Wednesday, January 6, 2010

red velvet cake

every time i think of this cake, steel magnolia's comes to mind.

who could forget ouiser cutting off the butt of the bleedin' red velvet armadillo cake for drum.
classic scene, classic cake.

why you ask, is it soooo red??
during the depression, cocoa was a luxury not all could afford.
red velvet cake has only a small hint of cocoa that gives it a very muted red color.
in order to brighten up the muted red a bit, beet juice was added.
in southern recipes beet juice is sometimes still used today...
great substitute if you are allergic to food colorings.

no worries.
this recipe is sans beet juice.
sorry dwight schrute.
i made this cake for a dear friend of mine for her birthday.
she loved it and so will you.

Classic Red Velvet Cake

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk (I used buttermilk substitute, with vinegar. If you use this method, still add the following 1 tablespoon vinegar)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring (don't skimp on this. most grocery stores sell individual large bottles of red food coloring)
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened; plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups sugar

2 sticks butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (2 bricks) cream cheese, softened, cut into 8 pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour AND line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
(I did not line with parchment and the suckers still stuck to my NON stick pans that were thoroughly covered in butter and flour. boooo.)
Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Whisk the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and eggs together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Mix the cocoa and food coloring in a small bowl to make a paste and set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Turn the mixer to low and slowly add 1/3 of the flour mixture until combined.
Add 1/2 the buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Repeat adding flour and buttermilk mixture, ending with the flour mixture.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cocoa powder-food coloring mixture, and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Using a rubber spatula, give the batter a final stir until there are no streaks.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
Lightly pound cake pans on counter top to get air bubbles to rise to the surface of the batter.
Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating the cake pans at about 10 minutes.

While cakes are baking make the frosting.
Mix butter, salt and sugar in stand mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the cream cheese one piece at a time and beat until smooth and incorporated, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in the vanilla. Beat until combined.
Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with a few small crumbs on the toothpick. Do not over cook.
Remove the cakes from the oven. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert them on a wire rack that has been sprayed with cooking spray and cool completely before frosting.

To assemble, place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or cardboard round. Spread 2 cups of the frosting
evenly across the top of the cake with a spatula. Place the second cake layer on top, then spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

To get cool messy swirls, use the back of a spoon starting in the middle of the top of the cake, make one small clock wise circle. Continue around the top and sides of the cake alternating with clock wise and counter clock wise small circles.
Refrigerate cake until served, up to 3 days.
adapted from: america's test kitchen


  1. LOVE the references! "Gray icing?!?!? I have no idea how you even begin to make gray icing."

  2. Hahaha..."that thing looks like an autopsy." is my personal fave ;)

  3. God I love that movie. I would totally have a bleedin' armadillo groom's cake at my wedding. I mean it.



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