Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Red Velvet Cake 

2 ¼ cups sifted cake flour (sifted first, then measured—not self rising)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup buttermilk, well shaken

1 tablespoon red food coloring

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened preferably by leaving on counter overnight

2 large eggs

Frosting

2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened preferably by leaving on counter overnight

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened preferably by leaving on counter overnight

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 ½ cups powdered sugar

½ cup melted and cooled white chocolate

Garnish

2 cups pecans, toasted and ground (see note below)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preparation:

For Cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter (or spray with non stick cooking spray) two nine-inch cake pans.  Cut parchment paper to fit into bottoms of both. Position parchment on bottoms of pans.  Either butter the parchment or spray with non stick cooking spray.  Dust each pan with one tablespoon of cocoa powder and set aside.

Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cayenne and salt into a bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.

In stand mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternatively with the wet ingredients in 3 additions.  End with the dry ingredients. 

Divide batter between pans.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. Turn cakes onto greased wire racks.  Remove parchment. Cool completely.

For Frosting:

Beat butter and cream cheese well using electric mixer.  Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Stir in melted white chocolate.

Place one cake layer on serving platter, flat side up.  Spread one cut of frosting on cake and top with second layer.  Frost top and sides of cake.  Refrigerate. 

For Garnish:

Toast pecans in a 350 degree oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes.  Let cool and crush in the bowl of a food processor until finely chopped. Toss with nutmeg.  Garnish top and sides of cake with nuts. 

Tips:

Softening butter and cream cheese: Preferably, this should be done overnight on your counter.  If you simply do not have the time, I would suggest softening in the microwave on the lowest power setting 30 seconds at a time until a soft consistency is achieved. The butter and cheese MUST be softened for the frosting because of the propensity of the butter and cheese to form unattractive, little lumps. 

Toasting pecans: Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place the pecans on a sheet pan and place in the oven and do not walk away for 10 minutes.  The pecans have the propensity to burn in an unattended oven.  As soon as you begin to smell them, they are done. 

White chocolate:  By adding the melted and cooled white chocolate to the frosting, you pump up the butterfat content (cocoa butter) without actually adding butter.  In addition to the subtle flavor of the white chocolate, the frosting will firm up in the refrigerator.  Melt the white chocolate on low power in the microwave.  Cool until warm to the touch.

Cake flour: Do not purchase a self rising cake flour.  The cake flour that is referenced is in a box and is labeled cake flour (Swan’s, for instance is a brand name).

Philly Burbs 2

FelixMy first piece for www.phillyburbs.com is officially out! Fall Soups 101 chronicles a recent visit by Randall’s family to our home in Erwinna and how a sojourn for burgers and corn turned into my corn chowder.  I’ll be posting monthly, with a short description of the inspiration for the recipe, a photo, the recipe and of course some tips!  Read Fall Soups 101 at http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/105-10152007-1423981.html