Red Velvet Cake
(recipe, James Beard)
- ½ cup butter
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. cocoa
- 1 tsp. red food coloring
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 2½ cups sifted cake flour
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (or stir 1 tablespoon vinegar into sweet milk and let stand 10 minutes)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 Tbsp. vinegar
- Cream the butter, then cream in the sugar until very light.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
- Mix the cocoa, red coloring, and water, and add to the creamed mixture.
- Sift the flour with the baking powder and add alternately with the milk. Blend well. If using an electric mixer, turn to lowest speed when adding flour and buttermilk.
- Dissolve the soda in the vinegar and fold into the cake batter very carefully.
- Turn the batter into two 9-inch greased and floured cake pans (or, if you like, grease the pans and then fit the bottoms with greased paper). Do not flour the pans heavily.
- Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.
- Let cool in the pans on a rack for several minutes, then loosen and turn out onto the rack to cool.
- When cool, frost with White Fluffy Frosting.
Culinate editor's notes: The cinnamon makes this a rather unconventional red velvet cake, tasting more of spice than of chocolate. Omit it if you prefer a more traditional taste.
You can also cut the sugar down to 1 cup and, for more intense color, increase the red food coloring to 2 tsp.
For a more even color in the baked cake, sift the cocoa with the dry ingredients instead of mixing it into a paste with the food coloring and water.
The traditional frosting for a red velvet cake is a buttercream or cream-cheese frosting, not the marshmallow-flavored White Fluffy Frosting.