Monday, February 3, 2014

Almost Traditional Red Velvet Cake - 52 Cakes and Pies at Home

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If you start using a term like "Traditional" when talking about red velvet cake you may just be using fighting words.  There is an argument that the cake gained in popularity during the depression and augmented during rationing times of WW2 when Sugar Beets were added in place of cane sugar.

Southerners are aghast when the New York hotel the Waldorf Astoria gets credit for making the cake popular.  Some claim Texas origins when the recipe was widely distributed with a tear off recipe at point of sale locations for a Texas based Food Coloring Company, Adams Extracts.  Even Canad gets a claim as the "exclusive" distributor of the desert at the Eaton's Department Store chain with employees swearing to never disclose the recipe mistakenly attributed to Lady Eaton herself.

My guess is that this is a Southern recipe.  A form of Devil's Food Cake made red with Beet juices.  Over the years food coloring has replaced beetroot (thank the cooking gods).  The basic ingredients always use buttermilk, some form of vinegar and flour.  The icing has also evolved from a complicated French style Butter Roux (cooked milk) recipe to an easier ButterCream recipe many recipes call for now.

I did use a Buttercream, but a Whipped Fluffy style Buttercream that allows you to make thicker layers of frosting for the look of equal amounts of frosting and cake without making the finished bite too sweet.

The cake and the Whipped Fluffy style Buttercream icing are time consuming, but not hands on time consuming.  The cake is frosted in about an hour interval between layers.  This allows the frosting to set and harden a bit so the pressure of adding new layers and frosting them does not force the icing to ooze out the sides.  But this is a special occasion cake, usually served with a special occasion dinner.  So proper time management gets this done in time!  Double click the photo to the right or click these BLUE LETTERS to see the recipe and tips for making this frosting.  I like it so much I did a full post on the recipe.

In other words, plan ahead.

So, if the recipe offends anyone... no Beets, wrong icing, too much/too little cocoa powder, or any other ingredients or processes... I do apologize in advance.  But I did say it was only ALMOST TRADITIONAL.

 But it is Delicious and makes a great presentation!

OK... Here's what I did...

Almost Traditional
Red Velvet Cake

  • 2 Cups Cake Flour
  • 1-1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 3 TBS Cocoa Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 TBS Butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 TBS Vanilla
  • 2 tsp Malt Vinegar
  • 1 TBS Red Gel Food Coloring
  • Optional Fluffy Whipped Buttercream Frosting  
  • Optional Garnish with chopped Pecans
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of two 8 inch Springform Cake pans with cut circles of parchment paper. Spray the bottom and the sides with non-stick spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add in butter (ROOM TEMPERATURE, soft but not melted) and oil. Mix with paddle attachment on low until fully incorporated. Then increase speed to medium and beat for 2 additional minutes to add a little more air into the mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, malt vinegar and food coloring, vigorously whisk for a light plum color full minute to fully incorporate eggs into the wet ingredients and a deep plum red color.
  5. Divide into your cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes until toothpicks can be inserted and come out clean.
  6. Turn off the oven, open oven door but do not remove the cake. Let rest and cool for 30 minutes. Then remove from oven and from the springform pans and move to the refrigerator to fully cool.
  7. Optional - Using a long serrated bread knife, cut each cake in half horizontally being careful to make the one cake into two equal size shorter cakes. Suggested using Whipped Fluffy Buttercream Frosting. Cool each layer in the fridge as icing is added to keep the layers from collapsing and pushing icing out the sides.
  8. Decorate as desired and ENJOY!!!


This simple recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Cakes and Pies at Home"!

These are the desserts you make for your family.  No fancy amazing wedding cakes, just the rustic beauty of the classics.  From pumpkin pie to cheesecakes to layer cakes, these are what your family craves for dessert.  You may even see a few unusual crusts and frosting ideas to try.

You get the idea. These recipes are simple, delicious and will have your family wanting dessert first...


This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Church PotLuck Dishes"!

A list of something NEW worthy of being shown off at a neighborhood BYODish (Bring Your Own Dish) Party, a Family special occasion dinner, Any Big Holiday Gathering or of course that glorious day when you bring a dish to share with your Church family...

Ages ago, literally almost a half century ago I was listening to our pastor talking about a PotLuck Dinner. It happened to be scheduled around a church work day when we were expected to weed, polish and do general cleaning and maintenance around the church (you know, back in the day when there were no no-wax floors and church pews smelled of Old English furniture polish). I am of course paraphrasing, but as I recall the pastor said,

"A potluck, like a church requires work. At a potluck everyone is expected to contribute.. At a church no one should come empty handed and no one should leave unfed".
I will confess that in my youth I brought more store bought plastic spoons and forks than I ever brought covered dishes and crock pots of fresh made love and caring delights. But now that I have become a hobbyist cook, I occasionally am reminded of those days and people from my youth. I reminded and I do wish that I could drop a dish of some new creation on those old tables at my fondly remembered Liberty Baptist Church.  Tables covered with newspapers and loaded with God's bounty prepared with love and caring... Enjoy


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1 comment:

  1. no no no you must make with the boiled milk based frosting :).