Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Best Red Velvet Cake in the World


After many requests, and blogging about this cake ad nauseum, I am finally posting the recipe.  It was truly just inertia that prevented me from doing so earlier.  I can't even say it was laziness -- after all, how hard is it to copy and paste?

Red on red; the batter after the food coloring is added.

My recipe is a (very) slight variation on one developed by Arthur Schwartz who posted it to his website, foodmaven.com, a few years ago.  It is a true crowd pleaser.  No matter how many other things I bake, I am constantly besieged with requests for this cake. This is the recipe I used when I baked and sold cakes to some local cafes for a few years. I hardly made any money, but the ooohs and aaaahs I got when I dropped off the cakes were priceless.

The "essential" wet (glass of wine) and dry ingredients.
Almost done!

Red Velvet Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus one tablespoon  cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons to 1 bottle red food coloring
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 cup buttermilk


Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.
In another mixing bowl,  beat the sugar and oil together until well blended. A standing or hand-held mixer works best for this.
Add eggs, one at a time, blending well between additions.  (Blend the last one in until the mixture is smooth.)
Blend in food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Scrape bowl down with a rubber spatula.
Alternately blend in flour and buttermilk , (starting and ending with the flour)  using about a third of each at a time and scraping sides of bowl a couple of times. Make sure not to overbeat or use the electric mixer on high -- this will toughen the cake.
Immediately pour into prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
On a wire rack, cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on rack.
Fill and frost.


Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-ounce package cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (at room temperature)
16 ounces confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Milk, as needed
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
Add butter and continue to beat smooth and well incorporated with the cream cheese.
Beat in the sugar a little at a time, then the vanilla.
If frosting is too thick to spread easily, beat in cold milk a tablespoon or so at a time until of spreading consistency.
You can sift cocoa powder and cinnamon atop the cake, if you like.
Serve and feel the love.

Pinkalicious: A version with three layers and pink frosting.

38 comments:

  1. Well...I made the cake for my mom's birthday and it was great!! It seemed actually much easier to make and tasted a lot better than the other recipe I had. Thanks so much for posting.

    Melanie W.

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  2. Melanie -- So glad you made it. I do think this recipe is a real winner.

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  3. Yum, yum! I am glad that I found this recipe. I love red velvet cake and will try this recipe soon. Don't you just love your Kitchen Aid mixer. I have the same professional one also in red. I love it.

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    1. I would be lost without my Kitchen Aid. Or else have one really, really strong arm! I bought mine refurbished and it's worked really well. Thanks for writing and do try this recipe and then tell me if it's your favorite.

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  4. This cake would also be good with the White Icing/Gravy Icing you posted with Betty's Chocolate Cake. :) :) :) Cakes with this icing need to be stored in the refrigerator. :) :) :)

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    1. I did read somewhere that a lot of southern folks use this type of icing on red velvet cakes. But, as one who thinks refrigeration is overrated, I'll tell you that I don't refrigerate this cake (even with the cream cheese frosting) and have never had a problem! Sometimes, keeping cakes in the fridge -- less so this cake, but especially butter cakes -- does some irreparable harm to the texture of the cake. So I'm going to live dangerously, at least for now. Thanks for writing.

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  5. Susan; I have meant to write for many months but time just flies so quickly. My family LOVES Red Velvet Cake. Your recipe is the best I have ever tasted. Thank you for sharing. Also, thank you for many happy hours of reading and introducing many long forgotten recipes.

    Tondja

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    1. Thant you so much for this red velvet cake recipe,iam going to bake this soon,again thanks!!!!! Rosa

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  6. I'd like to use this recipe for a lamb cake, and the mold says I need 5 cups of batter. Do you think I should double this recipe?

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    1. Doubt you'd have enough. Why not increase the recipe by 50 percent, or even double it? This way, you can be sure you have enough and any extra can be made into cupcakes.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. The pink alicious version looks dark did u use less food coloring lost my original recipe is 21/2 too much flour

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    1. I may have used some red food coloring I bought in bulk from an internet supply company.But I typically use about 1/2 a bottle of the supermarket brand. The color may also look dark because of my photography "skills." And 2 1/2 cups of flour is fine.

