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Monday, February 7, 2011

Red Velvet Birthday Cake!

We were recently celebrating a dear friend’s birthday and one of her favorite cakes is Red Velvet. I’d never made one before but thought I’d give it a whirl. I didn’t have the highest of expectations because it sort of weirds me out that its not really vanilla cake and its certainly not really chocolate since most recipes barely add any cocoa… not to mention you have to put (SO MUCH) food coloring in this cake to make it red. HOWEVER, after adding ungodly amounts of cocoa (against the best advice of the many recipes that I looked at, and therefore ungodly amounts of food coloring, whoops) this cake truly was AWESOME. I will absolutely make this again. Also, big thanks to my special cake decorating friend who was the brains and the brawn behind the majority of this decorating endeavor. Adapted from
  • 3 8-9” round cake pans
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring dissolved in 6 tablespoons of water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees*. Place a teaspoon of butter in each of the 3 cake pans and place in oven just until melted. Remove from oven and use the butter to grease the sides and bottom of each pan and line bottoms with wax or parchment paper. 
In a medium bowl whisk the flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.
Place oil and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium until well incorporated. Beat in eggs one at a time. Turn machine to low and slowly add the food coloring- careful not to splash! Add vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture alternatively with the buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat only until just mixed. 
In a small bowl mix the baking soda and vinegar- watch it fizz! Slowly add this to the cake batter while beating- mix for about 10 seconds. Pour cake into prepared pans and bake for about 30-45 minutes. Check with a toothpick- watch out these little guys may cook faster than you think! I baked in two batches because I’ve had bad experiences with trying to shove all three cakes in my oven at once. Use your best judgment. Remove from oven and let cool completely. 
This is a big cake. If you want it to be well-iced (between layers, around the sides and on top) you’ll need a lot of frosting. This. Is. Good. Frosting. 
  • 4 8-ounce cream cheese, very cold!!
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-4 cups confectioners sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy and smooth. Add the confectioners sugar a bit at a time, tasting as you go (yay!). When it has reached desired sweetness, add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Frost cooled cake to your liking! 
* Note: I actually baked mine at 340 because my oven is not convection and cooks things unevenly- I wanted a slightly slower bake so that the edges didn’t burn. 

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