Thursday, March 10, 2011

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Where I live it seems like Red Velvet Cake is all the rage. I see it being advertised, I see cakes and cupcakes being sold everywhere from the grocery store to cafes and restaurants. Of course I have been wondering what all the fuss is about, and I have also been wondering what is a red velvet cake? Well, from what I understand Red Velvet cake is a Southern specialty, and anyone that has seen the movie Steel Magnolias can't forget the red armadillo cake. Basically it is a very moist chocolate cake; but it is more than that - it is red for one thing, it really is velvety, and unlike other cake recipes this one calls for vinegar. It also calls for buttermilk which isn't too unusual in baking, but generally not in a cake recipe.

Now generally a red velvet cake is layered, unfortunately when I made this cake I did not have the time to wait for the cake to cool enough to be able to make a layered cake, as I had guest arriving at my house within an hour of putting the cake in the oven. But, if you are going to make this cake, and want to impress, the red and white layering is very attractive. Next time I make this cake, and there will be a next time, I will invest in a better red coloring and I will layer it. It will be so fun to have this beautiful white cake on the table that will surprise everyone when it is cut into and is bright red on the inside.

Red Velvet Cake aka Red Waldorf Cake
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens
Picture by Caroline (not my best work)

2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring (1/4 cup)
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour or 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk**
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting (below)

1. Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and flour two 9x1 1/2-inch round cake pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Stir together cocoa powder and food coloring; set aside. In another small bowl stir together sifted flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla to shortening; beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition until combined. Beat in cocoa mixture. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating on low to medium speed after each addition just until combined. Stir together baking soda and vinegar. Add to batter, mixing until combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake in a 350° oven for 30-35 minutes for round pans, about 30 minutes for 13x9x2-inch pan, or until wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cake layers from pans; cool thoroughly on wire racks. Or place the 13x9x2-inch cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

*Don't neglect sifting your flour for this recipe. Sifting your flour ensures a more velvety texture. If you don't have a flour sifter, like myself, use a wire strainer.
**No buttermilk? The old substitute is to create sour milk. Take 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup; let this stand for 5 minutes before using.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe from Ina Garten

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

1. Place the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed until combined. Don't whip! Add the sugar and mix until smooth.


Rebekah said...

Red Velvet cake is my all time favorite. I can't wait to try this. If it is super yummy I may have to make this recipe into cupcakes for a baby shower I am throwing next month.

M said...

Cream cheese frosting is my weakness. I'm going to have to try this (or make J bake it for me instead!).

Steph said...

Red velvet cake is my father-in-law's favorite cake, but I have never gotten the courage to make it from scratch (also didn't purchase food coloring until recently, so that was also a hindrance). What is it about the red color that seems to make it tatse different from regular chocolate cake? ;-)

Vivienne said...

Darn it this is absolutely mouthwatering!!

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