It’s hard to understand why red velvet cake is so famous. One thing I can’t comprehend is that food dyes are used to create vibrant colors. It could be just as quickly blue as it has been. Second, I’m not sure why it’s called chocolate cake when most popular recipes only have one or two tablespoons (and rarely over half a cup) of cocoa. The flavor is barely discernible and is spread over three layers. Last but not least, I can’t understand why, if, according to my husband, the frosting on red velvet cake is the best part, that same cream cheese frosting could not be used on a different cake with a distinct flavor and without egregious amounts of food dye.

I’m probably too analytical to have any fun. People go wild over red velvet cakes, and I want to please them. With my friend Jill coming to town this weekend for her birthday and the gag above reaction as my goal, I decided it was time to overcome my red velvet confusion at least one night.

This cake was good. The cake was moist, slightly tangy, and had a half cup of cocoa. I could taste the flavor. For the cream cheese frosting, I’ve seen recipes that range from 1 cup to 1 pound of sugar (I kid not). But the 3-cup level was a nice balance between classic sweetness and not too much, so your teeth are about to revolt.

After making seven round cakes in a line, I got bored (because I’m a perfectionist) and took out my carving knife. My latest Microsoft Paint Scratching is here to help you make your flower cakes at home. It’s unnecessary to pipe pink, but after you paint your cake and cut it into flowers, who are we kidding? The decorations must be pink.

I’m My Part-ay. Would You Believe It Was Only One Year Ago When I Kissed iVillage Goodbye and Launched This Site? What a brilliant idea! My greatest fear was that there would be nothing new for the food blogging community and that I would quickly lose steam. The only thing I’ve run short of is the time to blog all the recipes on layaway. I wouldn’t have had this much energy without You. Thank you for a fantastic year.

Red Velvet Cake

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted3 1/2 cups cake powder
Half a cup of unsweetened cocoa, not Dutch-processed
Salt: 1 1/2 teaspoons
Canola oil 2 cups
2 1/4 cups of granulated Sugar
Three large eggs
Red food coloring or red gel coloring dissolved in water, six tablespoons.
Vanilla – 1 1/2 teaspoons
14 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons of baking soda
Use 2 1/2 tablespoons of white vinegar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a teaspoon of butter into three 9-inch round layer cake pans. Bake for a few moments until the butter has melted. Remove pans from the oven and brush the bottom and sides with butter. Line the bottoms of each pan with parchment.

Whisk together the cocoa powder and cake flour in a large bowl.

Beat oil and sugar in a bowl with a medium-speed electric mixer. Add eggs one by one. Add red food color very slowly while the machine is on low. Add red food coloring slowly, with the engine on low. Add vanilla. In two batches, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk. Beat just enough to combine. Scrape down the bowl.

Add baking soda to a small bowl, add vinegar, and mix. Then add the batter while the machine is running. Beat for 10 seconds.

Divide batter between pans. Place in the oven, and bake for 40-45 minutes until the cake tester is clean. Let the pans cool for 20 minutes. Remove from pans and flip over layers. Peel off parchment. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.

Cupcake Variation: Since its publication, many readers have commented that this recipe has worked well for cupcakesished. This recipe yields approximately 35 cupcakes. The liners should only be filled 3/4 full. The baking time is between 20 and 25 minutes.

Cocoa Notes

Some red velvet cake recipes do not contain any cocoa, while others may have as much as half a cup. The more cocoa you use, the darker the color and the less dye it takes to achieve the desired shade. The cake is redder than most because it has more cocoa. You can use less, but you will need to dissolve it in six tablespoons of warm water to compensate for the lost moisture.

Dutch versus Non-Dutch-Processed Cocoa: Because this recipe calls for baking soda, it uses non-Dutch-Processed cacao. Dutch-Processed cocoa will not react to baking soda because it is neutral. Therefore, Dutch-Processed cocoa can only be used with recipes containing baking powder or recipes with enough acidic ingredients to compensate for its lack of acidity. You’ll see that this recipe includes buttermilk and vinegar, which are many bites. This made me wonder if I could use either type of cocoa. If you have Dutch, please let us know how it turns out. I prefer Dutched chocolate because it’s usually of higher quality and has a more delicate flavor.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted From Several Sources

This recipe makes 6 cups

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Butter at room temperature, 1/2 cup (one stick),
3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
One teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

In a medium-sized bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat with a handheld electric blender until fluffy and light, approximately 2 minutes. Add vanilla and sugar. Mix on low speed. If the product is too soft, let it cool for about 10 minutes to stiffen slightly.

Icing notes

Technique: Cake decorators always say to ice the cake in two batches. First, a “crumb” layer and then a more decorative one. Although I don’t usually bother with it, this cake is an exception, as the thin layer of frosting barely covers its dark color. Spread a little frosting over the entire surface of the cake that will be iced. This will help to keep crumbs from ruining the final product. This will be firmer after a few minutes in the refrigerator or freezer. I did a half-hearted, rushed job, which is why there are visible crumbs on the finished product.

Quantity: This recipe creates enough frosting for a thin coating between and over cake layers. This recipe had the perfect balance of cake to frosting. You can double the recipe for a thicker, more decadent frosting.

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