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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at HPU chapter.

For all you red velvet lovers out there, here’s the history on how red velvet got its name. During the Great Depression, families were not fond of food colors and extracts. Families during this time thought it was a waste of money which at the time, put Adams Extract Company, a famous coloring and extract business – well, out of business. It wasn’t until later on that employees came up with Adam’s Red Velvet Cake recipe, which used red food coloring to enhance the visual appearance of a regular white-cake. Once the cake released, it was a hit. More families wanted their cakes to look as appealing as Adam’s Red Velvet Cakes, and started purchasing coloring and extract from their business.Before food coloring became the popular way to get the “red” color, the hue was much more subtle and was caused by the way cake ingredients such as vinegar, cocoa, and buttermilk reacted when mixed together. This was how red velvet cakes were traditionally made. The “red” comes from the ingredients, and the “velvet” is the smooth texture the cake finishes with once baked; hence the famous “Red Velvet” cake. The recipe Adam’s Extract Company created was a huge hit with households across the country. The recipe was so popular that it was offered for free at grocery stores. The popularity of the red velvet cake is the result of a clever marketing technique, now making it one of the most requested type of cake for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, baby showers, you name it!

As we all know, since there is a high demand for red velvet cakes – businesses take advantage of that by increasing the prices. I’m an extremely cheap college student, so I’m going to share a little secret with you. Here’s how to make your own red velvet mug cake for two people!


  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon liquid red food coloring
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup self-rising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon cider, white, white wine or rice vinegar


  1. In a large microwavable mug, whisk together the egg and oil with a fork.
  2. Stir in the food coloring, buttermilk, vanilla and sugar.
  3. Add the cocoa, flour, salt and vinegar.
  4. Beat until the batter is smooth.
  5. Microwave for 120 seconds until risen and firm.


If you’re like me and love toppings, add regular cream cheese frosting on top! This red velvet mug cake is cheaper, faster, and much more convenient. Although, nothing beats Cheesecake Factory’s Red Velvet Cake in my opinion. If mug cakes are your thing, visit this website: https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g2364/mug-cakes/?slide=1. It has over 20 different mug cake flavors!!

Guam | Hawaii Pacific University
Katrina Hicks

Northwestern '19