may 9, 2009

Mother’s Day presented the perfect opportunity to bake a red velvet cake. With all its hype and popularity, baking a red velvet cake seemed like a daunting task. It was my first. I was careful to take all precautions (wore all black). One of the hardest part, surprisingly, was waiting until the next day to actually eat the cake.

I was surprised to find out how much red food coloring it takes. I used four tablespoons and I think I could’ve used more to achieve a slightly deeper red. This recipe is a little denser than I would’ve liked. Though, in the end, it was actually better that way because it keeps you from eating too much. I’d also put way more frosting than I used (both on the outside and between cake layers). Oh, and I would’ve either made more batter or used smaller cake rounds (I used 9″). I was hoping the cake would be taller. Still, all in all, I’d say it was a success.

Red Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 tbs red food coloring (about 1.25 oz)
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9″ cake rounds. If possible, line the bottom of the cake rounds with parchment paper.

Combine sifted cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder until fully incorporated. Mine was a bit dry and paste-y.

Using a mixer, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla and cocoa/coloring mix. Add a third of the flour mixture, beat well, then add half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of the flour, then the rest of the buttermilk. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Divide batter evenly between the two cake rounds. Bake for about 25 minutes. Cakes will be done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack, then frost with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

16 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

Using a mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add salt and vanilla. Then slowly add the powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.

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