Red Velvet Cake is a decidedly Southern treat. According to the NYTimes it originated in Texas in the 1940s, but red velvet cake spread to the rest of the south and then found it’s way north. I first heard about it from my stepmother, who is from Alabama. Her mom made it for her when she was young and now I make red velvet cake for her at her birthday. I think this recipe, which is adapted from Sarah Kieffer’s white cake recipe from her book The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, is the best one yet. It is not a traditional take, but the results are tender and tasty, with a beautiful color. I just added cocoa for flavor and color, red food coloring (otherwise the cake is not red velvet) and a bit of vinegar to keep the color as cheeky as possible. I always pair red velvet with cream cheese icing (which is one of the classics), but if you are going to attempt this basket weave finish (see my video on instagram to watch how I did it) I would suggest going with a buttercream icing, which is much easier to pipe and less temperamental in a warm kitchen.
Red Velvet Cake
adapted from Sarah Kieffer’s white cake from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book: Recipes for Irresistible Everyday Favorites and Reinvented Classics
I made Sarah’s white cake (click here for recipe), but added the following:
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder (added with the flour)
Red food coloring – enough to achieve the color you want, which was about 5 large drops for mine.
1 teaspoon vinegar – (added with the milk)
American Buttercream for decorating and flowers
1 pound unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (make your own)
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract – or whatever fits the flavor of your cake. This icing is sweet, so I like to add something acidic.
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
Food coloring for roses. See this post for directions on creating the two toned roses. I also have an instagram video on these roses on cupcakes.
Cream together the butter, vanilla, lemon extract and heavy cream. Add sugar and beat slowly until smooth. Add color in smaller bowls if you are making more than one color.
Pearl Candy Beads for garnishing
To pipe the roses I used two sizes of rose tips:
Large roses – Ateco 180
Small roses – Wilton 125
Leaf tip – Wilton 366
Basket Weave Tips:
Horizontal Ateco 46
Vertical Ateco 1
Lekue Disposable Piping Bags are my favorite
Happy Birthday to Nana and all the other July birthday babies!