For many years I reserved this recipe for Valentine’s Day and Christmas. It is moist, tender, and delicious, and has become such a hit among friends and family, I now make it for many special occasions, as well as for non-occasions.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Splenda* (or stevia)
  • 1 & 1/2 stick Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening Sticks
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 & 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 oz. red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fat free buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar


  1. In electric mixer, cream together sugar, stevia, or Splenda, with shortening, and eggs.
  2. In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix together cocoa and food coloring.
  3. Add cocoa mixture to cream mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, mix salt and vanilla flavoring with buttermilk.
  5. Sift flower.
  6. Add buttermilk mixture alternately with flour to cream mixture.
  7. Mix vinegar and soda. (This will fizz.)
  8. Fold vinegar-soda mixture into batter. (Do not beat.)
  9. Pour into 2 prepared 9 ” cake pans, lined muffin pans, or a 1/4 sheetcake pan.
  10. Bake at 350 F. for 25-30 minutes.

* Some Notes:

  1. This cake is expensive to make, and once, when we had only one bottle of red food coloring in the pantry, I decided to try making it with only that one bottle. As far as the dark red color was concerned, there was NO difference. Just be sure to replace that other bottle with an equal amount of liquid. If that liquid is not replaced, you will get a drier cake. I replaced it with one extra ounce of fat-free buttermilk.
  2. Originally, I used 1 cup Splenda* and 1/2 cup sugar. This produced very thin cake layers. Sugar increases moisture, which helps to plump up the layers in a cake. I prefer thicker layers, so I have reversed that to 1/2 cup Splenda and 1 cup sugar. UPDATE:  as I’ve read more and more about Splenda, I have dropped it from my pantry, and use stevia whenever possible.
  3. Wait about combining the baking soda and vinegar, until you are ready to incorporate it into the batter. If combined too soon, it will lose the fizziness before you fold it into the batter.