Wild Canyon Café Shares Their Red Velvet Pancake Recipe

The decadent Red Velvet Pancakes served at Wild Canyon Café at the Wilderness are the ultimate breakfast treat. Topped with hot, buttery, cream cheese glaze, they are one of our more popular menu items. Because of this, we thought you would enjoy making this treat for your family!

But first, did you ever wonder where Red Velvet came from? For many of us, especially in the Midwest, the first time we saw a red velvet cake was in the movie Steel Magnolias. Remember the armadillo groom’s cake? That movie sparked the red velvet flavor resurgence that continues to be a favorite today. While no one knows the exact origin, there are some sources that say the first red velvet cake was served at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in the 1920s. Others say that it was earlier in the 1800s when cocoa was added to cake recipes to soften and break down the proteins in flour, producing a velvety, finer textured cake. One of the side effects was a reddish colored batter that was a result of a reaction between the cocoa, buttermilk, baking soda and vinegar.

Another theory about the red coloring emerged during World War II when sugar and butter were rationed. It is said that some bakers would add beets or beet juice to their cakes to add sweetness and also to act as a filler. (Wait, does that mean cake was classified as a vegetable then?) Some said that brown sugar used to be called red sugar and that was how the name came about.

Finally The Adams Extract Company claimed in the 1940s to have the “original” Red Velvet cake Looking to increase sales of their food coloring and butter extracts, they launched an advertising campaign that provided bright and cheerful magazine ads and point-of-sale in grocery stores with plentiful free recipe cards to make their “original” cake, with their extracts of course! Their efforts proved to be successful, and the reign of Red Velvet began.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring

Sweet Cream Cheese Butter (follow recipe below)

Preparation: Sift together first 6 ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk and next 3 ingredients in another bowl. Gradually stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened. Heat griddle to 350°. Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto a hot buttered griddle or large nonstick skillet. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry and cooked. Turn and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until done.  Drizzle with Sweet Cream Cheese Butter and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Garnish with powdered sugar.

Make sure to not overmix the batter – it should be lumpy.

Sweet Cream Cheese Butter

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1 cup softened butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation: Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until blended.