The Cake So Nice...
I Made it Thrice
As a cook and a baker, one of my greatest joys is to find a realllllly good-looking recipe and then to make it and find that the resulting creation is even better than you imagined it could be!
That's what I experienced recently when I made my first-ever homemade red velvet cake.
I had only made red velvet cake before with a cake mix because, honestly, someone had requested it and I wasn't a huge fan of the flavor. When I saw a homemade recipe featured on a Bobby Flay show on the Food Network, though, I decided that it was time to try a "real" recipe and see how it turned out (because, after all, how could so many people rave about the cake and me not like it like I should?). I went online, found the recipe (from a Brooklyn baker/caterer named Cakeman Raven), and tried it. Believe me, it was absolutely delicious...and everyone who tried it said the same thing.
I made my first cake last Saturday for our party here for the first Alabama football game. Our friend, Raymond, decorated it in Bama regalia and it was gorgeous; it went SO fast that I got just one, smallish piece. Gary didn't even get a piece (he only got to scoop up a tiny piece of cake with mostly frosting, off of the cake plate) and he requested another cake soon. Good for us that Gary's sister had never gotten together with me for my birthday and still had a gift to give me. It was a built-in excuse to make another cake! And then I decided to make some cupcakes out of the recipe, as well. So...the cake was so nice that I made it--yes!--thrice!
Here is the recipe for you (which I am now proudly renaming):
Crimson Velvet Cake
(This will make a three-layer cake made with three 9-inch layer pans. It will also make a full 24 cupcakes. You could also make a 13-by-9 inch cake, if you don't like dealing with layers.)
Preheat oven to 350.
Begin my blending the following wet ingredients with an electric mixer: 1 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. white distilled vinegar, 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1 oz. of red food coloring (this is an entire bottle of food coloring; the first time I made it, it seemed like too much so I only used about a fourth of the bottle. The second time I used almost the entire bottle. I liked the redder color, but do how you'd like!). Mix on medium speed until it's well incorporated.
In the meantime, sift together the following dry ingredients: 2 1/2 cups flour (the original recipe said "cake flour," but I used all-purpose flour and it did just fine), 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tbsp. cocoa powder (the original recipe said just 1 tsp of cocoa powder,but I wanted it to have more of a "chocolatey" flavor; again, do it to your taste!).
Now slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, still in the mixing bowl. Mix together by increments, until it's well blended.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (do not overcook; you want it to be moist!).
Once the cake or cupcakes are cool, frost with one of my two favorite frostings of all time (the other being simple, but delicious buttercream!):
Cream Cheese Frosting: Mix together one large block cream cheese (softened) and one stick butter (softened) in a mixing bowl. Once they are mixed well, add a capful of vanilla extract and a tsp of milk. Slowly add in a box of confectionery sugar, blending between add-ins. (I'm drooling just typing that in!)
The final step is really quite simple...dig in and ENJOY!!
I now see why Red Velvet Cake (now known forevermore as Crimson Velvet Cake) is such a Southern favorite. It's now up there with Italian Cream Cheese Cake and simple Devil's Food Cake as a favorite...and I think I now realize that the buttermilk and vinegar (which seems so odd to begin with) is what makes it so delicious. If you've never tried one before, you gotta do yourself a favor and make this for you and anyone you love dearly.