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The Intriguing Tale of the Urban Legend Red Velvet Cake

The Fascinating Story of the Urban Legend Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake is a popular dessert known for its bright red color and indulgent taste. But did you know that this delicious treat has its own urban legend? The story has been circulating for decades, capturing the imagination of food lovers and curious minds alike. Let’s dive into the fascinating history of the urban legend surrounding red velvet cake.

The Legendary Recipe

Imagine this: a woman walks into an upscale hotel or department store and orders a chocolate chip cookie. It’s so delicious that she asks the waitress for the recipe. To her surprise, the waitress charges a whopping $250. Feeling cheated, the woman takes revenge by sharing the recipe with everyone she knows. Sound familiar?
This urban legend has been passed down through generations, taking on different forms and variations. The earliest known reference to a similar story was printed in the 1945 issue of Time magazine, but it didn’t specifically mention red velvet cake or any particular establishment.

Origins of the legend

Over time, the urban legend evolved and became associated with the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. By the 1960s, the legend revolved around the hotel’s red velvet cake. It remains unclear, however, whether the legend inspired the creation of the cake or vice versa.
The popularity of the legend grew, and in the 1970s, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel found itself dispelling the rumor by freely distributing copies of its red velvet cake recipe. The move was an attempt to put an end to the myth and show that the recipe was not a secret worth charging hundreds of dollars for.

Variations on the legend

The urban legend of the overpriced recipe didn’t stop with the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and red velvet cake. In the years that followed, it took on new iterations involving different establishments and recipes.
In the 1980s, the story revolved around Mrs. Fields Cookies and her original chocolate chip cookie recipe. The rumor became so widespread that Mrs. Fields had to issue a statement denying the sale of her recipe. The company’s founder, Debbi Fields, assured customers that the story was false and that her recipe had never been sold.
Another notable variation targeted Neiman Marcus, claiming that its restaurants were selling an expensive chocolate chip cookie recipe. However, the company’s media relations manager promptly dismissed the rumor, stating that they would never charge for a recipe and would be happy to share it with anyone who asked.

The Takeaway

While the urban legend surrounding red velvet cake and other recipes may have entertained and intrigued many, it’s important to recognize that these stories are simply myths. The origins of the legend remain shrouded in uncertainty, and the recipes associated with them are often freely available online.
If you find yourself in love with a particular dish from a restaurant or hotel, don’t hesitate to ask for the recipe. They may or may not share it with you, but it’s highly unlikely they’ll charge you an exorbitant fee.
The story of the urban legend of red velvet cake is a reminder that stories can take on a life of their own, capturing our imagination and adding a touch of mystery to our culinary experiences. So the next time you indulge in a slice of red velvet cake, enjoy not only its delicious flavors, but also the intriguing story behind it.




The urban legend surrounding red velvet cake involves a woman who orders a chocolate chip cookie at a high-end hotel or department store. She asks for the recipe, but is charged a much higher amount than she expected. In revenge, she shares the recipe with everyone she knows.

Is the urban legend of the overpriced red velvet cake recipe true?

No, the urban legend is not true. It has been around for over 75 years, but there is no hard evidence. The story has taken on different forms and has been associated with different establishments and recipes over time.

What hotel is often associated with the red velvet cake urban legend?

The urban legend is often associated with the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. However, it is unclear if the legend inspired the creation of the hotel’s red velvet cake or if the cake inspired the legend.

Are there other variations of the overpriced recipe legend?

Yes, in addition to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the red velvet cake, the legend has taken on several variations. It has been linked to Mrs. Fields Cookies and their chocolate chip cookie recipe, and misattributed to Neiman Marcus and their restaurants.

Can I get the recipes mentioned in the urban legend?

Yes, you can find versions of the recipes associated with the urban legend online. The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, for example, has freely distributed its recipe for red velvet cake to dispel the myth. However, it’s important to note that these recipes are not secret or expensive, as the legend suggests.

What is the significance of the urban legend surrounding red velvet cake?

The urban legend adds a fascinating and mysterious element to the history of red velvet cake. It demonstrates how stories can evolve and capture people’s imaginations. It also serves as a reminder that, contrary to the tale of the myth, recipes are often freely shared and not worth exorbitant fees.

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