I've always been baffled by red velvet cake. It always seems to look better than it tastes. I always find the cake to be dry and somehow greasy at the same time. I decided about a month ago to try and tackle the red velvet cake. I read a bunch of recipes and learned a lot about the cake as well as the frosting. I sat down and constructed my own recipe. Yesterday I finally baked the cake and deemed it good enough to post the recipe. Strangely enough I fell in love with the frosting. I am not a frosting fan, but I really like this one. The cake was slightly dry, not at all oily, and the dryness was balanced out by the frosting. I think that's part of the answer to the mystery of the red velvet cake. Each bite has to be eaten with some frosting. It really rounds out the cake. I really liked the texture of the cake. I think the key to that is the cake flour.
Red Velvet Cake
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1 oz. bottle red food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. cake flour
3 Tbl. cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. white vinegar
1. Butter and flour 2 cake pans.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Melt 1/4 c. butter in small saucepan over medium heat and cook until slightly browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
4. Cream 3/4 c. butter with sugar until fluffy.
5. Add browned butter and mix thoroughly. (The butter melted slightly when I did this and the mixture was creamy.)
6. Beat in eggs
7. Add food coloring (entire bottle) and vanilla. Mix until evenly distributed.
8. Mix flour, salt and cocoa in medium bowl.
9. Add flour mix and buttermilk alternately until well combined.
10. In a small bowl mix together baking soda in vinegar. Add mixture to batter and mix to incorporate.
11. Divide batter evenly into two prepared cake pans.
12. Tap pans to spread out batter.
13. Bake cakes 30-35 minutes until tester comes out clean.
14. Cool cakes then frost with roux frosting.
Butter Roux Frosting
1 c. whole milk (I used skim plus some cream)
3 Tbl. all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat whisk milk and flour together.
2. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in salt. Cool slightly. (I cooked it until it was pretty thick and it thickened even more after cooling...into a pudding like consistency.)
3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
4. Mix in vanilla.
5. Add milk mixture one spoonful at a time while mixer is running at medium speed.
6. I let the mixer run a minute or two after each addition of milk and a couple of minutes after the last addition.
7. The mixture should be light at fluffy at the end. If it seems a little thin then refrigerate the mixture for a while then whip it on high speed for a little while.
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