Red Velvet Cake

I’m now of the belief that cooking and all of its iterations are a far more effective anti-depressant than any pharmaceuticals. Whilst cooking, your mind is occupied enough to not given extra attention to those ideas and events that may be bringing you down. After cooking there’s the end result of your endeavor. And if you make cake…well, it’s hard to be too depressed when eating cake.

This was my first attempt at a red velvet cake, being so inclined from reading Saveur’s article on Raven Patrick De’Sean Dennis III in this month’s issue (March 2006).

I was surprised that the red in red velvet cake comes from food coloring. Tara has told me that this is only partially true, as she has had cake made with wine or cherries that help give it the red hue. It doesn’t matter to me. The red cake helped take away the blues.

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 12 Tbsp Cake Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar

Icing Ingredients

  • 12 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 12 oz. butter softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp/ vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease three 8″ cake tins with butter or shortening. Dust each tin with 2 tablespoons of flour. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift the remaining flour, along with the sugar, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Mix together.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, buttermilk, red food coloring, vanilla and vinegar until fully emulsified.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and beat together well (the batter should have a smooth consistency). Divide the batter equally between the 3 flour-dusted pans. Place in the oven and bake between 25-30 minutes (rotating each pan 180 degrees halfway through baking). Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin. Allow cakes to cool for 20-30 minutes before icing.

For the icing, mix together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a bowl. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.

Put 1 cake layer on a plate and spread 1/4 of the icing on top. Place second layer on top and repeat the frosting task. Set the final layer on top and use the remaining icing to coat the top and the sides of the cake. Press the pecans onto the side of the cake.

Serves 8-10