"My mom has been making red velvet cake since I was 2," Sims, 39, says of the cream-cheese-frosted confection she served at her wedding. "It's a really old family recipe. And if she's not with me for the holidays, she will literally Fed-Ex it to me on dry ice."
This year, Sims and husband Scott Stuber will be having their first Christmas at home in Beverly Hills, Calif., with their son, 5-month-old Brooks, and one of traditions that will be passed on this season is, of course, red velvet cake.
The Sims family's version is "sweet, but not too sweet," she says. "This is just the perfect balance."
Do like Sims does and make the cake with the whole family – and, of course, eat it together, too.
Red Velvet CakeServes 8 to 10
2½ cups flour
1 tsp. salt
½ cup vegetable shortening
1½ cups sugar
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
2 oz. red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ cups buttermilk
1 tbsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 heaping tbsp. flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
To make the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Grease and flour two 9-in. round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
3. In a bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat together shortening and sugar.
5. Add eggs one at a time to shortening mixture, beating well after each addition.
6. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa and food coloring, and add to shortening mixture.
7. Mix vanilla into buttermilk, then add to the shortening mixture alternately with the flour mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
8. Combine baking soda and vinegar, then fold into batter.
9. Divide batter between prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes.
10. Cool cakes in the pans for 20 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. Peel off the parchment paper.
To make the frosting:
1. In a small saucepan, mix together flour and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick, about 3 minutes. Let cool completely.
2. In an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar and vanilla.
3. Add cooled flour and milk mixture, and beat until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Ice cake.