Trying to decide on a dessert for Christmas Eve had me all stressed out. To go with our delicious Southern fare, I wanted to make a coconut cake. My mom and I are the only ones who like coconut. Okay. How about a white chocolate cake with cranberry raspberry filling and white chocolate buttercream? Nope. One of my sisters can’t have cranberries. Pumpkin roll? Guess again. My stepdad and brother don’t like pumpkin. You see the predicament I was in?
Just two days before Christmas Eve, I turned to my “What’s Cooking” girls for help. I should’ve just gone there to begin with. In just five minutes, one of the girls recommended a red velvet cake. Duh! It’s one of my favorite desserts! I was so focused on what other people don’t like, I forgot to think about what I like! Of course, my brother doesn’t like nuts, so I had to leave them off, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from a creating of my favorites for my family.
This recipe was delicious. The cake was moist and flavorful and the frosting had just the perfect amount of sweetness. Though some say traditional red velvet should use seven-minute frosting, I much prefer the tangy flavor and creamy consistency of a good cream cheese frosting. I ended up with extra frosting because I only made a two-layer cake instead of three, but I will absolutely use this recipe again and again. It is, hands down, my go-to recipe for red velvet cake.
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from www.saveur.com; originally from Cake Man Raven
Ingredients:For the cake:2 1/2 c. cake flour1 1/2 c. sugar1 tsp. baking soda1 TBSP cocoa powder1 tsp. salt2 eggs1 1/2 c. vegetable oil1 c. buttermilk2 TBSP (1 oz.) red food coloring1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
For the frosting:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)
1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.
3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
4. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8″ round cake pans. (I only made a two layer cake, so some of my batter went unused.)
5. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25–30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely.
6. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5–7 minutes.
7. Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, level off with a serrated knife, and spread one-quarter of the frosting on top. Set another layer on top, level, and repeat frosting. Set remaining layer on top, level, and frost top and sides with the remaining frosting. Press pecans into the sides of the cake, if desired. **Tip: after leveling cake, turn it upside down to reduce numbers of crumbs. I also did a crumb coat on the outside, let it set for ten minutes, then finished with remaining frosting.
8. Chill for 2 hours to set frosting.
Merry Christmas, y’all!