We are another week closer to Valentine’s Day. In keeping with the Valentine’s week theme, let me ask you: What do you give your Valentine on this special day? Flowers? Chocolate? A card? I bake a cake. A Red Velvet Cake to be exact. Red Velvet Cake is Sweet Shark’s favorite cake and I try to make him one every year for Valentine’s Day. He’s not surprised any more, but he loves my little “act of kindness”. Over the years, I’ve used different recipes, even combining recipes because most Red Velvet Cake recipes are very similar. I’ve come up with this one and we think it’s awesome. Rich and moist, full of chocolate flavor and with a bit of tang. All red velvet cakes have dark cocoa in the batter as well as some acid added, either vinegar or buttermilk or both. And, of course, red food coloring. Otherwise, the procedure follows a standard cake baking technique; that’s why Red Velvet Cake is a great cake for novice bakers as well as experts. Usually, the frosting is a cream cheese one. Ready to bake? I’m going to show you how to make the best red velvet cake.
Cake Making Procedure
Making this cake is special because I use my mom’s heart-shaped cake pan. I use a pencil to trace a heart on parchment paper.
TIP: Whatever size or shape pan you use, cut inside your pencil line to fit the pan. Then cut 2-inch strips to go around the pan.
Grease the bottom and sides of your pan. Lay your parchment paper inside and then spray with cooking spray on top of the parchment paper. This makes removing the cake easy.
TIP: I save butter wrappers. Fold them in fourths, place in a ziplock and keep in the freezer. When you need to grease a cake pan, let the wrappers come to room temperature and use to grease the bottom and sides of your pan.
My mise en place for the cake. The only thing missing is the buttermilk which is still the fridge.
TIP: I keep my baking soda and baking powder in air-tight containers ~ so much easier to measure out than out of the boxes and you can see how much you have.
Sift your flour before measuring using a fine mesh sieve or your favorite sifter.
After adding the cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, you will need to sift all the dry ingredients together with the flour.
Standard cake making technique: cream your softened butter and sugar until smooth and blended.
Next step is to add your eggs – in this case two – one at a time. This is when the batter gets a creamy consistency.
Whisk the wet ingredients – the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring to combine. I like to use a measuring cup which makes it easy to add to the mixing bowl. You can also set your measuring cup on a paper towel or wax paper so that the red food coloring doesn’t get on your counter.
Add the dry and wet ingredients: dry, wet, dry, wet, dry.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. The original recipe calls for two 9″ round pans baking for 27 minutes. Since I put all the batter in one pan, I increased the baking time to 40 minutes. Check the cake for doneness by sticking a toothpick or wooden skewer in the center. It should come out with just a few crumbs on it.
After the cake cools in the pan, carefully remove it from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake in half horizontally. Brush away any crumbs with a pastry brush.
Icing the Cake
On your cake stand or platter, place three strips of parchment paper. This will make the cake much easier to ice and keep your cake stand cleaner.
A large cake mover makes moving the cake layers to the cake plate really easy. Place one cake layer on your cake stand, cut side down.
Make your icing and add 1/2 to the first cake layer. Smooth the icing to almost the edge of the cake with a cake spreader. The weight of the second layer will spread the icing to the edge. Place the second layer on top. Add the remaining icing to the top of the second layer. Spread the icing smoothly across the top and down the sides.
After icing the cake, I added red sprinkles to give the cake a little sparkle. Sweet Shark couldn’t wait to have a slice.
This cake is so moist and will last for a few days, covered at room temperature. If you need to keep it longer, place it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Refrigeration can dry out baked goods.
You can use this same recipe to make about 3 dozen cupcakes or 1 sheet cake (18 x 12-inch pan).
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2¼ cups sifted cake flour (sifted then measured)
- 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferable)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon red food color (as much as you need)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter and flour two 9-inch diameter cake pans with 1½-inch high sides.
- Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.
- Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla in 2-cup measuring cup to blend.
- Using electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
- Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with liquid ingredients in 3 additions.
- Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes.
- Cool pans on racks for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.
- 2¼ cups (20 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
- ¾ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1½ pounds confectioner's sugar, sifted
- In the bowl of an electric mixter fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts until completely blended.
- Add the confectioner's sugar and beat on low speed until smooth.
- Store any unused icing covered in the refrigerator.
If you make a cake or cupcakes or any favorite Valentine’s dessert, send me a picture with your name and the name of the dessert at email@example.com. I’ll include it in Saturday’s newsletter.