I have baked red velvet cake before, but this was my first time with a new recipe (from Better Homes and Gardens). I couldn’t find my food coloring, so this was more like brown velvet cake. Woops. But instead of buying a boxed mix and spending time decorating a cartoon atop the cake, I decided to instead spend my time baking from scratch for my sister’s 20th birthday. It has been a while (much longer than I’d like to admit) since I have baked a cake from scratch. Even cupcakes for that matter.
Here is all you will need for the cake (frosting recipe is down below):
*1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
*2 oz or 1/4 cup red food coloring (or if you’re like me, none…)
*2 cups sifted flour (all-purpose)
*1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
*1 1/2 cups sugar
*1 tsp vanilla
*1 cup buttermilk
*1 tsp baking soda
*1 tsp vinegar
The first time I ever needed shortening I was at a loss in the grocery store. If you are like me, but instead would like to save ten minutes of your life at HEB, Crisco is the same thing as shortening.
Take your eggs out of the fridge to let stand for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 circular cake pans (we’re getting adventurous with this layered cake!) by spraying Pam (or rubbing a stick of butter/vegetable oil/crisco) on the bottom and sides of the pan then dusting lightly with flour. That is what a baster is for, but I didn’t have one until yesterday, so I improvised. Make sure you shake the pans over the sink to rid them of excess flour.
Sift the flour and salt into a smaller bowl and set aside. I got this bowl at the outlets while in Florida. Though it’s glass (read: scary), it is the perfect size and even has a spout (word choice?) at one end for pouring. If you are using red food coloring, stir the cocoa powder and food coloring together in a separate small bowl and also set aside.
Beat the shortening for about 30 seconds on high. Then add the sugar and vanilla and beat until it’s well combined; it should be light and fluffy. Then add eggs one at a time, mixing each until combined.
Beat in the cocoa mixture until combined. Then alternate the buttermilk and flour mixture, beating after each until combined. You are then ready to stir in the mixed baking soda and vinegar before spreading into the two cake pans.
Yummy! But don’t eat it yet…
Bake for 30-35 minutes. If you want to check on the “doneness”, stick a toothpick down the center and see if it comes out mostly clean. If not, place the pans in the oven a few more minutes and test again. After removing from the oven, let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes; then remove and let cool on a wire rack.
But wait! You don’t want to ruin your perfectly proportioned layers, so use a knife and gently go around the edges of the cake to loosen from the sides of the pan. You can then use a cutting board or something similar, place on top of the cake, and flip over to release the cake. Repeat to flip the cake back over onto the wire rack surface (or, you can always use your hands…steady…)
Now onto the “Creamy Frosting”.
I was supposed to wake up in the morning with plenty of time to make the icing, get ready, and finish cleaning my house for my family’s arrival. However, my brother called me in the wee hours of the morning (okay, it wasn’t wee, but I stayed up late that night for the first time in forever), telling me he could no longer make dinner and was going to take my sister and me to lunch instead. Well, I had to finish icing the cake before lunch and before my mom came in town, or else I would have no other time to do it. So now ensues a mad rush to make icing, shower, ice the cake, get dressed, sweep and mop the floors. Huge sigh.
You will need:
*1 cup milk
*3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
*1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
*1 cup sugar
*1 tsp vanilla
Whisk the milk and flour in a saucepan and cook and stir over medium heat. Do this until the mixture has thickened and is bubbling; remove from the heat and cook/stir 2 more minutes. Then cover the surface with plastic rap and let it cool to room temperature (don’t stir during this time). I might have rushed this step a little too…
Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until it is again, light and fluffy. If your milk mixture is cooled, I will then allow you to add the mixture (1/4 cup at a time) to the sugar mix. Beat after each addition until it’s smooth.
And when I say beat, I mean BEAT. Because I didn’t have time, I didn’t quite mix the icing well enough, and I could see small pieces of the flour and milk mixture here and there. Not. Attractive. So if in doubt, keep beating (this doesn’t apply to other scenarios in life…only baking). Once you are done mixing your arms off, you are ready to ice the cake!
But wait (again), there are LAYERS. I know I’m missing some photos in here, but I was in such a rush, the photo taking took a back seat. Take one layer (I chose the flatter one), and glob on about a half cup of icing on the top and spread. Then you may place your other layer on top. Ice the sides to seal the two layers together, going over the top edge of the cake about a 1/4 an inch. Then ice the top, connecting with the sides of icing. If you are a perfectionist, you might go over this over and over again. Whatever you want to make it look pretty. 🙂
Ta-da! I’m glad I have a red cake holder (even if the cake isn’t). I think the color complements the icing quite nicely. Remember: I was in a crunch for time, so perhaps it doesn’t look as perfect as it could.
P.S. The recipe told me to store the cake in the fridge, but that dries it out, so…not sure if you want to do that.
P.S.S. I still want to make banana bread. Those bananas might still be useable.