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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Red Velvet Cake

My Southern roots are showing - I've always wanted to make a Red Velvet Cake and last night Brennan and I took it on. Remember this "bleedin' armadillo groom's cake" from the movie "Steel Mangolias"? We had a fun time making a Red Velet from scratch. And we learned a valuable lesson - when you use up all the baking soda doing kitchen science experiments, make sure Mommy knows.

Brennan enjoyed sifting all the dry ingredients.

But what he enjoyed most was making the icing from scratch and icing the cake. He couldn't wait for Thomas to try the icing. He thought it was INCREDIBLE that one could MAKE icing!

Our completed cake.

We used baking powder (whose main ingredient is baking soda it turns out) instead of baking soda instead of running to the store. I don't think I've ever been OUT of baking soda - it's one of those ingredients that's just always around. Without it though, the cake layers did not rise properly. Alas - it tasted delicious.

This is what it may have looked like (photo from allrecipes.com)

Red Velvet Cake is from the south. The cocoa and vinegar reacting with the buttermilk would tint the cake slightly red. During WWII cooks used beets to turn the cake more red. Since the 1950's, food coloring has been used more often, while cocoa and buttermilk are still key ingredients.

Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c buttermilk, at room temperature or warmed for 30 seconds in microwave
2 eggs at room temperature
2 Tbsp red food coloring
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 tsp white vinegar
1 lb cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
4 c confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Pecans for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Oil and flour 3 8" round pans. Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In mixing bowl mix the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients on low until just combined. Pour cakes into 3 pans and cook for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.

In mixing bowl add the cream cheese, butter, and sugar and mix until fluffy - about 5 minutes. On low, add in vanilla and mix for 30 seconds. Refrigerate.

Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate and ice the top. Add the second layer and repeat. Add the 3rd layer and frost the entire cake. Decorate with pecans. Enjoy!

This recipe make way more icing than you need. The rest can be saved in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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