There is quite a lot of food coloring in this recipe. You'll need it. The cake won't turn red without it. But you can adjust it slightly, adding more or less, depending on the color of red you prefer.
Traditional Southerners wouldn't dare serve red velvet cake without a boiled icing. But I like a cream cheese frosting instead.
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Red Velvet Cake image by Alan Richardson/Getty Images 2012, licensed to About.com Inc.