Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Club - Red Velvet Cake with Berries

One last dessert made for book club! It was Hanna's birthday a few weeks before book club (which is why a bunch of us had gone to New Orleans). She demanded asked for me to make her a cake for her birthday, and I was too scared to say no happy to accomodate her. After seeing a beautiful red velvet cake on Tuna Toast, I was excited to take on the challenge. Most people love red velvet cake, so it's hard to go wrong.

The recipe is on Epicurious but I made some tweaks to it, based on some of the user reviews. It came out fantastic - moist, cocoa-y and not to sweet at all. My manager even declared it was the best red velvet cake she ever had.

Red Velvet Cake with Berries
adapted from Epicurious and Tuna Toast

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
4 Tbps unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tbps red gel food coloring (add more if batter isn't red enough)
1 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbps vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbps vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely. Start checking the cake at the 23 minute mark - you don't want a dry cake. Test with a toothpick and if it comes out clean, take the layer out immediately. One of my layers took 10 minutes longer to bake than the other layer.

For frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Use more sugar if you need the frosting to be thicker, but it should remain pretty soft and spreadable.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Scoop out 1 cup frosting and mix it with some finely chopped strawberries. Spread the strawberry frosting over top of cake. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread one thin layer of frosting all over cake; refrigerate for 30 minutes. This is the "crumb layer" which prevents crumbs from spreading all over the rest of the cake when you frost it (thanks for the tip, Tuna Toast!). After 30 minutes, remove cake from refrigerator and spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Arrange remaining berries decoratively over top of cake.

Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

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