Southern Red Velvet Cake!

 
 
There is nothing quite like a Red Velvet Cake for dramatic appeal.  Look at it, it's gorgeous, not the one I baked necessarily, but any red velvet cake. What other cake can really compete with that on just a looks alone basis, especially for holidays like Christmas and Valentine's Day when red is 'the color'.  Red Velvet has become so popular in recent years though that it is being made all year round.  It has been used for groom's cakes  for a long time now...remember the armadillo in "Steel Magnolias", but is also a flavor used for the wedding cake or at least a layer of it, now.   The rise of all of the gourmet cupcake shops has really advanced the popularity of red velvet also.  It's a proven fact that red stimulates appetite so no wonder Red Velvet is so popular!
 
There is some debate about the frosting for a the Red Velvet Cake, some say it has to be butter cream, others say cream cheese.  If you have followed this site for long, like you have read more than two recipes, you know already which team I am on...lol.  People probably think I work for the makers of Philadelphia cream cheese!  I don't, by the way, in case you have wondered. 
 
Now, to make a good red velvet cake, is another issue.  There are recipes galore for red velvet cake out there.  Are there good recipes galore?  Not really.  For some reason and I have my theories, red velvet cake can be very dry and tasteless.  And sometimes, the prettier it is, the more dry and tasteless it is.  That is always such a disappointment.  What good is a pretty cake if it tastes like it was baked two weeks ago?    I have tried several recipes and I have had good results and not so good results, but this recipe is the best that I have come up with.   It's moist and it's still pretty and it stacks and frosts well.   Here is what you will need for this  Red Velvet Cake:
 
 
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2  1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. powdered cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 oz. bottle of red food coloring
 
Cream Cheese Frosting
 
2 (8 oz.) blocks of cream cheese (softened)
1 stick of butter, softened (1/2 cup)
2 lbs. confectioners sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
 
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
 
Cream butter, shortening and sugar together until fluffy with electric mixer.  Add eggs one at a time.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa.  Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk alternating a little of each at a time and mixing after each addition.  When it's mixed well (don't over mix), add the vinegar, vanilla and red food color.  Mix just until the food coloring is evenly distributed. You don't need to beat this on high, but mix as much as needed to get it all red.  If you over mix it, the cake will be dry. See how it looks here.  It gets darker when it is baked.
 
Prepare 3  9 inch cake pans by cutting a circle of wax paper or parchment paper to fit in the bottom of each one and then spraying it liberally with nonstick baking spray.  This cake has a tendency to stick, but if you use the paper it will come out fine.
Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes. A pick inserted in the center should come out clean.  Remove from oven and cool for about 30 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the cakes to loosen and then they will turn out. 
 
To make the cream cheese frosting, cream the cream cheese and the butter together with an electric mixer,  until fluffy.  Slowly add in the sugar until well incorporated.  Add the vanilla.  I doubled the usually amount of frosting called for in most of the recipes for red velvet cake, because this is a 3 layer cake and the lesser amount is really skimpy to cover it all.  You might not need all of the frosting, but half of it is not enough.   Save the leftover for up to 10 days and use it cupcakes or cookies.
 
Lay the first layer down, with the flat side up on your cake plate.  You can keep your cake plate cleaner if you place a little wax paper just barely under the edges of the cake.  When you have finished frosting, gently pull the paper out and voila...clean all the way around.  I am not a neat when it comes to frosting a cake so this really helps me. 
Proceed with the other two layers and then finish your sides.
 
 

                                                       Southern Red Velvet Cake!
                                                                                     
 


29 comments:

  1. What other frosting recipe do you use? My sister in law does not use cream cheese.

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    1. Our Recipe is a cooked frosting. 1 cup butter,1 cup sugar i teas. vanilla 1 cup milk 8 tbs. flour. Cook flour and milk on low heat stir constantly until thick. Let cool. Mix butter and sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour mixture and milk mixture and beat until fluffy and ice cooled cake. Add food coloring(pink or green)

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    2. Butter cream frosting - ALL THE WAY!

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    3. This cake was so moist and sooooo Delicious. I made this 3 layer cake for my co workers and they LOVED it...Today I'm making cup cakes using this recipe! :)

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  2. Makes me wanna go out and get everything right now!! That sounds so very yummy!!

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  3. This is my granny's recipe... The best!

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  4. Have you ever heard of using coffee in Red Velvet Cake recipes?

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    1. I use 1/2 tsp espresso powder. it enhances the chocolate flavor

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. I am sure your mother's red velvet cake was lovely. I have never seen a red velvet recipe that didn't have cocoa in it, but if hers didn't and it was good to you all, that's great. This is my red velvet cake recipe and it's for those who are looking for a red velvet cake recipe. If you have your mother's, you don't need one, right? No worries then!

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    1. AMEN!!! I agree. I guess commenters will never understand.

