Friday, February 4, 2011

Heritage Red Velvet Cake


I have made and tasted many versions of red velvet cake, but this one stands out as a favorite.  I call it "heritage" red velvet because it has been passed down, passed around -and now I'm passing it on to you!  This recipe uses butter instead of shortening or oil,  and it is bright red as opposed to the usual dark red or brown-red.  The soft, moist crumb is the result of a healthy dose of buttermilk in the batter...
 

 ... and that is key! You can't make a good red velvet cake without buttermilk.





Before I get to the specifics of the cake, I'd like to share a recent feature.  If you follow me on FB, then you have already seen this, so please forgive the repeat.

Sprinkle Bakes is featured in the February/ March issue of Yum Food and Fun magazine.  Inside are two familiar SB recipes (plus lots more good lookin' grub!) and a little write up about the blog. 

This magazine can be found at grocery stores or at your local book store.

Back to business!


When making red velvet, I always mix the cocoa powder and liquid red food coloring together to form a paste.  Doing this seems to evenly disperse the red color when it gets mixed into the batter.  If your cocoa is lumpy, mash it into the food coloring with a fork.  



For the heart template, trace the bottom of a cake pan on wax paper, cut out the 9" circle. Fold it in half and cut into a heart shape.  Lay the paper heart on the cake and trim it down if it doesn't comfortably fit inside the cake's circumference.


Red velvet cake is dense, so it carves easily with a serrated knife.  I decided to give this cake a crumb coating (after seeing THIS), but you could certainly leave it frosted white if you wish.  To make the crumb coating, crumble the cake scraps with your fingers.  Discard any crusty, hard or discolored crumbs. You only want the best and softest crumbs for coating.

The best way I've found to apply the crumbs is to place the frosted cake on a serving platter lined with wax paper strips. Crumb the top of the cake first, then hold the cake - serving platter and all - over the sink and press the crumbs into the sides of the cake.  This will be messy, but most of the excess crumbs will fall to the sides of the cake, and a few will fall in the sink.  When you remove the wax paper strips most of the excess crumbs will stay on the paper and be removed also.  From there you can do a little clean-up around the edges with a damp paper towel.


Heritage Red Velvet Cake                            [click to print]


 Cake:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups of sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tbsp liquid red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and lightly flour 2 or 3 round 9" cake pans.

Sift flour and salt together, set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Mix until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Mix well after each addition.  Add the flour mixture to the bowl alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Blend in vanilla.

In a small bowl, mix the 1 1/2 tbsp red food coloring and 1 tbsp cocoa powder until a paste forms.  Add to the sugar and butter mixture.  Mix well.  In a small bowl or condiment cup, stir together the baking soda and cider vinegar.  This will foam and should be put into the batter immediately after well mixed.  After adding the foam mixture, blend on medium-high speed until batter is consistent.

Spoon batter evenly into pans - batter will be very thick!  Level  top of batter with an offset spatula.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake springs back when pressed in the center.  Turn out on wire racks and cool completely.








Cream cheese frosting:

2 - 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
4-5 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.  With the mixer on low, gradually pour in the confectioners' sugar.  Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy.  If mixture is too thick, add a little milk to loosen it.  If it is too thin, add additional powdered sugar or put in the refrigerator to firm up. 

*If carving cake and coating with crumbs, be sure to put the crumbs on when the icing is fresh and still sticky.

103 comments:

Jane Ko said...

Yum, wish I saw this recipe before I made my friends birthday cake!
&& beautiful pictures

Jessica @ How Sweet said...

This is so pretty!

PaisleyJade said...

Oh yum! This looks amazing - and the cake crumb topping is beautiful!!

Marisa said...

Absolutely amazing cake. I'm not a fan of red velvet, but this is a work of art. Gorgeous photos, too. Kudos!

Sue said...

Oh my heavens, Heather! You sure know how to up the ante on any recipe! What a gorgeous and vivid RED, and the crumb topping is amazing! Have a wonderful weekend, Sue

Maysem said...

