Monday, September 6, 2010

Red Velvet Cake - Southern Cakes

Red Velvet Cake - made September 6, 2010 from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott

This recipe is very similar to my friend Diane's red velvet cake recipe and came out just as well. The texture is soft and fluffy and it has a nice flavor, especially considering there's only 2 tablespoons of cocoa for the chocolate component. Use a high-quality dark cocoa, not an insipid grocery story brand. I use Pernigotti's from Williams Sonoma.

A key to good red velvet cake is not overbaking it. Actually that's key for any cake. Part of the flavor is having that moist and tender crumb. Normally I like to pair red velvet cake with a cream cheese frosting but the frosting accompanying this recipe was also identical to Diane's so I thought I'd try it since I'd skipped it when I had made her recipe. I'm not a big frosting person though so I probably can't really rate this with any kind of expertise. It was good but I only had the barest minimum on there. I added the coconut to the frosting for texture but omitted the nuts.

I like this cake and probably will make it again when I'm in the mood for red velvet. Next time, I'm switching back to the cream cheese frosting though. Just as a matter of taste preference.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons cocoa
One 1-ounce bottle (2 tablespoons) red food coloring
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar

1. To make the cake, heat the oven to 350˚F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans generously, and line them with waxed paper or kitchen parchment. Grease the paper and flour the pans.
2. Prepared three separate mixtures for the batter: Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl and use a fork to mix them together well. Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk. Combine the cocoa and the red food coloring in a small bowl, mashing and stirring them together to make a thick, smooth paste.
3. In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer at low speed for 1 minute, until creamy and soft. Add the guar, and then beat well for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl now and then. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one, until the mixture is creamy, fluffy and smooth. Scrape the cocoa-food coloring paste into the batter and beat to mix it in evenly.
4. Add about a third of the flour mixture, and then about half the milk, beating the batter with a mixer at low speed, and mixing only enough to make the flour or liquid disappear into the batter. Mix in another third of the flour, the rest of the milk, and then the last of the flour in the same way.
5. In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar and stir well. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to quickly mix this last mixture into the red batter, folding it in gently by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
6. Bake at 350˚F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the layers spring back when touched lightly in the center and are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans.
7. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 15 minutes. Then turn them out on the racks or on plates, remove the paper, and turn top side up to cool completely.

Coconut- Pecan Icing

1 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

1. To make the icing, combine the milk and flour in a small or medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking or stirring often, until the mixture thickens almost to a paste, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and scrape it into a small bowl to cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, beat the butter with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar in thirds, beating well each time, until the mixture is creamy and fairly smooth. Add the cooled milk-and-flour mixture and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides now and then, to combine everything well. Using a large spoon or your spatula, stir in the vanilla, coconut, and pecans, mixing to combine everything well into a thick, fluffy, nubby icing.
3. To complete the cake, place one layer, top side down, on a cake stand or a serving plate, and spread icing on the top. Place the second layer, right side up, on top. Frost the sides and then the top of the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more to help the icing set.

Cast Party Wednesday 



  1. This cake looks sooooo good. Red velvet is my favorite!

  2. Thanks for linking up your recipe at Cast Party Wednesday. I hope you come back tomorrow and share some more of your awesome recipes!
    I hope to see you there!

  3. I have yet to make a red velvet cake. This looks like a great recipe.