Food & Drink

Red velvet cake sets the mood for Valentine's Day

Red velvet cake is frosted with whipped cream frosting.
Red velvet cake is frosted with whipped cream frosting.
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What is this culinary confection known as red velvet cake anyway?

It is a yummy creation that can be a great vehicle for multiple ingredients such as fruits and berries, chocolate of any kind, cream cheese, whipped cream and even nuts. Red velvet cake actually is a beautiful crimson chocolate-flavored cake. It is a decadent cake that will wow any audience. As always, this recipe is very easy and versatile, so don’t limit yourself.

In the South. I’ve found their preference for topping this cake is cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans. My favorite way of topping this cake is with big red strawberries covered in dark, white and or milk chocolate and homemade whipped topping.

I used to make this cake from the box because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to make it taste good from scratch.

One day I had a request from a repeat customer for my red velvet cake, and I decided to take a chance on using a recipe that I found during my research that was very old and traditional.

Of course, the recipe (with a few of my own tweaks) was a surefire hit. I was asked nonstop from 2013 to 2016 to make red velvet cakes, cupcakes, mini cupcakes, cheesecakes and even red velvet cookies, so much so that I started to see red velvet everywhere!

Red velvet cake has become so popular over the years that companies have made box cakes using different colors, such as blue velvet cake and pink velvet cake. I’ve tried making both from scratch using the same recipe, just different colors, and it went well.

But if you’re not good at baking, the box method is a less stressful way to go. You can doctor the box method by replacing the oil with real butter and using milk instead of water.

I prefer the made-from- scratch method because you can tweak it to your specifications.

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Making this classic dessert your own can be done whether you like the box method or making it from scratch. You even can add strawberry juice to the batter, Champagne or even dried strawberries, mini chocolate chips or chopped pecans. The possibilities are endless.

The red velvet cake is so rich and beautiful that you’ll want to admire your creation rather than eat it — if you can get past the tantalizing chocolate aroma, that is.

Red velvet cake always was a special-occasion cake for my family. Requested mostly for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas from my customers, red velvet cake always will be on my menu and in my recipe arsenal.

If you like chocolate and tired of the normal brown shades of chocolate cake go ahead and try red velvet cake. You don’t have to wait for a special occasion — although Valentine’s Day is just days away. You can make this cake any day of the week and get rave reviews. Don’t be afraid to experiment and create your own version. It might become a new family recipe that will last for generations to come.

Now, as always, let’s roll up those sleeves, wash those hands and get baking.

Red Velvet Cake

Yield: Makes two 9-inch cakes for a 2-layer cake

1/2 cup butter at room temperature (plus 2 tablespoons to coat pans)

3 tablespoons cocoa powder, divided

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons (Wilton’s) Red Velvet food coloring

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 cups flour, sifted

1 cup whole buttermilk

1 tablespoon vinegar

Frosting

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 9-inch cake pans by buttering then sprinkling 1 tablespoon of flour in them and tapping pans until evenly coated.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time and then mix in vanilla.

In separate bowl, make paste with cocoa and food coloring. Blend into butter mixture.

Sift together remaining dry ingredients. Alternating in 2 batches each, add dry ingredients and buttermilk, mix in the vinegar before adding to the batter. Mix until blended.

Divide batter among 2 pans (possibly 3) and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a rack or plate completely and then frost.

For frosting: Chill glass or aluminum bowl. Remove bowl from freezer after about 5 minutes and add heavy whipping cream, sugar, vanilla and whip together until stiff peaks form.

Source: Michelle Madden

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