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Off the Menu: Red velvet cake at The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Master the art of making the legendary Waldorf Astoria red velvet cake with Amanda Owen, executive pastry chef at The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. | By Alison Cavatore | February 2, 2023

As any chef will tell you, baking is a science — and an art form. When executed correctly, you'll have consistent quality and perfect presentation. Add a healthy sprinkling of passion and attention to detail, and you’ve got yourself a winning (and delicious) combination.

Enter the original Waldorf Astoria red velvet cake. A legend in its own right, this perfectly mastered confection shines brightly amid the equally legendary, and awe-inspiring, surroundings at The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Amanda Owen, executive pastry chef at The Roosevelt New Orleans, couldn’t agree more.

Says chef Owen, “I think [the Waldorf Astoria red velvet cake] is so iconic, it’s so great. It’s amazing to be a part of that food history. It is one of those dishes that you have to get exact. Something that I strive for is doing it perfect every time.”

Invented by a chef at Waldorf Astoria New York in the 1930s, the Waldorf Astoria red velvet cake is the epitome of artful baking. With its vibrant color, full flavor and rich past, there’s no finer indulgence.

Chef Owen, who began her culinary career at the Culinary Institute of New Orleans and worked across the country at fine dining restaurants and resorts before returning to New Orleans, found her calling and can’t imagine being anything but a chef.

Says chef Owen, “I feel care and compassion when I’m cooking, and you can always taste the love in my food. Food is passion brought to life!”

Her number one tip for precision baking your own red velvet cake at home? Using good ingredients — particularly fresh beets, as they will have less liquid to drain. This only leaves one step left: To try this red velvet cake recipe yourself! Follow the skillful guidance of chef Owen and bring your own passion to the table.

Red Velvet Cake Red Velvet Cake 

Serves 8 to 10

Red velvet cake ingredients

- 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

- 2 cups granulated sugar

- 4 large eggs

- 1 ½ cups Canola oil

- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

- 2 cups all-purpose flour

- 2 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

- ¼ teaspoon salt

- 1 ½ pounds beets*, drained and pureed

*Note: if using canned beets, begin draining one day prior to using.

Cream cheese frosting ingredients

- 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted

- ½ cup butter

Red velvet cake preparation

Preheat the oven to 325 F (163 C).

Butter three 9-inch round cake pans.

Place a metal bowl over a saucepan of boiling water or on the top of a double boiler to melt the chocolate (or melt in a microwave for 20 to 25 seconds). Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and Canola oil, and then slowly add in sugar. Emulsify the mixture and incorporate melted chocolate.

Add sifted all-purpose flour to wet mixture and combine well. Add salt, baking powder, vanilla and beets. Combine well, but do not over mix batter — it’s ok to have a few lumps.

Evenly divide the batter between the three cake pans and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when touched, or when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the cake pans from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then turn the layers out onto the rack and let cool completely.

Cream cheese frosting preparation

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place the cream cheese and add the butter and sugar. Mix on low speed for 5 to 6 minutes until it is light and fluffy.

Keep refrigerated until ready to assemble.

To assemble, use a serrated knife to trim the top of each cake layer so that it is flat.

Place the first layer on a cake plate or serving platter and top with some of the icing. Repeat until all the layers are covered with icing, then ice the top and sides of the cake. If you prefer, finish with decorations of your choosing.

Store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

(Recipe from Amanda Owen, executive pastry chef at The Roosevelt New Orleans, 2022.)

Alison Cavatore is the assistant editor for the content marketing team at Hilton. She has written and copyedited for numerous print and digital publications in the U.S. and abroad. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Alison has lived in Miami, Scottsdale, Holland, France, Switzerland and Canada. She currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area.

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