Bake a red velvet cake whenever you want to serve a dessert that’s as beautiful as it is delicious.
Step 1: Preheat oven Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the cake pans.
Step 2: Combine flour Combine the sifted flour and salt in a bowl.
Step 3: Color the cocoa Pour the cocoa powder into a small bowl, add the red food coloring, and whisk until smooth.
TIP: You can use the juice from one 15-oz. can of beets in place of the food coloring.
Step 4: Cream the butter and sugar In a large bowl, beat one stick of butter and sugar by hand or with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Step 5: Add the flour Switch your mixer speed to low and add the flour a few tablespoons at a time. Alternate mixing flour with adding the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and dyed cocoa paste. Mix the ingredients until all the batter is the same red color, but do not overbeat.
Step 6: Mix in the vinegar In a small bowl, stir the baking soda into the vinegar, and then fold it into the batter with a wooden spoon.
Step 7: Bake the cake Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes; then invert the layers onto a rack to cool completely.
Step 8: Make the frosting Make the frosting by beating the cream cheese with one stick of butter until creamy. Beat in 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Step 9: Apply a crumb coating When the cake has cooled, place the first layer on your cake plate or stand, spread frosting on top with a spatula, add the next layer, frost the top of that, and so on. Once you’ve added the final cake layer, spread a thin coating of frosting over the entire cake to contain crumbs, and then refrigerate it for 15 minutes.
Step 10: Finish frosting Finish frosting the cake by spreading the frosting on top and on the sides. Decorate the top with pecan halves if you like.
FACT: Tradition has it that a chef at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel invented red velvet cake in the 1950s. But it is also rumored to be a southern, Civil War-era invention.