A Blindfold May Be Required
Unfortunately for Joshua, I have never even tasted a Red Velvet Cake. I’ve had a problem just getting past the red color of it, which in turn has meant I haven’t been willing to bake one. I always thought it was a plain cake into which someone dumped a ton of red food coloring and that the flavor would be atrocious.
A friend of mine asked me to bake a Red Velvet Cake for her daughter’s baby shower. When I informed my friend that I have neither tasted one nor made one before, she basically told me that it was time to get busy. So I did some research and found a recipe I was willing to play around with.
Fortunately for Joshua, I do not mind admitting when I am wrong. In this case I was totally off base about what a Red Velvet Cake tasted like. The taste was delicious.
I still had the problem with the red food coloring, something essential in a ‘red’ velvet cake. I have tried out several kinds of red food coloring, usually with very disappointing results. For my Red Velvet Cake I used Wilton “no taste” red, which is sold in 1 ounce containers.
My biggest surprise when I baked the Red Velvet Cake was that it is, actually, a cocoa cake. I felt a tad silly, when I realized this, because I love chocolate cake. So why the heck was I avoiding a cocoa cake for all of these years? Seriously, this cake is incredibly moist and the cocoa comes through in a very subtle way.
Using the Wilton “no taste” red did not give an off-taste that I have found with many food colorings. However, I really did cringe, as put in 1 ounce of red dye. I know, I know, the cake is called a RED Velvet Cake for a reason. I found a very simple solution.
I made a Not-So-Red Velvet Cake! It was an easy enough adjustment. Simply eliminate the red food coloring and increase the water just a tad. The cake was still moist and delicious. It just lacked a bright red hue.
I am not so sure that I will win over all of the Red Velvet Cake lovers out there, but I am challenging you to at least give the Not-So-Red Velvet Cake a try. I could not taste a difference, and I can’t wait for Joshua to give it a try, too. Of course, a blindfold may be required.
|Not-So-Red Velvet Cake|| || |
- 2½ cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 2½ tablespoons water
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 16 ounces (1 pound) cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9” cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- Mix the cocoa and water together in a small bowl until smooth and set side.
- Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat for three minutes, scraping the bowl down as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl down in between additions. Add vanilla. Blend in the cocoa mixture.
- On low speed, add ½ of the dry ingredients followed by all of the buttermilk. Lastly, blend in the remaining dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. The cake will pull away from the sides of the pan and the top will spring back when gently pressed. Do not overbake.
- Remove from oven and cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Use a small metal spatula to go around the edges of the pans. Flip pans out onto another cooling rack and then invert cakes to cool completely on a rack. Be sure to remove parchment paper.
- For the frosting:
- Combine all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir on low speed until blended. Increase the speed and beat until completely smooth.
- Gently wipe around the edge of the cakes to release any loose crumbs. Place one cake layer onto a serving plate, bottom side up. Spread 1 cup frosting on top. Place the second cake layer over the frosting, bottom side up.
- Cut the corner off a small freezer bag and push a #21 star tip partially through the hole. Place 1¼ cups frosting into the bag and set aside.
- Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake using an angled metal spatula.
- Pipe either shells or stars around the edge of the top and bottom of the cake. Swirl a decoration in the center.
- Serve at room temperature.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- If you want to make a Red Velvet Cake, add 1 ounce of red food coloring (I prefer Wilton's "no taste" red) to the cocoa and decrease the water to 1-1/2 tablespoons.
- Decorating the cake with swirls or shells is optional. If you choose not to, add the frosting to the top of the cake.