Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Red Velvet Sheet Cake

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - made March 8, 2015, adapted from Taste and Tell
Considering how much I love the simplicity of sheet cakes and the flavor of red velvet cake, it’s almost surprising that I haven’t made a red velvet sheet cake until now. But let me make that up to myself with this recipe from Taste and Tell.

As truth in advertising regarding sheet cakes, this is very easy to mix up. I used a red food gel from amazon instead of my usual Schilling red food color and got a beautiful dark red from the gel, even using less than 2 tablespoons as the recipe calls for. Huh. I may never go back to Schilling again.
Messy knife cut
The original recipe called for adding oreo cookie chunks into the cream cheese frosting but I decided to skip that add-on and keep it a pure cream cheese frosting. There are times when I like a texture contrast which I know the oreo cookie chunks would’ve provided. But this didn’t seem to be one of those times. For sheet cakes, I want nothing to interfere with my mainlining, er, eating the cake. I loved the smoothness of this cake with the smooth creaminess of the frosting so I’m glad I went with my baking instincts on this one.
Cleaner knife cut - wipe the blade clean before each cut
I did modify the recipe to increase the cocoa powder for more chocolate flavor. I was afraid using only 1 tablespoon of cocoa wouldn’t be enough chocolate punch and I’d just be left with a red-colored cake. So I increased the cocoa powder by 2 tablespoons and decreased the flour by 2 tablespoons to keep the amount of dry ingredients the same. Cocoa powder tends to be an “I’m gonna suck moisture out of anything you add me to” ingredient so I went a little more generous on the buttermilk to ensure I wouldn’t get a dry cake. You know how I sneer at dry cakes.
This is a good cake for a crowd if you need something simple and easy to make. The only painful thing with cutting a red velvet sheet cake topped with pale cream cheese frosting is the red crumbs can get everywhere and make knife cuts look sloppy. I’m somewhat on the uptight side (ha, my friends just fell out of their chairs laughing) and like things to look decently presentable so with every cut of the knife, I scraped the crumbs and frosting off the knife and wiped it down with a wet paper towel so I could make another clean cut. If you don’t, the red cake crumbs from the previous knife cut will just spread themselves with abandon as you cut the rest of the cake. Sloppy. It took way too many paper towels to keep wiping the knife to make clean cuts but the cut cake slices looked better so it was worth the little extra effort.
1 cup butter
1 generous cup buttermilk
1 7/8 cups flour
3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces butter
2½ cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray..
  2. In a saucepan, combine the butter and the buttermilk and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour and cocoa. Stir in the sugar. Add in the eggs, sour cream, red food coloring, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine.
  3. Pour the boiling butter/buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, a little at a time, stirring constantly. The batter will be very thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the cake for 25-28 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar a little at a time. Beat for 2-3 minutes. Frost the cake. Cut into slices to serve.

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