I have always found it quite sweet and endearing that one of my favorite bloggers, the beautiful and ever-inspiring Andrea of Hula Seventy, bakes a red velvet cake every year on her birthday (you can read more about it here). On Saturday I turned twenty-six years old and since I love baking and wanted a lovely cake for my birthday, I decided it would be nice to follow her tradition and bake my own. Instead of following the recipe she uses, the original Waldorf-Astoria one, I used one from marthastewart.com (mainly just due to the fact that I didn't have shortening on hand). It turned out quite moist with such a nice vanilla/cocoa flavor. And oh, that cream cheese frosting- I could have eaten it with a ladle.
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting: from marthastewart.com
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted, plus more for pans
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 one-ounce bottles liquid red food coloring (I only used one and it was still quite red)
3 tablespoons lukewarm water
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Cream Cheese Frosting for Red Velvet Cake (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, and butter again. Dust with flour, and tap out the excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, cocoa, and baking powder; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 15 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, salt, food coloring, and water; beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well combined. Add reserved dry ingredients in additions, alternating with the buttermilk; beat on low speed until well combined.
In a small bowl, stir together baking soda and vinegar; add to batter. Beat on medium speed for 10 seconds. Be sure not to over beat. Divide batter between prepared pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until completely cool.
Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes so surfaces are level. Place a layer on a cake stand or cardboard round, and spread about 1/3 of the frosting over top. Place the second layer on top, and spread with the remaining frosting over the tops and sides of assembled cake. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill until ready to serve.
For the cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (8-ounce) cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place butter in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, and beat until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add sugar and vanilla, and beat until combined, about 2 minutes.