Red Velvet Cake (All Natural!)

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"My version of red velvet cake is built on these old-fashioned, tried and true steps. I have consciously chosen NOT to include food coloring."

Serves 4 | Prep Time 2 | Cook Time 2

Why I Love This Recipe

My version of red velvet cake is built on these old-fashioned, tried and true steps. I have consciously chosen NOT to include food coloring. Bottled red food coloring may be deemed safe for human consumption, but the fact that it is either synthetic (made from petroleum distillates or coal tar sludge (!) or made from crushed female cochineal bugs (labeled as carmine, cochineal extract or natural red 4) made the idea of introducing any of this to a cake really unappealing. I did use natural, un-Dutched cocoa powder which you can find at The Spice House in Chicago, acidic than Dutch-processed, and enough acid is enough acid. For the frosting, I am featuring a recipe for a very simple “boiled icing” which lends a satin-sheeny bright white finish to the cake. You will need to make two batches of this frosting to completely fill and frost the more or natural food stores. And, to enhance the red just a bit, I include a small quantity of deep-red, greatly reduced beet juice in my recipe. Also, this recipe does not include vinegar because un-Dutched cocoa

Ingredients You'll Need

2 sticks butter at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup pure cane white sugar
3 large beet
4 cups water
½ cup natural cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 ⅓ cups cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour

3 ¾ tbsp Wondra flour
¾ cup cream
¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
¾ cup granulated pure-cane sugar
pinch of salt
3 tsp vanilla extract


Place oven rack to center position. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two, 9-inch baking pans by greasing them and lining them with parchment paper circles. Grease the tops of the parchment circles as well. (Note: If you like, you can make the paper liners by tracing and cutting circles from brown paper bags.)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugars and eggs for 3 to 5 minutes until fluffy and creamy. Add the softened butter. Continue beating until smooth and fluffy.

In a generously-sized bowl (use one that is at least a four-cup size) , combine 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the reduced beet liquid to the cocoa powder. Mix to a smooth paste. Stir in the buttermilk. Add the baking soda and salt—this will foam and bubble up, increasing the volume by about half. Pour this mixture into the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Beat until smooth. Add the flours, mixing at medium low speed until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure there are no streaks. Pour the batter into the two prepared pans. Place pans in the oven and bak.frosting at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes until cake springs back when touched at the center. Remove cakes from oven; let rest in pans for five minutes. Turn out onto racks. Cool cakes completely while you prepare

To make frosting: (NOTE: you will need to make two portions of this frosting recipe to completely fill and frost one cake) Combine the 3 and ¾ tablespoons of the Wondra flour with ¾ cup cream. Whisk over medium lo heat until the mixture thickens. Continue whisking over heat until the mixture balls up into a mass around the whisk; remove from heat. The mass will have the texture of soft playdough or mashed potatoes. Place this in a bowl to cool in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the butter and sugar on high speed for 10 minutes until the sugar crystals have vanished into the butter and the mixture is very light and soft. Add the vanilla and salt. Whisk another minute. Add the cooled dough; continue to whip another five minutes until you have a smooth, billowy frosting. Repeat this procedure to make another portion of the frosting.

To assemble: Cut the dome from one of the cake layers and save to eat as a snack. Place the now-level layer on a serving plate. Cover with portion of frosting. Remove second cake layer from pan and cut horizontally into two layers. Place one layer over the already frosted layer; add the remaining top layer (domed) and cover all with the remaining frosting. Slice and enjoy!

Questions, Comments & Reviews

Looks delicious

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