The Origin Of Red Velvet Cake
Red velvet cake has been around for a long time. Southern bakers have been making it since the 1800s. The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York claims to have invented it, but since that time it has become hugely popular in the US and around the world.
Its perfect for any occasion, but I especially love to serve it for birthdays, Christmas, Valentines Day, and patriotic holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. That bright red color is such a show-stopper!
How To Make This Red Velvet Cake
To make this red velvet cake, youll start by whisking together your dry ingredients: cake flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. I suggest using cake flour because it has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour which creates a softer, lighter cake. When it comes to cake flour, two of my favorite brands are Pillsbury Softasilk and Swans Down.
Theres also 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder in this cake so the cake isnt super chocolatey, but it has a hint of chocolate that is expected in red velvet cakes. Once youve whisked together the dry ingredients I suggest sifting them as well to remove any lumps of cocoa powder and help keep the cake light.
Then, mix up the wet ingredients starting with some unsalted butter and granulated sugar. I suggest creaming the butter and sugar together for about 4-5 minutes. Why? Creaming the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy incorporates more air into your cake batter creating a softer, lighter cake.
Once the butter and sugar are creamed together, youll beat in two eggs until well combined. Then mix in the rest of the wet ingredients: some oil, red food coloring, vanilla extract, and distilled white vinegar. The oil helps to keep the cake incredibly moist, so I use a combination of butter and oil in this cake.
Then, just level your cakes and frost it however you like. I used the Wilton 1M piping tip for the swirls on top of this cake.
Red Velvet Cake Recipe Tried And Tested Favourite
This Red Velvet Cake has been taste tested and given a big thumbs up by many people because its a rather large cake and Ive made it 5 times in the last two weeks.
FIVE TIMES??!!, I hear you exclaim . Youre MAD!!
If getting this cake exactly to my taste, as close as I can get it to the cakes you get from posh bakeries, and ensuring it works using both US and metric measures means that Im a mad baker, Ill take that title.
Besides, Im really enjoying baking at the moment. There is something so satisfying about making something as pretty as Red Velvet Cake.
To tell you the honest truth, the reason I made it so many times in recent weeks is because my original recipe got a so-so response from the two toughest taste-testers I know: my mother and brother.
The sponge is zara-zara, my mother declared on first bite.
What the.?? Zara-zara? What on earth does that mean??
Zara-zara means rough in Japanese. The Japanese language has a handful of words which sound like what it means. Zara-zara being a perfect example. Usually it cracks me up. Not that day.
I gasped, indignant, and grabbed a spoon to shovel a bite into my mouth, ready to argue. And I realised she was right. It was not as velvety as it could be. As it should be.
So I improved it.
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Storing At Room Temperature
Once your cake has been baked, cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap and store at room temperature overnight. Prepare the frosting then cover and store in the fridge overnight as well. When you are ready to assemble and decorate, set the frosting out at room temperature to soften for about 30-45 minutes. Give it a quick mix to loosen it up in your mixer for about a minute, then frost away!
Ermine Frosting Is Light Fluffy And Not Too Sweet
Ermine frosting is made by cooking flour and sugar with milk to make a sweet paste. This paste is then whipped into softened butter until light and fluffy. Vanilla and salt is added for flavoring.
This might sound like a bizarre process but its actually a delicious frosting! Ermine frosting reminds me a lot of that frosting that you find in a ding dong or twinkie. Very light and almost like whipped cream.
This frosting does not have eggs in it so its a fantastic alternative to Swiss Meringue Buttercream if you want a light frosting but cant have eggs.
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Storing The Red Velvet Cake
You can store undecorated cake layers by wrapping them in plastic wrap and placing in the fridge for 5-7 days. This is especially helpful if you are going to stack the cakes because they are a lot easier to cut and stack when cold.
You can also freeze undecorated cake layers by wrapping them in plastic wrap, placing in a resealable freezer bag, and keeping in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let the cake thaw before stacking and decorating.
After the cake is decorated, keep the cake in an airtight container for 5-7 days. If the cake has cream cheese frosting, keep the cake in the refrigerator. If you used only buttercream, the cake can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge.
Red Velvet Cake Ingredients Needed:
See the full recipe below.
Recipe Notes: You can easily make this cake a three-layer cake. Also, depending on how dark or light you want your red velvet cake will depend on how much red food coloring you add.
Recipe Comments:Friday my granddaughter and I made this cake for my oldest daughter, my granddaughters aunt, for her birthday. Red Velvet and Carrot Cake are her two favorites. It was sooooo delish and oh, sooooo RICH!!!! Its been a very long time since Ive made from scratch but, it was certainly worth it!!!!-Beverly
I made this last year for Christmas. Had never made a red velvet cake before. Several red velvet cake lovers told me it was the best they had ever had! So, if youre looking for a good recipe, this one is it!-Carmen
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How Do You Make Ermine Frosting
Making ermine frosting is actually pretty simple.
