Don’t act like you’re really wondering what that title is all about. Because you know. Everybody knows. Of course wif is most obviously referring to the one, the only… RED VELVET CAKE (commence concerned/excited gasps). It was wif’s project for FIL’s (that is the cute-letters-only version of father-in-law right?) very special birthday.
For whatever reason wif likes to make her baking adventure a rather big to-do. This is comprised of approximately 6 hours of research (finding the perfect RVC recipe is an unimaginably challenging feat), locating and purchasing the perfect ingredients *by perfect wif obv. means cheapest*, and then actually making the confection, all the while taking far too many pictures to ever post. So here is the low down (in photos and words – aren’t you just so lucky!)
This recipe is originally from Pinch My Salt’s blog with a couple of tweaks:)
Red Velvet Cake (a.k.a. Waldorf Astoria Cake)
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (can sub AP flour… see note)*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring (liquid)**
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature ***
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature****
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature****
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
- Put on a dang apron. The red is preparing to take over your life so don’t be stoopid about it. If you like your hands, gloves might not be a bad idea either.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans orthree 8-inch round cake pans. Try to stick to pans that don’t suck… or your will have a lopsidy cake… like mine! The other two, my beauteous Calphalon circa wedding worked incredibly, even baking and dropped out like a dream. Please see photos.
- Sift cake flour once before measuring. Then, with your already-aching hands sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring andcocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside. And by paste, we mean more of a liquid – that smells like cocoa.
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. If your butter is too warm from your space heater this will be too dense. So you should try again, with cold butter, which you then have to microwave to be fluffable.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go (repeat this crucial step as much as you can stand!). Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Then make a long and smart-looking calculus equation with all of those dang fractions.
- Make sure you have cake pans buttered, floured, and nearby (of course you do cute little bloglets who follow all my directions!). In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda (it will fizz and you will be tempted to let your dazed excitement stray you from the task @ hand)! 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.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check early, cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For me, it was close to 20 min. for the awesome pans… 25 for useless dumbhead pan.
- Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, gently run a knife around the edges, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan. You may need to do a little shaky dance too… but God willing they will come out.
- Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost with buttercream or cream cheese icing (recipe – from Pinch My Salt… but altered – below). These tricky red crumbs require special treatment – follow the dang directions.
*To substitute all purpose flour for cake flour use 2 c. flour minus 4 Tbs. plus 4 Tbs. cornstarch. Get it?
** I stressed over this point for days. Days. I had just seen so many pictures of hideous pink cakes, brown cakes and generally crumby disasters. I’m not trying to be dramatic but I.WOULD.DIE if my RVC was pooey pink.
And did you SEE how gloriously beeeaUUUtiful Pinch My Salt’s cake was? That shade melts my innards.
So, in the end I totally caved and spent $6 @ Walmart for 2 freakin’ bottles of the stuff…
I’m such a foodwimp and I’d LOVE to hear of someone stickin’ it to the man and trying gel or paste… or less liquid and makin’ a kickin’ RVC anyway.
***If you have somewhere closer to no-time to make your RVC you can always bring your fridgerated butter/eggs/buttermilk to room temp. with a handy-dandy space heater in your bathroom. Of course you’re running the risk of butter puddles (ala Little Black Sambo –yipes!) on your fake wood floors.
****Eggs and buttermilk also come to room temp. nicely via bathroom space heaters, minus puddling.
Cream Cheese Frosting
The easiest way to corral up all of those unruly red crumbs is to do a pre-coat layer of frosting, stick it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so and then attack with the rest of that white heaven-in-a-bowl.
And please, I beg of you, put about a cup of frosting between each layer. If you’re skimpy because you’re fearful of running out it will look like one giant cake – undermining all of your hard work. See photo for what NOT to do.
16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened*
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted after measured
pinch of salt
- With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract.
- Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy.
Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).
*Another great time to use a space heater warming method. But, as always, beware of puddles.
**Namely NOT maraschino cherries because you forgot about the crucialness of a garnish until game time
Recipe Notes: If you like your frosting stiffer, sweeter/less tangy throw in extra sugar (up to 4 cups). And by throw I don’t mean dump all over your sink as you pull it out of the cupboard… or do I?
Congrats!! You’ve just made the cake of your dreams. Good luck sharing. And for when that inevitable day comes and its all gone and your heart feels empty, may I recommend: Philosophy’s Red Velvet Cake and Sweet Creamy Frosting Bubblebath, Shampoo and Bodywash. Life-altering stuff. And the recipe’s eerily close too….mmmmm.