This makes a great birthday cake! I first heard of a red velvet cake when I saw the movie "Steel Magnolias" and went on a hunt to find a great recipe for this famous cake. This recipe is my version of one I found originally in "Taste of Home Great Desserts." My version differs from tradition slightly in that I like to tint the frosting red as well, making it really, really red. For the brightest red color for your frosting, use paste food coloring (such as those sold in small jars by Wilton), but you will also need a bottle of liquid food coloring to dye the cake red as well. I also have made the frosting pink for little girls' birthday cakes and baby showers. Prep time does not include cooling time and allows for a little extra time for icing the cake.
- 1⁄4 cup shortening or 1⁄4 cup canola oil
- 1⁄4 cup sweet unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1⁄4 cup liquid red food coloring (really!)
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 cup sweet unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons shortening
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
- food coloring, if desired (optional)
- Cream shortening,butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time.
- Mix together food coloring and cocoa powder with a small whisk until blended; add to shortening mixture and mix well.
- Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Add a little of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then a little of the buttermilk, alternating back and forth until you have added all the flour mixture and all of the buttermilk.
- Stir in vanilla and vinegar with a spoon until blended.
- Pour into two 9" round cake tins lined with greased parchment paper.
- Bake in a preheated 350 F oven about 35 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean.
- Let cool on wire racks in pans.
- Meanwhile, prepare frosting by whisking together the milk and the flour in a saucepan (no heat yet) until blended well.
- Turn heat on (low to medium low) and while stirring, and cook until it forms a thick paste, about 10 minutes (yes, really this long, possibly longer depending on the day).
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- When cool, put mixture into a mixing bowl and add all of the remaining ingredients except the optional food coloring.
- Beat until it is thick and peaks form like whipped cream, adding food coloring desired once it thickens (have patience, this will take several minutes even using an electric mixer).
- Frost the top only of the first cake layer, then top with second layer and frost entire cake as desired.
- I like to tint the frosting a bright red or pink to make this really, really red, but you may leave it white (more traditional) or tint it any other color you prefer (In the movie"Steel Magnolias," they tinted the frosting grey and made a groom's cake in the shape of an armadillo!).
- Hint: A whole 2 ounce bottle of food coloring usually equals 1/4 cup.