Its become some sort of a family tradition that if my littlest sister birthday is around the corner and I happen to be in town she wants me to whip up a Red Velvet Cake. I did it this week with alot of trepidation considering the last time I did it 5 years ago it was a disaster. Half the kitchen in red food coloring mess when one of the pans had a false bottom and leaked everywhere. This year was a success with more foresight and bit of preparation.
Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk*, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour your pans. This recipe can fill two 9-inch round cake pans or a three 8-inch round cake pans.
2. Sift the flour after measuring then sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl, then set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps and set aside.
(beware food coloring!)
3. In a large bowl (using a mixer is preferable) beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste. Remember to scrape down the bowl with a spatula as you go so the batter will evenly mix. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
*BUTTERMILK: If you don’t have buttermilk available you can substitute the same amount for plain yogurt, or make a buttermilk substitute by adding 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice per one cup milk and let stand 5-8 min.
4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. It will fizz a bit then add to the cake batter and stir well. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan invert them on a flat surface and then gently lift the pan. Cakes need to cool completely before frosting.
Frost with buttercream or cream cheese icing*
Simple Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).
You can always add a bit of sugar if you want to make your icing sweeter.