December has certainly been a month of sweets. I’m convinced it was because I had some time off (translation: more time to bake). That, combined with the recent discovery that my oven is actually half-way decent and won’t burn every cookie I attempt, adds up to a lot of desserts.
I’m sure many of you are aware that California’s cupcake craze has made consumers swoon in the last couple of years. Cupcakes popped up like pansies in bakeries across the state, making it easier than ever to try, and inevitably fall in love with, red velvet cake. I quickly googled recipes to store for the day that I would attempt them myself, and that occasion came last month for my husband’s birthday. I used Pinch My Salt’s post as a guide, and would have made the cake version, but wanted to (easily) transport the extras to his parent’s house for Thanksgiving. An already sliced cake just wouldn’t have made the prettiest presentation.
And let’s face it – Christmas is in two days, and red velvet cakes are adorably festive. All they’re missing are some green sprinkles.
Red Velvet Cake (a.k.a. Waldorf Astoria Cake)
Courtesy Pinch My Salt
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 T. cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 t. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 t. white vinegar
1 t. baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or three 8-inch round cake pans.
2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a paste; set aside.
4. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
5. Making sure to scrape down the bowl occasionally, beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and cocoa paste.
6. Add one third of the flour mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. Finally beat in the last third of the flour mixture, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
7. Make sure you have cake pans buttered, floured, and nearby. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. (For cupcakes, bake 18 min.) Check early, cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
9. Frost with cream cheese frosting (link below).
*If you can’t find cake flour, Nicole mentioned that the original recipe called for all-purpose flour and recommended using ¼ cup less, so 2 ¼ c. all-purpose flour instead of 2 ½ C. cake flour. I went this route and the results were great.
Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe