Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Dru’s favorite cake is red velvet cake. Every year I make it for him for his birthday. This sounds sweet until you realize that until very recently I didn’t really know how to bake at all. One year I didn’t let the cake cool down enough so the frosting just melted off of it. The next year I tried to use “all natural” food coloring and it had a weird brown/pink color. I also used all-purpose instead of cake flour and the crumb just wasn’t right. This year I wised up and used Louise’s recipe. Louise is a friend of my mother-in-law’s who makes us these amazing cakes every year at Christmas. Her cakes are HUGE; she must triple the recipe or something because I’m telling you these cakes could feed a family of four for a month and probably have.

So thanks to Louise this year’s cake turned out really good. The only problem was that the layers were a little misshapen; I don’t know what I did but somehow I didn’t get them into or out of the pan quite right. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t cover up with some frosting, but I definitely have to work on my technique.

For those of you who don’t know, red velvet cake is a favored cake in the South; fit for anything from a funeral to a festival. Of course, it was made famous by Steel Magnolias when Ouiser wacks off the tail of the groom’s armadillo cake. The bloody inside is, of course, red velvet cake.

I warn you, this cake is messy to make! Especially when you crank that mixer up to setting #8. My kitchen looked a scene from Dexter when it was all over. The picture above doesn’t really do it justice; this cake is red. If you’d rather not use the food coloring you can of course leave it out or try the natural food coloring (but it won’t be the same).

Louise’s Red Velvet Cake

1/2-3/4 c. shortening (I used half shortening, half butter)
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 oz. red food coloring
2 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. cake flour
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1-2 tsp. vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs. In a small bowl combine food color and cocoa, add vanilla and mix. Stir into shortening/sugar/egg mixture. In another bowl combine salt and flour. In a mixing bowl, alternate salt/flour mixture with buttermilk. Combine soda and vinegar and add to cream mixture. Let it beat for a while (setting 8). Pour into two 9″ cake pans and bake for 30-35 min., or until cake springs back to the touch. Ice with cream cheese icing and top with chopped pecans if desired.

Cream Cheese Icing
4 oz. stick of butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1 box confectioner’s sugar (sifted)
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat in a mixer until combined.