Red Velvet is Sexy…

Yep, I said it. Don’t even try to deny that there’s something about that bright red, moist and delectable crumb that is truly captivating. Although it is beautiful as a classic double-tiered cake, it shines as an adorable cupcake, exotic swirled brownies, corny whoopie pies or sinfully rich cheesecake.

Just as there are many variations with the final red velvet display, there are many variations to the recipe. There’s the butter, shortening, oil debate…the baking soda mixed with dry ingredients vs. mixed in with the vinegar, and the cocoa powder red food coloring paste vs separated in wet and dry ingredients. I have tried many techniques to learn:

  • I prefer using oil for the fat
  • Think the science experiment of mixing the baking soda with the vinegar is fun
  • Making paste is just unnecessary work and leaves red color in the bowl you use to mix it together such a waste.

In the end, this beauty should stand as a sultry gem with a unique and modest cocoa flavor. And please (I’ll beg if I have to) do not, I repeat, do NOT disrespect this beautiful creation by frosting it with anything other than a subtly sweet cream cheese frosting.

Red velvet…an aphrodisiac in baked-good form.

Cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (add a little dash more if you feel the urge)
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs- room temperate
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk- room temperature
2 oz red food coloring- go for the gel type, it makes all the difference in taste and color
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar (don’t tell anyone but I’ve used white wine vinegar and it works!)

1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer with your Kitchen Aid until well combined . Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

5. In a small bowl combine the baking soda and vinegar until it bubbles- add to the rest of your mixture until combines.

4. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased  8″ round cake pans, or 2 greased 9″ cake pans, or cupcakes tins lined with beautiful liners.

5. Bake rotating halfway through, until a toothpick (or cake tester) inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, approximately 25-30 minutes (keep in mind every oven is different). Let cool 5 minutes, then (if made into cake) invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let  cool completely.

Frosting:
16 oz cream cheese, softened (= room temperature)
8 oz unsalted butter, softened (= room temperature)
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1. Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes.

One note about frosting this masterpiece its finicky, the itty-bitty crumbs break a little loose and poke through the snow-white frosting. That’s just the domineering red making its last stand before being sliced into and welcomed into the palette. The trick is to frost it with a light coat, chill and place another layer over the top. A little more work, but worth the ending perfection!

Slice, bite, share and enjoy!

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