When you think about it, Red velvet is an odd cake. Essentially, It’s just a faintly chocolatey cake inexplicably dyed red. And yet, there’s a little more going on than meets the eye. The cake contains buttermilk and vinegar…two ingredients that naturally reveal the hints of red inherently found in cocoa and help to make the cake moist, light, and fluffy. Even if the red color is unnecessary I will say that it adds something luxurious and romantic to the look and eating experience of the cake.
Red Velvet cake is traditionally a southern recipe so when I was researching this recipe I asked my dear Southern foodie friend for advice and she suggested using apple cider vinegar instead of the white vinegar that is called for in most recipes…a good tip! I decided to add a little coffee because it always deepens the chocolate flavor and adds a little more flavor complexity. The cake turned out moist yet light with a richness from the cocoa and a little zing from the buttermilk. This was my first time making Red Velvet cake (full disclosure!) but it definitely won’t be my last…and I’ll use this exact same recipe!
How could you not pair a juicy red wine with red velvet cake? It begs to be done and this did not disappoint! This Malbec was rich and juicy with a hint of coffee (perfect with the coffee in the cake!), blueberry, spice and chocolate flavors. The wine seemed to complete the cake…when I took a bite of the cake with a sip of the wine I couldn’t stop myself from mmmm-ing. It was a great contrast to the sweetness of the cake while complementing the coffee and chocolate flavors.
Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Matt’s Burning Rosids Imperial Cherrywood-Smoked Saison, Stone Brewing Company
Rating: 8.25 out of 10.0
Quite honestly, I’ve been sick for close to a week and am in no position to be rating anything since I can’t really taste anything… I will have to rely on what Katryn told me about this beer and and how it was with the cake that she baked. The beer has a light, earthy sweetness that played up the cocoa flavors and hints of spice and citrus that complemented the buttermilk in the cake and tangy cream cheese in the frosting. This beer is full-bodied so it managed to stand up to the richness inherent to a red velvet cake…not an easy task!
Red Velvet Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus one tablespoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons to 1 bottle red food coloring
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder, dissolved in 1 TBS. warm water
1. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. In another mixing bowl, beat the sugar and oil together until well blended. A standing or hand-held mixer works best for this. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well between additions. (Blend the last one in until the mixture is smooth.)
4. Blend in food coloring, vanilla, vinegar and coffee. Scrape bowl down with a rubber spatula.
Alternately blend in flour and buttermilk, (starting and ending with the flour) using about a third of each at a time and scraping sides of bowl a couple of times. Make sure not to overbeat or use the electric mixer on high — this will toughen the cake.
5. Immediately pour into prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. On a wire rack, cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on rack. Frost the cake with the cream cheese icing.
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.