A Red Velvet Cake is very exciting looking cake with its gleaming red color that is offset by a creamy white frosting. If made justly, it is moist and tender to the taste and touch. There are many theories as to its creation. Some say it comes from the South, others say it commenced in the North. All we really know is that it has been a favored cake for decades, not only in the States but also in Canada
If we look beyond the fascinating appearance of this Red Velvet Cake, we will find that it has a light chocolate flavor with a moist and tender crumb. The mild chocolate tang comes from adding a small amount of cocoa powder to the preparation and buttermilk gives it a moist and tender crumb. If you are not informed with buttermilk it has a nice dense creamy texture with a rich flavorsome buttery taste that makes baked goods tender. You can make your personal buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup (240 ml) of milk. Let this mixture stand 5 to 10 minutes before using.
Once the Red Velvet Cake layers have been baked and cooled, I find it is best to store the cake layers in the fridge or freezer (for at least an hour) before frosting. This extra step makes the spread out of the frosting a much easier task as a freshly baked cake is quite weak and when you try to spread the frosting there is a liability for the cake to tear. Refrigerating or freezing the cake first eliminates this predicament. In fact, you may want to bake the cakes the day before you need them and then you can just place the cakes in the fridge overnight to firm up.
The type of frosting used on a Red Velvet Cake can vary. While I have used a Cream Cheese Frosting, other recipes often call for a Frosting or even a White Confectioners Frosting. the other day I found a brand-new cream cheese frosting that I love very much and I have incorporated it here. It still uses cream cheese but it also contains mascarpone cheese, which is an Italian cheese that is a bit thick, buttery-rich, delicately sweetened and velvety, ivory-colored cheese generated from cow’s milk. Its consistency is similar to that of sour cream. It is sold in plastic 8-ounce tubs and you can normally find it in specialty food stores or in the deli section of your local grocery store. If you cannot find Mascarpone just use regular cream cheese instead, which means using 16 ounces of cream cheese altogether. Apart from the cream cheese and mascarpone, this frosting also contains whipped cream so you end up with a squishy and creamy frosting. The frosting recipe is redone from ‘The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook’ by John Doherty and is quick and easy.
Red Velvet Cake Directions:
Preheat kitchen stove to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and position rack in center of oven. Butter two – 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set out of the way.
In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until airy and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after every addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until encompassed.
In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on nominal speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
In a small-scale cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to froth and then swiftly fold into the cake batter.
Working quickly, split up the batter evenly between the two prepped pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for just about 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick introduced in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Infrigidate the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Position a wire rack on top of the cake pan and reverse, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have fully cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight). (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)
Cream Cheese Frosting: In the vessel of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk fastening, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Add more sugar or cream as desired to get the right texture.
Assemble: With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in division, horizontally. You will now have four cake layers. Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Can dress up the cake with sweetened or unsweetened coconut.
Serves 10 – 12 people.