Sunday, January 18, 2009

Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting


I found several recipes on the Web for red velvet cake -- which I made for my friend Courtney, in celebration of her master's degree completion (hooray!). It was a little confusing because some of them used yellow cake mix, while others used cocoa, both of course with red food coloring for the rich color.

I wanted to make this completely homemade, so I opted for the cocoa version. It seemed like the most authentic to me, as well, based on this history of the cake's southern origins.

It turned out great, and it was fun to watch the batter turn blood-red. The recipe came from About.com.

The frosting was HEAVENLY! Not so sickly sweet like the store-bought kind. It's a recipe I'm sure I'll use again. It's from Joy of Baking.

Next time I make this, I'll get a better photo. This was taken at The Irish Lion, and I had to use the flash, so it looks bright red. It's actually a medium red, not bright at all.

Red velvet cake (makes 1 double-layer 9-inch cake)
1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa
1-1/2 ounces red food coloring (I used 1 ounce because that was the bottle size)
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1.) Cream shortening, then slowly add sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well with each addition.

2.) Make a paste using the cocoa and food coloring. Add this to the batter.

3.) Add salt, flour, and vanilla alternately with the buttermilk. (i.e. Add a little of the salt, then a little buttermilk, then a little flour, then a little buttermilk, then a little vanilla, a little buttermilk, etc.; that's how I interpreted those directions.)

4.) In a small separate bowl, sprinkle the soda over the vinegar. It will bubble. Sprinkle on top of the batter, and stir until combined.

5.) Spread the batter into two 9-inch cake pans, and bake at 350 degrees for a half-hour.

6.) Cool completely before icing with your favorite cream-cheese frosting; try the one below if you're feeling adventurous. It's got mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, and cream cheese -- wow! I recommend putting the cakes, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the freezer for a couple hours before frosting. This will allow the cake to be sliced later without crumbling apart, because it will seal in moisture.

Cream cheese frosting
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone (Italian cream cheese), at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1.) Cream together the mascarpone and cream cheese until smooth.

2.) Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until well combined.

3.) Beat heavy cream in a separate bowl until stiff. First fold just a little into the cheese mixture with a spatula, then fold the rest into it in two phases.

4.) Cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour, until firm enough to frost cake.

1 comment:

courtney said...

Nicole, this cake was heavenly. Thank you again, especially for making it from scratch!