Now when I say simple to bake, I should be honest and confess to you the silly mistake I made when making this cake. While trying to do two things at once, catching up on a TV show and baking, I accidently added 16 ounces of granulated sugar instead of powder sugar into the frosting mix. DO NOT make this mistake unless you prefer crunchy frosting.
The original recipe calls for the cake to be baked in two 9 inch round cake pans. I decided to take a more contemporary approach to it. I baked the whole batter in an 8 inch by 8 inch square cake pan, crumble the cake into big chunks, and served it in a glass with frosting in between each layers. You can also turn this batter into cupcakes simply by baking it in a cupcake pan. No matter how you present it, you can’t go wrong. It’s one of my favorite desserts and I hope it will be yours as well.
Red Velvet Cake
From Cooks Illustrated Magazine
For the Cake:
11 ¼ ounces unbleached all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
Pinch table salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder (Do not use Dutch processed cocoa. It will not rise proper or give you the correct red coloring)
2 tablespoons or 1 ounce bottle red food coloring
12 tablespoons unsalted butter that has been softened
10 ½ ounces granulated sugar
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 tablespoons unsalted butter that has been softened
16 ounces confectioners’ sugar
16 ounces cream cheese that has been soften
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch table salt
Make sure your oven racks are in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix the ingredients until they are well incorporated.
In a large measuring cup, add the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk the ingredients until combined.
In a small bowl, add the cocoa powder and food coloring. Mix until it forms a smooth paste.
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add the softened butter and sugar. Mix on medium high speed until the ingredients are fluffy and smooth. Scrape down the bowl as necessary to insecure the mixtures are well combined. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add one third of the flour, baking soda, and salt mixture. Mix on medium high until incorporated.
Add half of the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and egg mixture. Mix on low speed until combined.
Scrape the bowl down, whisk more on low, and make sure everything is combined.
Repeat with the other half of the flour, baking soda, and salt mixture. Mix on medium high. Add the remaining buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and egg mixture. Mix on low. Add the rest of the flour, baking soda, and salt mixture. Mix well on medium high. Make sure you are scraping down your mixing bowl as you mix.
Finally add the cocoa and food coloring paste. Mix on medium high.
When everything is mixed, remove the mixing bowl from the mixer. With a rubber spatula, give the batter a final stir to check that everything is well incorporated.
Before you pour the batter into your baking pans, make sure your pans are well greased with butter and are lightly floured. This recipe was made to be baked in two 9 inch cake pans, but you can also bake it in a large sheet pan or cupcake pans.
Pour the batter into your pans. It should take between 25 to 30 minutes to bake. If you are using a large sheet pan or cupcake pan, check the cake at 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the cake and if it comes out clean it’s ready.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn them out into a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes before frosting.
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add the softened butter and sugar. Mix on medium high speed until the ingredients are fluffy and smooth. This should take 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the cream cheese in small pieces to the mixture as it mixes. Make sure to scrape down the bowl and mix until all the cream cheese are added and well incorporated.
Add the vanilla extract and salt. Mix well.
Set the frosting aside and store in the refrigerator until ready to be used.
To frost the cake, if you baked it in two cake pans, add the frosting on top of one layer, place the second cake on top, and layer it with more frosting on top and on the side of the cake. If you baked it in cupcake pans, just pipe or spread the frosting on top. To serve it in a cup as pictured in this post, just break the cake up in large bite size pieces, place a layer of cake in the cup, top it with frosting, add another layer, add more frosting, top it off with more cake, and add more frosting.