Valentine's Day is the perfect time to make a Red Velvet Cake. It has the chocolate flavor everyone wants for the occasion and the perfect accompaniment of cream cheese icing. This cream cheese icing isn't too sweet. The frosting has the perfect balance between the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. It has become a favorite with my family and it can be one with yours too.
A few hints about this recipe will make your cake turn out perfectly too. First, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. It really does make a difference in your cake, so take our the butter, eggs, buttermilk and cream cheese about an hour before your begin. Second, grease your pans with shortening and not butter. The cake will come out of the pan perfectly every time.Don't ask me why this works better. It just does. Third, take time to sift the confectioners' sugar. No one wants a lumpy icing and it really makes a difference if you want the smooth consistency. Lastly, don't over whip the egg whites. You want a foamy consistency and not stiff. If you overbeat the egg whites, it will be very difficult to fold into the batter. Hope these hints help you get a perfect Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.
3 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, unsalted and softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 extra large eggs, separated and room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
3 tbsp red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
20 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
7 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk or cream
2 tsp vanilla
Grease and flour 3 round cake pans( 9 in.) and set aside. (Photo A) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, soda, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk together and set aside. (Photo B)
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter until it is smooth on medium high speed. This take about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 -3 minutes until creamed together. (photo C) Add the oil and beat for another 2 minutes.(Photo D) Add the egg yolks and vanilla. Beat until combined. Beat in the food coloring and the vinegar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/2 of the buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. (Photo E) Mix on low speed and only mix until incorporated.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until thick and foamy. (Photo F) Be careful not to over whisk. Fold the egg whites into the batter with a spatula.(Photo G & H) Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans (Photo I) and bake for 20 - 24 minutes. The top of the cake should spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from the oven and let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack and then remove from the pans and cool completely. (Photo J)
In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Sift the confectioners' sugar to remove all lumps. Add 2 cups confectioners’ sugar and 1 tbsp milk and beat on medium speed until mixed. Add another 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, salt and 1 tbsp milk and beat until mixed. Add the the vanilla and the remainder of the confectioners’ sugar and milk and beat till mixed completely. Turn the mixer on high and beat for a full minute. Add more milk or sugar to reach the desired consistency.
Knock off the loose crumbs from each layer of the cake. On a cake plate or stand, place the first cake layer with the top down. Cover the top with frosting. (Photo M) Place the next layer on top of the frosting with the top down. Cover with frosting and top with the final layer with the top up. (Photo N) Coat the sides of the cake with a thin layer of icing (crumb coat). (Photo O) Place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 -20 minutes to allow the frosting to set. This will keep the red crumbs from appearing in the final coat of frosting. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Photo P)
Refrigerate the cake. Remove from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.