Saturday, October 17, 2009

Recipe for Red Velvet Cake (no red #40 food coloring!)

My husband J's favorite cake is Red Velvet and for this past Father's Day, I decided to make one. I couldn't bring myself to put all that artificial dye in it, so I adapted a recipe that I found on the web and replaced the food coloring with a natural color called "Beet Red Color" by Bickford Flavors and made some other changes. This cake has been a hit!! I have made this cake 3 more times since Father's Day and each time, the cake basically got vaporized. I mean, I barely got a second slice (not that I even needed one slice). So, enough with the chatter, here is the recipe:

2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 ounces Beet Red Color
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In separate, small bowl, mix together beet red color and cocoa powder until fully blended and forming a thin paste; set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until blended and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the beet color cocoa paste.
4. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of the flour mixture, then the second half of the buttermilk. Add the last third of the flour mixture, until well blended, using a spatula to scrape down the sides.
5. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda, causing the mixture to fizz. This will make your cake light and fluffy because of the air bubbles!! Add the fizzing mixture to the cake batter and stir well to blend. QUICKLY, divide batter between the two pans (make sure your pans are ready). Place them in the preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for about 27 minutes, but check the pans early. Better to be undercooked than overcooked! Cake is done when toothpick or fork inserted in the center comes out clean.
**Note, my grandmother always made sure that no one stomped, ran, or screamed in her house when her cakes were baking, this would make them fall flat. I found it to be true!
6. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove them by putting a plate on top of each pan and invert, tapping the pan gently if necessary. Make sure cakes are cooled completely before icing.
Here is the cream cheese icing recipe:
16 ounces (2 packages) of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (one stick) softened unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
a pinch of salt

Blend the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Blend in salt and vanilla extract. Gradually add confectioners sugar until completely smooth and voila! You have the best cream cheese icing ever. Happy baking!

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