Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blue Velvet. Except, You Know, Red.

My Dad is not a dessert person. It's been a running joke in my family ever since we went to a restaurant specifically known for their ice cream and he ordered the sugar-free, fat-free sorbet. He doesn't order anything after dinner except for black coffee. There is one exception to the rule, though. Anything that involves cream cheese frosting. Carrot cake, pumpkin cake, and especially red velvet cake. Thus my birthday present to him: cake.
This was actually my second attempt at red velvet cake. The first time, I tried Paula Deen's recipe. I mean, I figured it's supposed to be kind of a Southern thing, and who better to learn from than someone who couldn't stop saying "y'all" if you offered her a...whatever Paula Deen doesn't already have. But I have to say, I was disappointed. It was fine, I guess. The cake turned out drier than I expected. It crumbled and just didn't live up to the rather high expectations that I had for it. In fact, the cake sat in my fridge for over a week, certainly a rarity in my house.

And so, the second time, I turned to someone else. Emeril. No, I can't stand him, and yes, his recipes often have too many ingredients, but dear lord was this cake good. Moist and flavorful, with a sheen to the inside of the cake that I love. It was just the way red velvet cake should be. And, as I'm my father's daughter, there was cream cheese frosting. Lots of cream cheese frosting.
While my pictures fail to capture the beauty and brightness of this cake, I can assure you that the taste is unaffected. More photography would have followed if someone who will remain nameless hadn't fed the rest of it to her friends when I wasn't there to supervise.

Red Velvet Cake
Adapted (very slightly) from Emeril Lagasse

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons cocoapowder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk

2 ounces red food coloring

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened
1 pound box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease the bottom of two 9-inch round baking pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, then grease and flour the paper. In a medium bowl or on a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk. Beat in food coloring and vinegar, then add vanilla. Spread the batter evenly in the pans.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool and remove parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter. Beat in confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt. Use frosting to fill and ice cake.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Wow that looks good! I love red velvet so I'll have to try this one!