My absolute favorite cake in the whole world is red velvet cake. Growing up, my mom made red velvet cake as Jesus’ Birthday Cake at Christmas. She talked about how the red color symbolized the blood He shed for us and the white symbolized that our sins were washed away. I can’t help but think of that symbolism every time I make this cake.
I also know a lot of people like to make red velvet cake around Valentine’s Day because it’s just so gosh darn pretty. So, if you are that person, ignore the Christmas sprinkles in the last picture.
Anywho… back to our regularly scheduled programming…
When I was looking through Vintage Cakes, I was really interested in their red velvet recipe. I wanted to see how it stacked up against my mom’s recipe.
The Vintage Cakes recipe calls for
- 2 and 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 3/4 cup of canola oil
- 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of red food coloring
- 3/4 cup of unsalted butter
- 1 and 3/4 cup of sugar
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 cup of buttermilk, at room temperature
Preheat the over to 350º. Spray a 9 x 13 dish with nonstick cooking spray. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together. I don’t normally sift anything, but I sift this recipe. If this is not sifted, you get big clumps of cocoa in your cake. Bleck.
Combine the oil, vanilla and food coloring in another bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together (about 5 minutes). At a low speed, add the oil mixture to the batter. Slowly increase the speed to medium, mixing until the batter is fluffy again. Blend in the egg and egg yolks one at a time.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with buttermilk in two parts. You should begin and end with flour. Mix until the flour is incorporated.
Pour the batter into the greased cake pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before icing.
Speaking of icing…. The frosting I used was a Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting from Vintage Cakes. Here are the ingredients.
Marscarpone Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 oz of mascarpone, cold
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream, cold
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
Using the stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until it is uniform in texture. Add the mascarpone, cream, and the sugar. Beat on low speed until combined. Gently ramp up to high speed and blend the frosting for one minute. It should look creamy and thick. Turn back down to low speed, add the vanilla, and gently mix until it is blended. Frost away… (P.S. The book says it keeps in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Normally our cake doesn’t last that long.)
My mom’s recipe calls for
- 3 cups plain flour (sift before measuring)
- 3 tablespoons of Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup Wesson oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 large bottle (1 oz.) of red food coloring
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a 9 x 13 dish with nonstick cooking spray. Sift dry ingredients together (seriously… if you don’t sift, then the cocoa stays clumped together and it is not good). Add the sugar to the flour and mix. Add the liquids in the order listed above, mixing well after each addition.
Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pans.
My mom uses a traditional cream cheese frosting that I’ve never really liked. It’s nothing specific, I just don’t like really any cream cheese frosting. I love the Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting from Vintage Cakes.
Now, the Vintage Cake’s red velvet is very dense, with a finer crumb and more of a chocolate flavor. It also tasted a little dry. My mom’s cake is more moist, with a bit larger crumb and a lighter chocolate flavor. Plus, it’s a little easier to make. I like my mom’s cake better.
So, to recap, the perfect Red Velvet cake is my mom’s cake recipe and Vintage Cake’s Mascarpone Cream Cheese frosting recipe. Yum.
*Note: If a lot of food coloring gives you the heebie-jeebies, don’t add it. You’ll just have a light chocolate cake. Whole Foods also has natural food colorings too. They tend to be a little duller, but they still should work in theory.
**Note 2: If you want another color, say green for St. Patrick’s Day, substitute green food coloring for the red.