Red Velvet Cake? Chocolate Cake? Or both?

Our son and daughter-in-law, Nate and Brit, recently visited us in Wheaton with their little son.  Jim and I loved every minute of it.  While they were here, we invited our family members who live in the area to come over and visit with them as well as celebrate Brit’s recent graduation – she completed an MA in Organizational Leadership from Regent University.

Since I love to bake, I planned a Sunday afternoon cake (recipes and photos below) reception.  After looking through several recipes in a Southern Living magazine,  I decided to try a pink strawberry cake – pink is Brit’s favorite color.

Nice idea, but the strawberry cake didn’t turn out so well – and it wasn’t the fault of Southern Living.  I followed all the directions on the recipe – that wasn’t the problem.  The problem occurred while the cakes were baking.  Shortly after I preheated the oven and slid the three cake pans in there to bake, I set the oven timer and went outside to water my flowers.

When I came back inside to see how many minutes of bake-time were left, I realized that the oven had shut off for some reason.  I’m glad that doesn’t happen very often!  I turned the oven back on and guessed how many minutes I should continue baking the cakes.  The timer rang, and the cakes looked like they were done.  They even sprang back when I touched the surfaces.  After taking the cakes out of the oven and giving them a little while to cool, though, I discovered that they were only half baked.  The oven had apparently shut off sooner than I thought.

Thankfully, I was baking a couple days before the event and I had some wobble room to deal with my problem.  I don’t always do this!  (Note to self:  planning ahead IS a good idea.)

After viewing the half-baked strawberry cake – not too appetizing – I decided to try a couple of other options: Red Velvet Cake and Sour Cream Chocolate Cake.  Thankfully, my oven cooperated and they both turned out great!  I’ve included the recipes below.

In the Bible, Hosea 7:8 explains that if God’s people mingle too much with godless ways and godless thinking, we can become as worthless as half-baked cakes.  Warren Wiersbe describes it as religion that doesn’t get deep into our lives but is just a surface thing.  As my recent experience in the kitchen proved, half-baked cakes aren’t useful; completely-baked cakes are.

Here are a couple photos of the two (completely-baked) cakes I prepared for Brit’s celebration.  They received wonderful reviews from our family!



RED VELVET CAKE (from Southern Living magazine)

1 cup butter, softened

2  1/2 cups sugar

6 large eggs (yes, 6!)

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 T. unsweetened cocoa

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 (1-oz.) bottles red food coloring (that’s right – 2 one ounce bottles)

Recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting (below)

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

2. Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda.  Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.  Stir in vanilla; stir in red food coloring.  Spoon cake batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.  (After I grease and flour them, I always line the bottom of each pan with wax paper cut to size.)

3. Bake at 350 for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  (It was a little longer than 20 minutes for me!)  Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.  Remove from pans to wire racks, and let cool 1 hour or until completely cool.

4. Spread cream cheese frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 (32 oz.) pkg. or bag of powdered sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat together until well blended, and ice cake.


2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

3/4 cups sour cream

1/4 cup softened butter

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

4 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate

Recipe for Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting (below)

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients for 1/2 minute on low speed, then 3 minutes on high speed.  Pour into 2 (9-inch) greased and floured cake pans.  (After I grease and flour the pans, I line them with wax paper cut to size.)  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

1/3 cup butter (softened)

3 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate

3 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix butter and cooled chocolate.  Blend in powdered sugar.  Stir in sour cream and vanilla; beat until smooth.  Frost the cake.

Please let me know if you try the recipes – I’d love to hear what you think!





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4 responses to “Red Velvet Cake? Chocolate Cake? Or both?

  1. Carole Pflederer

    These cakes sound delicious. Gail has made the chocolate sour cream cake and I love it. You gals are such wonderful cooks. I always print out your recipes, someday I’ll get around to baking some of them. Thank you for the wonderful recipes.

    • I’m not surprised that you’ve enjoyed the Sour Cream Chocolate cake when Gail makes it – she’s a great baker! Thanks for your comment – it’s fun to collect recipes and have them on hand for just the right occasion . . . I wonder if there will be baking in heaven, because I have a whole lot more recipes in my file than I’ll ever be able to use here on earth!

  2. Jim Elwell

    Well folks let me tell you: I have travelled on six continents sampling chocolate cake whenever I get the chance. I have never yet found a chocolate cake to rival Ellen’s Sour cream Chocolate Cake!

    Keep those cakes coming m’Lady!

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