That looks so YUMMY! Need to try it :D Does the food coloring need to be liquid or can it be the gel coloring (Americolor)?

Rituparna said...

This is pretty !!!
Love the rich colour & the simple recipe !!!

foodies at home said...

Gorgeous!! And perfect timing for this upcoming holiday! I LOVE that it is bright red rather than the darker color!

AngelEden said...

Oh that looks yummy!! I am bookmarking the page as we speak for future reference. I'm a bit addicted to puddings right now, so this is going on the to do list :)

Abi
Angel Eden Blog

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It is soooo pretty! A lovely Valentine's Day cake.

Cheers,

Rosa

Nina | Salt said...

Heather, this is stunning! Beautiful job with this cake....simply gorgeous!

squirrelbread said...

I've never seen a cake so lovely, and I worked in a bakery for five years! That crumb coating is not only a smart use of the discarded cake pieces, but adds a pleasing textural and visual element as well. It really pops the red color. Congrats on your spot in YF&F as well!

Cheers and happy Valentine's Day,

*Heather*

Rux said...

omg, such a cute and tasty and perfect cake! makes me drool :D

Kenni said...

I used to work at a bakery that had the best red velvet cake ever and this one reminds me of it. I may have to make this!

Sanna said...

What a cute cake :)

Lauren (PB&G) said...

This cake is gorgeous! I adore red velvet cake!

Anonymous said...

yummmmy and oh so pretty....if you ever get tired of tasting and need a taste tester...I'm your girl!!!! patti b.

Paula said...

I can`t stop looking at this! It`s absolutely divine and I want to try this...

Have a great time,
Paula

Susan said...

This is absolutely beautiful--so neat and tidy too. I actually have heart pans of my mom's from the 1960's so I might try this recipe (while hubby is watching superbowl) without the crumb coating.

Irene said...

Wow, that's a very cute cake!

soundless_space said...

I love your dessert presentation, hearts are my favorite thing! This rocks.

homepodge said...

The crumb topping makes the cake look especially pretty. It's almost too gorgeous to cut into....
almost. :)

Lili said...

That has to be the most stunning red velvet cake I have ever laid eyes on! And congrats on your well deserved feature in the Yum Food & Fun Magazine. You are just raising the bar for everyone all over the place! xo ~Lili

Heather (Heather's Dish) said...

WOW...this is an absolutely heavenly looking red velvet cake! i think i know what i want for my birthday cake this year :)

Megan said...

This is amazing! I love your tip about mixing the food coloring with the cocoa powder. I never would've thought to do that. Also, I've always wanted to make a cake with a crumb coating after seeing that same picture you linked to.

I just really love this! Can you tell?! :)

Abby said...

I just have to say that I LA LA LA LOVE your blog! Thanks for taking the time to share your talents with the world. You do a wonderful job!

Dina said...

that was a great idea to put the crumbs around the cake. lovely!

Jenn said...

I LOVE this cake. I would have to use heart shaped pans, because there is no way I could cut my cakes and have them all end up the same size? Yours looks perfect.

foodie and the chef said...

Oh the red is amazing - I've never seen red velvet so vibrant! I have to try this, the colour has sucked me in. Beautiful photos :)

CaSaundraLeigh said...

Congrats on being in the magazine--that's so exciting! And I agree with all the above comments, the bright red color is phenomenal!

cookies and cups said...

gorgeous cake! I love that trick of mashing the cocoa powder with the food coloring!
ALso, congrats on the magazine, very very exciting :))

jenbryson said...

that cake is a stunner.

Lisa Marie said...

BEAUTIFUL!!

Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. said...

Love this cake, such a vibrant red! Congrats on the magazine feature and thanks for the tip about mixing the red food coloring and cocoa, I've never tried that before!

Heather, TJ, Brock, and Jillian said...

Can't wait to try this this weekend! Thanks for sharing! I'm going to share it on my FB fan page, Pirates-n-Princesses. You should check it out!!! :)
Heather

Jenny said...

Wonderful.

SapphireScarlet69 said...

Can i substitute the Cider Vinegar with Apple Cider Vinegar?