Gel Vs Liquid Food Coloring
While the chemical reaction between the cocoa powder, baking soda, and acid in the buttermilk naturally gives the cake a dark reddish or maroon color, to get the red in this recipe we are using some red food coloring. In the past, I made this cake using liquid food coloring and it needed a TON to get the deep red color associated with red velvet cake. Not only does adding that much food coloring make peoples tongues red when eating the cake, some red dyes can impart a bitter flavor when used in large quantities.
I didnt want to add a huge amount of food coloring to the cake, so I modified the recipe to use gel food coloring instead. Gel food coloring is concentrated coloring that achieves a deeper and more saturated color versus liquid food coloring. While it is easier to find liquid food coloring at the grocery store in the baking aisle, you can typically find gel food coloring at craft stores , supermarkets , or online.
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What Flavor Is Red Velvet Cake
Red velvet is an oil-based cake that gets its unique flavor from buttermilk, a touch of cocoa, and vinegar. It may sound like a crazy combination, but its surprisingly delicious!
The buttermilk gives this layer cake a soft, creamy quality, and its amazing how much chocolate flavor just two tablespoons of cocoa powder can bring. Vinegar enhances the subtle tanginess of the buttermilk, but it also reacts with the baking soda to help the cake to rise tall and fluffy.
Its also thought that at one time the natural alkyds in the cocoa powder would chemically react with the acidity in the buttermilk and vinegar to create the red color. But nowadays, we just use a splash food coloring.
Can This Be Made Ahead
Totally! As a matter of fact, I think its best that way.
Any time I make a layer cake, I always bake the layers at least a day before I plan to fill and frost them. Once theyve cooled, wrap them up tightly in plastic wrap and keep them refrigerated. Theyll stay good for several days to a week.
You can also freeze them. I often slip the wrapped cakes into a zip-top bag, just for added protection from freezer burn and funny freezer odors. They should last at least 2 weeks in the freezer, maybe even longer!
The cake layers are easiest to frost when theyre cold. Theyre less crumbly that way. Sometimes Ill even frost them frozen and that makes the job so easy!
I hope youll make this red velvet cake for your next celebration! Its sure to impress, with both its stunning good looks and rich, delicious flavor!
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Why Is It Called A Red Velvet Cake
According to the Sunflower Baking Company, the history of Red Velvet Cake started during the Victorian era when cocoa was added to make luxury cakes. These cakes started to be called velvet cakes because they had a smooth and soft texture .
There are a few reasons for the soft texture of the cake. The first is that the added cocoa powder helps break down the coarse flour and thus soften the texture. The second is the chemical reaction that occurs when acidic ingredients cocoa powder, buttermilk, and vinegar) are combined with baking soda . This chemical reaction creates carbon dioxide gas, which in turn helps to lighten and aerate the cake.
Traditionally, the red color of the cake came naturally from the chemical reaction with the cocoa powder to create a maroon color. Over the years, red food coloring has been added to intensify the red color that is familiar today.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of Red Velvet Cake, especially within the United States and the south, this article in Southern Living is really interesting.
How To Make A Vegan Red Velvet Cake With Dairy Free Cream Cheese Frosting
For the full written instructions and ingredientmeasurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the jump to recipe button at the top of this post!Here, well go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.
Making this healthier red velvet cake is seriously a breeze, and you can decorate it however you want! Im going to walk you through the basic steps for getting your cake baked and frosted, then let yourself have fun with the decorations.
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Pro Tips For This Recipe
- Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you dont have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
- If youre not using 6-inch pans, double the recipe for 8-inch pans or triple the recipe for 9-inch pans.
- Skip the food coloring if you want a great tasting cake that isnt red.
- To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can buy a set on the shop page or make your own from foil and paper towels at home. I made a whole blog post on it so check it out if youre interested!
- For nice uniform crumbs for decorating use the fine grater, or just whip out that cheese grater!
- This red velvet cake recipe also makes an AWESOME sheet cake! Youll save tons of time and you can pour less sugar into the frosting since you wont have to worry about consistency. I would use approximately a 9×13 inch pan if youre making this as a sheet cake.
What Does A Real Red Velvet Cake Recipe Taste Like
A real red velvet cake recipe is made with buttermilk, vinegar and a tiny bit of cocoa powder. These ingredients result in a very tangy cake with a hint of chocolate. This is a pretty unique flavor combination but when you add in some cream cheese frosting or ermine frosting , then it adds even more tangy flavor. That tangy flavor is the sign of a true red velvet cake recipe.
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How To Make The Best Buttercream Frosting
For this silky, smooth and incredibly delicious buttercream frosting, youll want to make sure you follow the steps written in THIS blog post. Id even bookmark that page to come back to as youre mastering the art of buttercream.
Weve been eating this cake nonstop since I made it. Its been a huge hit and I hope it is in your family too!
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