Thursday, January 8, 2009

Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The beautiful red color of this cake is achieved using either food coloring liquid or food coloring paste—the latter of which is a more concentrated product available at gourmet stores. For intimate fare, you can bake the cake in a heart-shaped pan, or better yet, offer individual cupcakes or small cakes from individual molds; this cake gladly lends itself to creativity.

2 ½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 ½ cups natural granulated sugar
2 large organic eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons red food coloring paste (or 2 ounces red food coloring)
1 cup buttermilk

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup organic unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Prepare three 8-inch round (or square) baking pans by lining each one with parchment paper. Coat the pan with vegetable oil spray and place the parchment paper in the bottom of the pan. Spray the parchment paper.

Sift together the cake flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the eggs until just combined. Stir in the vanilla extract, vinegar and cocoa powder. Stir in the food coloring paste. Stir in the flour mixture, one cup at a time, alternating with the buttermilk.

Divide the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans. Remove the cakes from the pans and remove the parchment paper. Cool completely.

Use an electric mixer to cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in the vanilla. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Frost the cake between the layers and on the top and sides. Or, frost the cakes separately and decorate with colored sugars.

Servings: 10 to 12
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Sources and Substitutions
For a twist on this yummy cake, add a layer of sliced fresh strawberries. Top each filling layer of cream cheese with the strawberries. Garnish the cake with a whole strawberry in the center and a layer of sliced strawberries around the base.

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