Red Velvet Cake and Apologies

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To my few but loyal readers — I’m so sorry that I haven’t posted in forever! I recently moved up to Brooklyn, and the process of becoming a hipster has kept me busy these past few weeks. I also just started an internship with Food52 this week, which I’m so excited about! I hope to learn lots there and step up my cooking game.

I made a decadent red velvet cake for Easter, which was forever ago, but the cake is great for any occasion. Red velvet cake always reminds me of spring, so I love making it for Easter brunch to welcome the warm weather. I found this recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen via Foodgawker — it’s really easy and great for a party. It does take a bit of time (basically an afternoon), but the process isn’t taxing. And the result is well worth the work!

Red Velvet Cake (from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen)

Ingredients (makes one large cake, serves at least 12):

For the cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp red food coloring (the liquid kind)
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • Parchment paper

For the frosting:

  • 16 oz cream cheese, cut up into pieces and softened
  • 16 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

Make the cakes first:

Preheat the over to 350 degrees F.

Grease 2 9-inch round pans with cooking spray or butter. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper (trace the pan on the parchment paper, cut it out, and place it in the bottom of the pan). Grease the parchment paper as well.

Whisk together flour, backing soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and eggs. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir cocoa powder with red food coloring until a paste forms, and set aside as well.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy (it’ll take a few minutes).

Here comes the math: add in 1/3 of flour mix and beat until just mixed together (about 30 seconds). Then add in 1/2 the buttermilk mix and beat until just mixed together. Repeat this process with another 1/3 of flour mix, then the rest of buttermilk mix, then the rest of flour mix.

IMG_7158Add the crazy red cocoa mixture and beat until just combined.

Stir the mix a few strokes with a wooden spoon to make sure that there aren’t any pockets of white mix still at the bottom.

IMG_7163Pour evenly into the two round pans and bake for about 20-25 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick stuck in the center of the cake comes out clean (no crumbs/mix).

Let the cakes cool for about 2 hours.

Now time for the frosting (If you want to make the icing while the cakes are still cooling, you can refrigerate the frosting until you’re ready to ice the cake):

Beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt until fluffy (should take about 2 minutes).

Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy.

Icing the cakes:

To pull the cakes out of the pan — I first run a knife around the edge of the pan to separate any of the cake from the edge (it should be pretty much separated already from the baking process, though). Then I hit the edge of the bottom of the pan against the counter, rotating it until the pan has been hit all the way around. You should see the cake start to loosen up and come out of the pan as you do this. Then turn the pan upside down on your hand (preferably over the sink) and the cake should come right out.

Put one cake upside down on a platter. Spread about 2 cups of frosting on top.

Add the second cake, face up, on top. Spread the rest of the frosting on the top and all around the sides of the cake.

At this point you can decorate the cake if you want — I made a little design on top with sprinkles!

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Refrigerate until serving.

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