ORIGINAL RECIPE: an amalgamation of recipes, including “Red Velvet Cake with Raspberries and Blueberries,” from B. Smith on epicurious, “Southern Red Velvet Cake,” from Cakeman Raven on foodnetwork,com, “Clear Fruit Glaze for Cakes,” by Redneck Epicurean on food.com*
DIFFICULTY: On a scale of vanilla to Lane Cake, we’re talking on the easier end
TOOLS: Two round baking pans, parchment paper, and other basic kitchen items
COOK TYPE: Oven. Baking
HEALTH: We’re not making this to nourish our bodies, exactly. We’re making this to bless somebody.
I am always squeamish about using food coloring, but I will break it out for special celebrations, including birthdays. However, I did cut back on the coloring typically used in Red Velvet Cake, resulting in a red which is not “bleeding armadillo.” If you laugh in the face of food danger, you could double my usage.
And I did love the idea of throwing berries at our indulgence, but you do not need to include them. They are not traditional.
EXPERIENCE: I was supposed to bring a veggie to a shared dinner, but to be honest, we were running out. So when the person on dessert shared that she was thinking one of us needed to buy or make a birthday cake for the birthday boy, I jumped at the chance. I have been working on my cake-making skills all year, and I figured I could do a good job while also continuing to gain experience.
I am not really a Red Velvet fan, but I am a cream cheese frosting fan. It turned out really nice, anyhow, and I received a lot of compliments, including from the birthday man. He did a double-take when I brought it out, since his wife had secretly told me it was his favorite. He was very happy with it.
NOTES: Like I said above, you can take or leave the fruit, as it is not traditional to Red Velvet Cake. You can also top with chopped pecans or slide in a little orange zest (in the frosting?) or cinnamon (in the cake?) somewhere. It will give it a little more dimension.
And no, Red Velvet is not a chocolate cake, as many people think. The average Red Velvet has 2 tablespoons cocoa powder in the entire cake. I can only imagine this is for just a touch of bitterness and a darkening of the cake color. Otherwise, it is basically a startlingly red, slightly bitter vanilla cake with a cream cheese frosting.
It’s best to frost and decorate this cake 1 hour before serving and then refrigerate it so that the frosting does not melt or slide.
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease 2 round cake pans and fit with pieces of parchment paper. Grease again and flour. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift in 2 1/4 cups all purpose or cake flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup buttermilk, 1-2 teaspoons red food coloring paste, 1 teaspoon cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar with 1/2 cup softened butter. Add 1 egg, beat, then add 1 egg. Beat. Now add in the wet and dry mixtures by alternating them, beating on low constantly.
- Divide batter evenly between the cake pans and smooth tops. Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool cakes for 10 minutes on a baking rack. Run a paring knife around the outside edge, turn cakes over onto rack, and remove pan and paper. Allow to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, clean out your stand mixer and paddle and wipe with a dry towel. Beat on low together 1 lb cream cheese, 1 cup (unsalted) softened butter, and 4 cups sifted powdered sugar. Increase speed to high and beat 5 minutes, scraping if needed. Beat 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon salt in on high. Set aside, covered, in a container, in the fridge.
- Clean out that stand mixer and paddle again. In it, combine equal parts extra virgin coconut oil and sifted powdered sugar to make as much decorator frosting as you will need. Add food coloring as desired. Move to piping bag(s).
- Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup fruit juice (to match your berries. It could be citrus, berry, or cranberry). Bring to a boil.
- In a small bowl, whisk together another 1/4 cup juice with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Whisk this into the boiling sugar and add 1 tablespoon light corn syrup. Once it boils again, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Clean 1 container raspberries and 1 container blueberries, dry, and place half of each in a medium mixing bowl. Carefully drizzle with enough glaze to coat and toss very gently. Set remaining berries and glaze aside.
- When everything is cool, and preferably 1 1/2 hours before your unveiling, place one cake on your serving platter or cake stand. Liberally and evenly coat the top with about 1 cup cream cheese frosting. Cover with the un-glazed berries and press them gently into the frosting a bit. Cover with the second cake. Frost the cake with cream cheese frosting. Decorate as desired and then arrange glazed berries. Brush berries with a little extra glaze before covering and refrigerating for 1 hour.
Serve with hot coffee.
*Recipe changed from the original.