Red velvet cake is a classic American dessert that is known for its distinctive red color and rich, moist texture. It is typically layered with cream cheese frosting and served for special occasions like birthdays, weddings, and holidays.
Red velvet cake is made with a combination of flour, cocoa powder, buttermilk, and vinegar, which gives it its signature tangy flavor. A small amount of red food coloring is added to the batter to create its vibrant red color. The cake is typically baked in round cake pans and then layered with cream cheese frosting between the cake layers and on top and around the sides of the cake.
The origins of red velvet cake are uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the southern United States in the early 1900s. During World War II, the use of beet juice as a natural red food coloring in the cake was popularized due to a shortage of food coloring.
Today, red velvet cake is enjoyed throughout the United States and has become a popular dessert worldwide. Variations of the classic recipe include adding additional flavors like raspberry or white chocolate, or using different frostings like buttercream or whipped cream.
PREPARATION TIME: 1 hour and 30 minutes
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon red food coloring
- 1 cup buttermilk
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease two 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pans.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, vinegar, and food coloring with an electric mixer until well combined.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting by beating the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
- Once the cakes are completely cool, spread a thick layer of frosting over one of the cakes, then place the second cake on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS OR ADDITIONAL TIPS:
- Serve the red velvet cake with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.
- For a more intense red color, add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of food coloring to the batter.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.