March 15, 2012

Red Velvet Cake

Some of us do not need any reason to celebrate … It comes way too naturally ;) This time, however, it was a very special one as we were spending Ronny’s (Hetal’s better half)  milestone birthday in Amherst! A celebration together in our favorite town after a long time… It also happened to be another close friend’s birthday. Needless to say, we pounced upon the opportunity to bake a cake. Hetal’s cousin had baked a red velvet cake for her daughter’s first birthday and of course it was exactly what we were looking for - ‘Tried, tested and tasted to be the best of its kind'!  We followed the recipe almost entirely, except that we added more cocoa powder. It made the red colour darker, almost a shade of maroon. 

Vegetable oil for the pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (We added 4-5 tsps.)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Crushed pecans, for garnish              

Cake batter poured into greased pans

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.  We used a disposable pan set. Its easier to assemble the when all three pans are of the exact same size.          
  • In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder). In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
  • Gradually blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. We used a cup measure to help measure evenly.
  • Place the pans in the preheated oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. The time we took was exactly 30 minutes, though it may vary with ovens.
Baked cake layers
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.

  • Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting.

Assembling the cake
  • Sprinkle the top and/or sides with the pecans. We didn't dry roast the pecans, but would like to do so in the future.
  • Completely frosted cake

Pecans on the frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (We used lesser sugar - about 2 cups)
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Mix the cream cheese,sugar and butter with a mixer on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
  • Yield: Enough to frost a 3 layer (9-inch) cake.
  • Refrigerate frosted cake for 2 hours.
Bon apetit!
Hetal & Ajanta - both from Amherst :)

Red Velvet Cake
Layers of red velvety goodness :)

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