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  7. Kathy - I made this last night. Absolutely delicious! Thanks so much for sharing. So far, I've made your yeast rolls, mac and cheese, pork chops, and the red velvet cake. All were delicious. I trust all of your recipes to be good. :) Thanks, Melissa

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  8. This is my Favorite Cake Ever.....My Mom made one without Cream Cheese Frosting it was a very shiny white frosting that was "Light" not heavy like the Cream Cheese!!

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    1. I had a friend who mother red velvet cake was delicious and her icing was different than all i have read. I made it once and it came out great, but the icing she had was great too, but took me 3 trys to get it right. I remember it had to be cooked, i lost it or i would send to you to try. I remember i had problems getting lumps out of the icing. The cream cheese is easy and very taste so i would use it now. The white icing recipe i had, was told it was the original one that was used for red velvet cake. I am sorry to say my friend and her mother both have passed away so i have no way of getting it. I just wondered any one out there that follows you may no what icing recipe it may be or have a idea on it. Thank YOU for all the great recopies.

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  9. Tell me what part does the vinegar take in the cake? thanks

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  10. I just want to tell you how much I love this site and rely on this site. I have made so many things here on this site but this was my first 3 layer cake and it was FANTASTIC. I knew when the batter and the icing tasted fabulous - it was going to be a hit! Thank You so very much for sharing these wonderful recipes. You are my cookbook!!!!

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  11. Thankyou for these great receipts It's refreshing to find scratch receipts I thought boiled frosting went out with my generation most people today don't even know what your talking about when you say boiled frosting.

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  12. Thanks so much for your awsome recipes.....im hunting for a kool ade pie made with cream cheese and little sugar....i lost mine thanks

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  13. I like red velvet cake but no one could make a red velvet cake like my sister could. It was the most moistest cake that U would every eat. It. was the best

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    1. I found out using cake flour will make some cakes that are usually heavy come out very light and moist. I used it in carrot cake and it is so much better when i use cake flour.

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  14. Can anyone tell me how to keep cake layers from puffing up in the center? I have tried so many different suggestions but none have worked. I always end up cutting off the puffy part. THANKS!

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    1. You oven is more than likely calibrated to cook at a higher temp than you set it on. All ovens cook differently. If it says 350, try baking at 325 for just bit longer and see if it helps. The hotter the oven when you put a cake in, the higher it rises.

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  15. This sounds and looks delicious, but a Red Velvet cake needs pecans in the cream cheese frosting, so I will add chopped pecans to this icing and give it a go!

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  16. Hello! I'm loving your recipes! I'm having a bit of a debate with my fiance, however, and I'm hoping as a fellow southern Lady you can help me..
    When I was a child, I attended monthly church gatherings (you know the type, the big gazebo at the park with dozens of picnic tables underneath.. the ladies and girls bringing out their best treats, drinks, and covered dishes.. the men bringing their grilled/cooked meats.. the young boys bringing bags of chips and such..) for three different local congregations. My grandfather was a church elder who frequented all three to help guide the young men in each.
    Well, I distinctly remember what I have always *thought* was a Red Velvet cake arriving at nearly every park party.. It seems it was some other sort of cake? It was as vibrant as Red Velvet, and had white, tart frosting that I assumed was cream cheese. The difference is they were always a combination of the cocoa flavor of Red Velvet and either strawberry (much more common) or cherry (this was one congregation in particular - I think they may have had a strawberry allergy in their group) mixed in, as well.
    To be clear, this wasn't a jam layer or anything like that, it was mixed into the cake. I remember distinctly biting into large chunks of macerated strawberry, in a texture that reminds me of whole-fruit preserves, or soft and sweet cherries with the flavor of pie filling.

    Am I dealing with something that is a very narrow regionalism, or is this some OTHER sort of Cake of The South that I am failing to find a name for?

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    1. That sounds like a fresh strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting, which is very common in the South also. I am not familiar with the cherry flavor, but I can see it would work. If the cake were white with a fruit and nut filling, I might think it was a Lady Baltimore Cake, but this sounds more like a Fresh Strawberry cake. Hope that helps! Oh and Lady Baltimore Cake has 7 minute frosting usually! Red Velvet Cake does not have fruit involved at all. It just has a hint of cocoa flavor. The frosting can be a buttercream or cream cheese or some use a boiled icing. I prefer the cream cheese on this one though! Hope this helps and thank you so much for following the blog!

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    2. Kathy, thank you!! It's a Fresh Strawberry cake! I found a similar cherry cake to what I was remembering; a variety of cherry-chocolate dump cake.

      You have solved a decades long mystery. :)

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    3. I am so glad I could help. If it's a southern cake and it's been to a church supper, I have probably seen it and ate it...lol :)

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  17. 100% True Southern recipe! 100% amazing! Thank you for sharing! Making this cake for my family Christmas gathering! Will post pics!

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