald  (1959-1973).       Washington, D.C.: Jan 28, 1962.                   p. F23 (1 page):
_And Now_
_It's Red_
   RED VELVET CAKE with Ermine Icing sounds like a luxurious suggestion for a Valentine's Day celebration.  This must be a favorite cake recipe among Exchange readers, judging by the number of copies sent in to answer a recent request.  So, for Mrs. M. T., and others intrigues by that rich name, here are the recipe and notes on how to make the cake:
   Ingredients: 1/2 cup shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 2 ounces red food coloring (four 1/2-ounce bottles), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 1/2 cups cake flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons soda, 1 tablespoon vinegar.
   Cream together the shortening, sugar and eggs.  Make a paste with cocoa and food coloring and add to creamed mixture.  Mix salt and vanilla with buttermilk and add alternately to creamed mixture, alternating with the flour.  Mix soda and vinegar and fold into mixture.  Do NOT beat.  Bake in two 9-inch layer pans for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
   The batter is mixed in the samme way as any other cake batter, to the point at which the soda and vinegar mixture is added.  This is folded in thoroughly.
   Ingredients: 5 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup milk, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup butter or margarine.
   Cook flour and milk until thick, stirring constantly.  Let cool and be sure this mixture becomes cold.  Next, beat in the sugar, butter and vanilla.  Beat until icing is of spreading consistency.  It should be creamy.
   Thanks to Mrs. R. S. of Hagerstown, Mrs. E. B. J. of Rockville and other readers who sent in their versions of the cake.

      English for Foreign Born
       Anne's Reader Exchange.       The Washington Post, Times Herald  (1959-1973).       Washington, D.C.: Apr 23, 1962.                   p. B4 (1 page) :
   I have a recipe for Red Velvet Cake with Ermine Icing and would appreciate tips on how to make the icing.

      Recipe Takes The Cake
              The Washington Post, Times Herald  (1959-1973).       Washington, D.C.: Jun 24, 1965.                   p. D10 (1 page):
   THAT LUXURIOUS-SOUNDING recipe or "Red Velvet Cake with Ermine Icing" has to be taken out of the files and traded around just about once a year or so.  This is a dessert recipe that attracts new fans regularly.

      Anne's Reader Exchange
              The Washington Post, Times Herald  (1959-1973).       Washington, D.C.: Aug 6, 1970.                   p. E9 (1 page):
   I would like to know where to find recipes for a good German Chocolate cake, a Red Velvet Cake and also a carrot cake recipe.

       By CRAIG CLAIBORNE.       New York Times  (1857-Current file).       New York, N.Y.: Apr 25, 1977.                   p. 57 (1 page):
_Red Velvet Cake Returns;_
_Tomato Paste Lingers On_
   There is no accounting for the odyssey that some recipes take in traveling from one section of this country to the other.  When we printed an old recipe for a red velvet cake rece received numerous replies from readers stating that their recipe was the more accurate.  Although the cooking instructions varied in some of them, the ingredients in several were the same.
   Carolyn A. Knutsen of Kings Point, L. I., was one who wrote, and she noted that hers was, she believed, "an old Southern standard cake," one she had obtained from her family in Alabama.


   The MOA database was just discovered at FOOD HISTORY NEWS.  Ten more database discoveries and I'm outta "business" (if free and without credit is a business):

October 3, 2003
In this issue: You got to see this: MOA
MOA, the Making of America, is a fabulous web resource for historians, food or not. Thanks to our own Larry Burns who reminded me of this. MOA is one--actually two--of those digital libraries you hear about with a search engine attached. When Larry read the doughnuts issue of FHN, he went to MOA and typed doughnuts into the search engine and up came all sorts of references to doughnuts, some culinary, others not. I drove myself silly a few moments ago typing "yellow sugar" into the search engine...problem is, of course, sometimes you can find out too much.


October 15, 2003
In this issue: . Progress Report on OUP's Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink. We hear of Leandra Holland's death.

The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink now in the works under the aupices of the Oxford University Press, is trudging toward completion under the so-far unflagging care of our own Andy Smith. When I emailed to find out how it was going, he turned to Beth Ammerman who is the OUP person in charge. She wrote that it will be "a two-volume set, approximately 1200 pages, that includes roughly 800 entries on food categories and individual foods; ethnic and regional traditions; overviews of historical periods; political, legal, and economic issues; and some of the people, companies, and institutions that have affected the way Americans produce, distribute, prepare, consume, and think about food. The projected date of publication is September 2004."


Now that doesn't sound very interesting, does it? But there will be entries, from 75 words to 5000 words long, on all kinds of things like chocolate, (written by Andy himself because the person contracted didn't) and Thanksgiving, ( written by Andy though I had originally wanted to but changed my mind after I read the Thanksgiving chapter in Andy's book on turkey which is due out I don't know when). And entries on solider's fare, suppawn, and hardtack, all written by our own John Rees. And Saltwater Fish and Freshwater Fish, written by myself, Food at Sea, and New England's foods, also written by myself. There are lots and lots and lots of contributors, whom Andy has recruited from on-line newsgroups, all his friends, and even the pages of FHN.

Clearly the OUP doesn't want this one to take as many years in its creation as the English Oxford Companion to Food. And I have the feeling that when Andy, and the folks helping him like Barbara Haber, and our own Alice Ross, Joe Carlin, Cathy Kaufman, and others, are done, they will all be some relieved. A tome like this is a royal pain in the ass to assemble, even though it's a handy item to have on the shelf.


The Times Union (Albany, NY)
November 2, 2003 Sunday THREE STAR EDITION
LENGTH: 256 words
Q: Why is a hot dog called a hot dog?

A: The name "hot dog" supposedly came from a New York cartoonist around 1900. At that time, hot dogs were known as frankfurters, Coney Islands, red hots and dachshund sausages. They were very popular at baseball games, where vendors would yell out, "Get your Coney Islands!" T.A. Dorgan, a sports cartoonist, drew a cartoon of franks being sold at a ballpark. His drawing pictured little dachshunds (the dogs) in buns and was captioned "hot dogs." The name caught on, and the rest is history.
If you have a question for the Farmers' Almanac write to Farmers' Almanac, Box 1609, Lewiston, ME 04241 or e-mail: syndquestions at

LOAD-DATE: November 3, 2003

More information about the Ads-l mailing list