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Red Velvet Cake

May 19, 2012

Ok, Mrs. Smith Cooks readers… I have a surprise for you. This week I’m posting two, that’s right TWO cake recipes for you. There’s one thing pregnant ladies everywhere want, and that’s cake, so I’ve made a couple in the last week or so. Oh, I’m sneaky, though, I didn’t just make a cake for me because I wanted cake, no sirree, I made these two cakes under the auspices of making them for someone else. The first, this Red Velvet cake, for my mom on mother’s day and the second? Well, you’ll have to wait until later this week.

On to the Red Velvet cake. My mom loves Red Velvet cake. In fact, she once told me she had a dream about Red Velvet Cake. Enough said. I knew this was the cake I would make.

I have to say, making a cake for a special occasion for someone as special to you as my mom is to me, is probably best done with a “trial run” ahead of time. I was super worried it would be disastrous in some way, falling apart, not red enough, not delicious enough, etc. I didn’t have time for a trial run, so I had to just do my research and hope for the best.
I’m happy to say, the cake was a complete success. So much so that it kept getting more and more eaten (and enthusiastically given away to neighbors) before I took a picture of it! By the time I got around to photographing it, there was one lonely piece left and I was so eager to snarf it up, I halfheartedly snapped a few pictures because I knew I wanted it to make its way to the blog.
Though I researched a ton of Red Velvet Cake recipes, I ultimately chose the Smitten Kitchen recipe for several reasons: 1. It has more cocoa than other recipes, and I was hoping for a stronger chocolate flavor. 2. The author of the Smitten Kitchen blog typically tests her recipes thoroughly and 3. There’s such a large readership on that blog that there are many, many comments from people who have tried it before, thus a nervous cake baker like me can do some research and learn from the mistakes of others.
I adapted this recipe only very slightly. First, instead of the full two cups (!) of oil, I scaled it back just a tad to 1 3/4 cups. The cake was very moist, but I don’t think it would have been a problem to use the full two cups. I also made 1 and 1/2 recipes of the frosting. It seems like a lot, but I did a crumb coat and you have to remember that there is a decent amount of frosting between the layers. Also, according to red velvet cake aficionados like my mom, the frosting is the best part.
The cake received rave reviews… chocolaty, with the tangy frosting, moist and delicious! I used the gel food coloring and it certainly wasn’t as red as other red velvet cakes. I would double or triple the amount of coloring to get a truly red cake if I were you, and if I make this again I will do that. Enjoy!.
Red Velvet Cake, Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 T. unsalted butter, melted
3 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 t. salt
1 3/4 cups canola oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
6 T (3 ounces) red food coloring or 1 t. red gel food coloring dissolved in 6 tablespoons of water
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 t. baking soda
2 1/2 t. white vinegar.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the inside bottom and sides of three 9 inch cake pans with the melted butter, and then line bottoms with a circle of parchment paper.

2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt together in a bowl.

3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric or stand mixer and beat at medium speed until well combined. Add eggs one by one. Turn the mixer off and add vanilla and food color. Turn on low to combine to avoid splashing. Turn mixture up to medium Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. After the last addition, scrape down the bowl and beat just long enough to combine.

4. Combine vinegar and baking soda in a small dish and mix until baking soda is dissolved. Add this mixture to the batter with machine running and beat until well combined.

5. Divide batter among the three pans, place in oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the batter comes out clean. If all three pans do not fit on one level of your oven, rotate after 20 minutes of baking. Let cool in pans 20 minutes before inverting and removing parchment paper. Cool completely before frosting. Store the frosted cake in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe, Makes 9 cups. Enough for a crumb coat, Frosting, and generous (but not obscene) amount between the layers.

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter room temperature
4 and 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. With a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and sugar in several batches. Beat, on low speed to combine. If too soft, chill until slightly stiff, about 10 minutes, before using.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 19, 2012 5:02 pm

    It was sooooooooooooooo good! Thanks again !

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