Beautiful pictures:D

Joy said...

This is adorable. I love red velvet cake.

Sanjana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sanjana said...

^typo

Drop dead gorgeous. I would love to give it a go but am so scared it won't come out looking as perfect as yours. Maybe I'll just gawk from a distance...

Amanda said...

Beautiful cake. Absolutely love the idea of the crumble topping!

Jordan said...

saw this on tastespotting. it is seriously awesome. thanks for sharing!

Meaghan Luby said...

just lovely! what a great way to use the cake scraps too!

:) thanks for posting
-meg
@ http://www.clutzycooking.blogspot.com

Erika Beth, the Messy Chef said...

So beautiful! Absolutely lovely. I hope your Valentine's Day is just as sweet.

SapphireScarlet69 said...

Just finished Baking this! Turned out great :)

marla said...

This cake is amazing Heather!!! That red is glowing and fabulous. I bet it tastes amazing too. Congrats on Yum magazine, I both kids and adult versions. I must purchase this copy with you in it :) xo

sweet_tooth said...

when i saw this it looks exactly like the one on williams sonoma! I didn't think of carving the cake like you did it looks amazing

Meredith said...

I just happened upon your blog thanks to a link from The Kitchn, and I love it! These desserts look amazing! Red Velvet is my favorite.

Leslie said...

Beautiful!!!! Such a bright red!

Animachine said...

Recently found your blog and I love how pretty this cake is. The red is really vibrant. I'm from Norway, so I never heard of red velvet cake until I moved to the UK, but this post really made me want to make some red velvety cupcakes! Thanks for the inspiration :)

brookie said...

So stunning! I am brand new to ur site and ur newest follower. I am hosting a huge tea party in spring and can't wait to comb ur site for ideas.

Katharine said...

I started making red velvet cake last year and every recipe I found used oil or shortening, which i did not like or want to use. I just substituted it with butter and my recipe it turns out is exactly the same as the recipe you provided EXCEPT i put 2 tbsp cocoa powder. I don't know if it makes a big difference having 1 tbsp instead of 2. But next time i make red velvet I want to try your way of mixing the red food coloring with the cocoa!

Stefania said...

E' splendido questo tuo cuore, ciao !

Jennifurla said...

I wish I had your skills! Everything is made specail here by your great attention to detail. I love the color it leaps of my screen and of course the heart shape makes it extra special.

BAKING COLOURS said...

wow!!...que receta!...me encanto, el red velvet cake es mi materia pendiente, voy a ver si preparo este que me encanto!. besos desde argentina

A Pretty Life in the Suburbs said...

This cake is absolutely stunning! Love it! And love your blog - I'm a new follower!
Jo-Anna

chadizze said...

I'm gonna give this recipe a try today! Going to make a special Cream Cheese Frosting to go along with it. :) Love the photos! Thanks for sharing this recipe and tips!!

Megan said...

My daughter and hubby love red velvet cake but I have yet to find one that I like. This recipe might fix that for me! :) It's a beautiful cake!

Darla @ Bakingdom said...

Stunning! And so much more impressive to know that you cut it by hand, rather than using a heart shaped pan! I really love the crumb coat, it looks like an actual velvet cake! :)

Christina said...

Used your recipe to make cupcakes tonight (so my 3-year old daughter could help) for my husband, and they were delicious! Thanks for sharing!

kaidi said...

I stumbled on your blog a couple weeks ago, and I LOVE looking at the pictures and recipes. This one especially caught my interest, and a couple friends and I decided to try it; I don't know if we did something wrong while following the recipe but it came out with a really overpowering butter aftertaste, and we couldn't eat it (both the cake and the frosting). Maybe we just have different tastes in cake? We still love your blog... just this recipe didn't really work out as we'd hoped.

SprinkleBakes said...

Hi Kaidi!

Thanks so much for the kind words, and thanks for your honest feedback, too! It's a somewhat heavy cake and has a definite buttermilk tang. Some people love it and some people don't. Aside from spoiled ingredients or the like, we may simply have different taste in cakes.

