"Maybe a slice of red velvet cake would help you focus."
~Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008)
In recent years, red velvet cake has had a resurgence. I've seen it in the form of cupcakes, whoopie pies, cake balls, brownies, cheesecake; even Ben and Jerry just came out with the ice cream version! This is not a bad thing, since I LOVE IT. But almost every magazine you pick up has a recipe for it, and I'm pretty sure you're yawning right now....yah, yah, yah, red velvet cake...tell us something we don't know.
Here's the thing. Nearly 50 years ago, my mother was making this for our family's birthday cakes. It has always been the family special cake. I crave the distinct flavor. There is cocoa in the recipe, but I wouldn't call it chocolate cake. It is, well...red velvet cake, and has a unique flavor all it's own! I made one for my oldest son's first birthday in 1989 and used green food coloring by mistake. In my defense, the bottle was white with red letters (come on!!!). Green velvet cake was just not the same.
Even in the 90's I brought one to a Valentine's day party and most people there had never even heard of it. My mother always made it with mock cream frosting, but I've changed it up a little, since I have inconsistent results with the mock cream recipe. Last week I made this cake for my mother's birthday and it went way too fast. The Mister said the cake and frosting were the best I'd ever done, so I wanted to preserve the recipe exactly as is, since I did tweak it a little.
Red Velvet Cake
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ounces red food coloring
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 (8 inch) round baking pans. In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar, oil and butter together. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Add the food coloring and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to the batter. Equally divide batter in the 3 greased and floured round pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until middle of cake springs back when pressed with your finger.
Cool on racks for 10 minutes. Turn one cake out onto serving platter. Turn other two cakes onto cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting.
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup), softened
½ cup Crisco
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 ½ pounds confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 – 5 tablespoons milk (just enough to bring it to spreading consistency)
Cream the butter, Crisco and cream cheese. Add half the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat well. Add the rest of the confectioner’s sugar, adding milk as needed to bring it to spreading consistency.