I you asked me where I’m from I would tell you I’m an Army brat and therefore have no home but if you forced me to pick a region of the US that I most associate with I would say the northeast. I love the big cities, the vibrant history, and the cool ocean breezes. I you asked my husband he would say the pacific northwest for it’s temperate weather and indie atmosphere. The reality, however, is that we both spent a large portion of our lives in the southeastern US. And nothing is more iconic to the southern baker than the red velvet cake.
If you’ve seen Steel Magnolias then you will remember the red velvet armadillo groom’s cake.
J. and I weren’t feeling quite that ambitious but having been in Philly for over a year we were start to missing a few things from the south. Since we finally had a free weekend together we decided to indulge in one of our favorite past times- baking.
We actually bought Southern Cakes while living in Colorado and while the cakes were tasty, they didn’t adapt to high altitude baking very well and the book got shelved until this weekend. Now with the unique chocolate/vanilla taste of red velvet on my tongue I’m itching to make more of the recipes from this book.
Southern Velvet Cake
Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake
- 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Buttermilk
- 2 Tbs Cocoa
- One 1 oz bottle Red Food Coloring (we used 1/4 oz)
- 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
- 1 Tbs Cider (or White) Vinegar
Preheat Oven to 350 F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans generously (we used Crisco), and line them with waxed paper or kitchen parchment. Grease the paper and flour the pans.
Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl and use a fork to mix them together well. Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk. Combine the cocoa and the red food coloring in a small bowl, mashing and stirring them together to make a thick, smooth paste.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer at low speed for 1 minute, until creamy and soft. Add the sugar, and then beat well for 3 to 4 minutes, stoppig to scrape down the bowl now and then. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one, until the mixture is creamy, fluffy, and smooth. Scrape the cocoa- food coloring paste into the batter and beat to mix it in evenly.
Add about a third of the flour mixture, and then about half the milk, beating the batter with a mixer at low speeed, and mixing only enough to make the flour or liquid disappear into the batter. Mix in another third of the flour, the rest of the milk, and then the last of the flour in the same way.
In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar and stir well. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to quickly mix this last mixture into the red batter, folding it in gently by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, until the layers spring back when touched lightly in the center and are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans.
Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 15 minutes. Then turn them out on the racks or on plates, remove the paper, and turn top side up to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- One 8 oz package Cream Chese Softened (1 Cup)
- 1/2 Stick Butter, softened
- 3 2/3 Cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
In a medium bowl,, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat with a mixer on medium speed to mix well. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat at high speed until the frosting is fluffy and smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the bowl and mix everything well. Spread the frosting on a cooled cake, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Despite being full from dinner we did manage to share a piece of cake last night.