February 13, 2011

My First Layer Cake

I'm paying tribute to my Southern roots with another Southern classic, red velvet cake.  I've been a huge fan of red velvet cake for many years although I did go on hiatus from eating it for a few years.  It was just too much of a good thing.  I fell in love with red velvet cake again at the Two Little Red Hens Bakery in New York City.  Their red velvet cupcake was delicious!!  If you are ever in NYC, check out this bakery.  After eating their cupcakes, I made some of my own last year for Valentine's Day.  They were a huge hit at work.  This year I purchased Cook's Illustrated special issue Holiday Baking.  On the cover was a beautiful red velvet cake.  I decided I had to make it.  I had not made a layer cake before.  I've made bundt and sheet cakes, but the frosting part of a layer cake made me a bit nervous.  I faced my fears and made a layer cake, and I think it turned out well.

The making and baking part of the cake layers wasn't difficult.  The layers stuck just a little bit in the cake pans, but it was easily covered with the cream cheese frosting!  :)  The frosting was easy to make as well, except for the confectioners' sugar mishap.  The directions said to put the sugar and butter in the mixing bowl and beat at medium-high speed.  I did that, only to have a cloud of confectioners' sugar go everywhere.  Oops!  I quickly turned it off and draped a towel over the stand mixer to catch any other clouds. 

Then it was time to frost the cake.  It actually wasn't as difficult as I had originally thought, although it was a bit time consuming.  The cake turned out beautifully.  I'm so proud of it!  :)  (I texted photos to many friends with my new accomplishment.)  The cake is so yummy, especially the cream cheese frosting!!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Red Velvet Cake

Cake -

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch table salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
2 tablespoons (one 1-ounce bottle) red food coloring
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

Frosting -

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups (16 ounces) confectioners' sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch table salt

For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.  Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and eggs in large measuring cup.  Mix cocoa with food coloring in small bowl until smooth paste forms.

With stand mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary.  Add one-third of flour mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Add half of buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down bowl as necessary and repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and finally remaining flour mixture.  Scrape down bowl, add cocoa mixture, and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Using rubber spatula, give batter final stir.  Scrape into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

For the frosting: With stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Beat in vanilla and salt.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

When cakes are cools, spread about 2 cups frosting on 1 cake layer.  Top with second cake layer and spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.

Serves 12

Hat Tip - Cooks Illustrated - Holiday Baking 2010 Special Issue

1 comment:

  1. I was recently watching an episode of Cupcake Wars and someone did a Red Velvet in tribute to their Southern roots. I love that it rings true to all Southerners ;)