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  9. Here's what we did with the red velvet ♥... http://broomstix.blogspot.com/2013/04/maypole-cake-for-beltane.html

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  10. I am making cupcakes for a baby shower and I want to make red velvet ones. How many cupcakes will this recipe make? Also, I am not the neatest baker. What can I use to get the frosting to look neat? I was thinking a frosting bag with some kind of tip at the end. Any ideas? Thanks

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    1. The recipe should make about 20 cupcakes, maybe 24 if you stretch it a bit. Putting frosting in a pastry bag (even a plastic bag with a hole cut in the end for the tip) is a great idea. You can get a star tip to make it a bit fancier, but even a plain tip would be nice and make quicker work of frosting. Just start in the center of the cupcake and work your way (in circle) outward. Good luck!

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  11. I am making cupcakes for a baby shower and I want to make red velvets ones. How many cupcakes would this recipe make? However, I am not the neatest person when it comes to decorating, so for the frosting what would be the best tools to use? I was thinking a frosting bag with a tool at the end? Any ideas or tips would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks

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  12. I will be trying this cake on Sunday for a friends birthday. I had never made a Red Velvet cake before I met her and I've made 2-3 now but none have been amazing. I'm hoping this one will be the winner!

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    1. I don't think you'll be disappointed, Kristin. This is a great recipe. Good luck.

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  13. What happened to the wine was thT part of the mixture

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    1. The wine goes in the cook, not the cake!

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  14. What a wonderful red velvet recipe. And, it's nice and simple. I put the batter in a heavy bundt pan @ 325 degrees for 55 minutes. Came out absolutely beautiful. My 'normal' red velvet is a boxed version with added sour cream and chocolate pudding mix, and store-bought icing. It was a pleasure finding and creating this wonderful cake. Thank you for sharing.

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  15. Do you use self raising flour? or all purpose ? does this recipe doesn't need baking powder? I'd love to try it out.

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    1. I use all-purpose flour and just noticed (thanks to your comment) that there is no baking powder! But I assure you, it does rise, and beautifully. It's truly foolproof!

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    2. Thank you Susan, I am about to do it right now! thanks to your recipe I know how can I make cake flour http://frugalliving.about.com/od/makeyourowningredients/r/Cake_Flour_Sub.htm, Thanks for the response, take care I will let you know how it turns out! KISS!

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    3. This Recipe it's DELICIOUS!!!!!!!

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    4. So you DON'T need baking powder for this recipe?

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    5. So glad it turned out well! It is a great recipe, a real crowd pleaser.

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  16. Any high altitude adjustments?

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    1. So sorry, no. Hopefully there's some formula that you can apply? Good luck!

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  17. Can I omit the white distilled vinegar ?? and replace vegetable oil with butter ??

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    1. I would not omit the white vinegar, as it acts as an acid to react with the baking soda. You can't taste it, but it helps the cake rise, etc. You can use other kinds of vinegar if you don't want to use the white one. And as much as I'm a fan of butter cakes, the texture and mouth feel of this cake is much improved with oil. You can certainly find red velvet cake recipes with butter on the internet if you're intent on using butter.

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  18. Can I use regular milk, or does it have to be buttermilk?

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    1. It should be buttermilk, as that in combination with the baking soda, causes some chemical reaction that you want to happen. If you haven't any buttermilk on hand you can make your own by adding some lemon juice to whole milk and letting it sit for five minutes or so until it thickens. You can use Google to find the correct the ratio of lemon juice (or even vinegar) to milk. I've done this and it works fine. The commercial buttermilk we buy in the supermarket is not real buttermilk at all, but I use it unless I can find the real stuff at a farmer's market or specialty store like Saxelby's Cheese in NYC. Good luck!

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  19. I just made this cake for my daughter's birthday -excellent results. Thank you!

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  20. Have I missed something how does a three layer cake only have two 9 inch pans in reci

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    1. The recipe is for a two-layer cake, but when I did the original post, I added a picture at the end of the post showing a three-layer version (with increased batter) that I made for a contest. Sorry for the confusion!

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