I really hate to hear that you couldn't eat it. There's nothing worse than wasted ingredients- and time! I made someone's recipe today with disastrous results, and had to scrap the entire batch. I can relate to that disappointment.

Thanks to you and your friends for sticking with me regardless! I'm grateful for all dialogue and constructive criticism. It makes me a better baker.

-Heather

Anonymous said...

Just tried it a few moments ago.. and it doesn't work :(

Lauri Anna said...

I came across these after doing a Google search for a "bright red velvet cake" for my daughter's Minnie Mouse 1st birthday party. They came out DELICIOUS, and looked absolutely perfect. Thank you so much for the recipe. The frosting was a bit too sweet for my taste, so I made a cream cheese frosting. They were well-complimented. Thank you for posting, and I look forward to trying some of your other recipes!!

Lauri Anna said...

Oh! I followed the recipe exactly, but made 24 cupcakes and baked for 19 minutes. Thank you again. :)

Nicole said...

I made this for my sister's graduation party tonight. While it took me three tries to get it right (I forgot the leavening the first time and the second time I burned one of the cakes. Even though when I made them cupcakes last week I got it right on the first time) the cake got many many thumbs up. For depth of flavor I always like to add up to a full tablespoon of instant espresso. But that's definitely personal preference. It was delicious!

Beatrice said...

Hi,
thank you so much for this great recipe; I made it for my friend's birthday and he adored it.
However, I was just wondering.. my caked turned out to be more pinkish than red, definitely not the vibrant color you got. Any recommendations?
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

totaly love it!!! one question : how much food coloring should i use if i'm using gel insted of liquid?
thank you...

The Langley Family said...

Just made this cake for a baby shower I'm hosting tomorrow, and it turned out beautifully!! I was nervous, but your recipe was great and it turned out just like the picture. Thank you!!!!

Maria T. said...

I made cupcakes tonight using your recipe, and... words fail me! They were beyond magnificent. Absolutely, incredibly delicious!
Thank you!!!

Annie said...

That's a new take on the meaning of "crumb coating". Strange.

This looks lovely, however. I am fortunate enough to own two heart shaped cake pans, so I don't even have to work as hard. Look forward to trying this for valentine's day.

SprinkleBakes said...

Good for you, Annie! Always nice to have the appropriate pans. You'll probably have to sacrifice a layer if you plan to make the crumb coating since you won't have any cake scraps to crumble. Just thought I'd mention...

Thanks for the comment!

A Girl Named Leney said...

I loved this! Featured it on my Friday Favorite’s post today, hope you don’t mind:)
Check it out if you wish!

http://agirlnamedleney.blogspot.com/2012/02/friday-im-in-love-valentines-day.html

<3 Leney

Anonymous said...

Woww :P i wish to make this fantastic cake for my boyfriend as gift for ours San valentine's day but i'm italian and in italy measures aren't the same of America T.T like the temperatures of ovens too. Then if someone can let me know how many grams answer 2- 8oz of packages of cream cheese and how many cm of diameter a 2 or 3 around 9'' pans is, i'll be very happy :D and i could surprise my boyfriend :D please help meeee ASAP >< San valentine's day is coming :)
Thanks :) and please forgive me for my bad English xD
THANKS :DDD

Anonymous said...

Woww :D is so lovely! I wish to cook this fantastic cake as gift for my boyfriend for ours San Valentine's day, but i'm Italian and in Italy measures are different than the  Americans, like the temperatures of oven too. I've some problems with ounces and the size of the pans i have to use. Then if someone can help me i could make a surprise to make my love happy :D Can you tell me how many grams are : 2- 8oz? And i need to know the diameter of the pans 3 round 9'' too. Please help meeeee! Let me know, i need your help!! :)
I'm waiting for your answear ;) 
Be fast please, San Valentine's day is coming :DD 
Thankss very very very much :DD
P.s.: Please Forgive me for my bad English xD

RecipeGirl said...

Gorgeous, and I'm loving the crumb coating. I've never thought to do that before!

LOMAKOfashion said...

it looks very delicious yami yami

Anonymous said...

