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BackstoryRed velvet cake is a type of sweet chocolate cake, which has a distinctive dark red or red-brown color and a little lower on chocolate intensity than German’s Chocolate. Now my grandmother would use a lot of red food dye (2 Oz) and call it Fire Engine Red Cake (For us kids) as well as Red Velvet (For Adults), but honestly, after reading how red #3 causes thyroid cancer, when I make this now, I go for the more subtle red-brown color. Granted the bright red color of the cake and the contrasting white frosting make for quite a showstopper. But lets face it, ALL red food dye has a distinctive flavor, whether it’s labeled as “tasteless/flavorless” or not. I would rather forgo a little color than have a cake that tastes like a “Bleeding armadillo”. You can add more color if you like, 1 oz makes a nice bright red color, and 1.5 oz makes it downright scarlet red. Or you can leave it out all together and trust to the acidic vinegar and buttermilk to change the cocoa powder a nice maroonish-brown color. Just make sure to use natural cocoa powder not the dutch processed stuff which is to alkaline. I also love the traditional Ermine Frosting, otherwise known as Butter Roux or boiled milk frosting, but cream cheese frosting (normally used on Carrot Cake) is nice sometimes as well.
- 2 1/4 cups Cake Flour
- 1 1/2 Cup sugar
- 1 Cup Buttermilk
- 1/2 Cup butter
- 1 TB Natural Cocoa Powder (Not Dutch)
- 1 tsp Vanilla (Bourbon)
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp Salt
- optional – 1/2 oz red food coloring (try to find one made with red #40 allura ONLY)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Line the bottoms of 2 9-inch cake pans with parchment rounds.
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Whisk together the Flour and Salt.
- Combine the Cocoa, Vanilla and Red food color (If you are forgoing the food color, whisk the cocoa into the flour and salt mixture and add the vanilla to the buttermilk).
- Add eggs to the creamed butter mixture and beat a little longer, until well combined.
- Add the cocoa mixture and mix 30 seconds, just until color becomes uniform.
- Add Buttermilk and flour mixture, alternating, beginning and ending with the buttermilk.
- Measure 1 tsp Baking Soda into a small dish, add the Cider Vinegar and let it foam a little.
- Add to the cake batter and incorporate with a few quick strokes.
- Working quickly, so you don’t loose the leavening power of the soda, divide the batter between 2 cake pans.
- Bake cake for 35–40 minutes or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes, turn cakes out onto a cooling rack.
- Once cooled to room temp, place in the refrigerator for 1 hour, this will make frosting easier.
- Frost with your choice of Traditional Butter Roux (Ermine) frosting, Cream Cheese frosting or any of the actual Butter Creams be it Italian, Swiss, French or American.
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