I made this yesterday. It was my first time ever making a red velvet cake mostly because my husband hates red velvet cake :) but I was dying to try this recipe! Only thing i did differently was turn them into cake pops. He LOVED it! So much actually that he begged me to make it for the valentines party for his job! :) so thank you for this yummy recipe it is truly the best red velvet cake I have ever had!

Karen Wasem said...

This idea is so cute and i love your pictures!! They are so perfect!!!..
I would be very glad if you check out my blog!.. Hope you like it!..
I wish you a nice day!!!:.

http://cherriesfashionblog.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

the great cake ..thanks for recipe...http://www.coolinarika.com/slika/913453/my frosting is a bit diffrent.

Best regards,
Violeta from Croatia (Europa)

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather, is the cocoa powder unsweetened or sweetened? It's not the dutch process one right? Thanks

SprinkleBakes said...

Hi Anonymous - yes, unsweeted cocoa. And not Dutch process. :)

Thanks!

Veronica said...

i can't wait to make this cake for my sister's bday! red velvet is her favorite!! thanks for the recipe, i'll let you know how it turns out :)

marleenvt said...

Hi Heather,

I was planning on making this cake in a different shape for the policeacademy in the netherlands. Do you think I could use blue liquid foodcolouring instead of red? And will people eat it? haha I'm a little afraid people don't feel as attracted to blue as they will to red ;)

Cheers,
Marleen.

Samantha Strickland said...

Best red velvet I have personally made, although for my taste I think I'll add more cocoa next time. Thanks for a great recipe :)

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growthcomes said...

Thanks for this post. Planning to make this for my daughters birthday next week~!

SEO Company in UK said...

This is perfect for valentine day and I'm going to try it this time. I'm quite sure my boyfriend will be surprise. Thank you for this great idea.

Anonymous said...

How do you mix the food dye in the cocoa powder? I feel like it won't be wet enough.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous! Do you think this could be adapted to cupcakes with a shorter bake time? Not as dramatic, but would be perfect for an upcoming Valentine's Day bake sale.

noora seyadi said...

That is yuuuuuuuuuum but I wish its easy to make as you are saying

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am planning on making this lovely cake for V-day and I was just wondering what type of vinegar i need. I am a little confuse on that one Is it Apple cider vinegar or just look for cider vinegar as mention on the recepi. Thanks!

Avantika arya said...

HEY , IS THERE A WAY I CAN MAKE THIS WITHOUT THE EGGS AND USE SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD?

~ Dani ~ said...

I made this cake yesterday. I have photos. It turned out great! Thank you for such an AWESOME Recipe. I used a heart shaped pan instead, less work. :)

Silvana said...

Wow that cake looks lovely! I love the idea. It's amazing how you make use of the dough that you cut away to get the shape of a heart.

Zainab said...

The first cake I ever baked! Thank you very much for sharing the recipe and detailed instructions. They were very helpful for a novice.

Anonymous said...

It's THE most amazing cake i've ever seen!
I tried to make it, turned out unique in taste but the colour (i used dr.oetker's red) was orange-brown... :( have you got any idea what went wrong?
Thanks
Eva P.

˜˜moi said...

Hey,

I wanted to know how we make buttermilk for this recipe, I live in India and not sure if we get the same buttermilk. Thanks

Heather Baird said...

Here in the US buttermilk is found at the grocery store, but you can make a good substitute using whole milk and vinegar or lemon juice. I recommend the recipe at this link -

http://frugalliving.about.com/od/condimentsandspices/r/Buttermilk_Sub.htm

Carla Jasso said...

This cake is absolutely cute, I tried to cover it crumbs, but I couldn't cover the sides? Could you do a video tutorial for this?
Greetings from Mexico

Anonymous said...

Beautiful.. just found your recipe and blog from Susan at Between naps on the Porch. :)


Erika

Melissa said...

How do you crumb this cake? Do I have to ice it first, like the whole outside too? or do the crumbs just stick to the cake itself?

Heather Baird said...

Hi Melissa - yes, frost the cake first.

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