My younger child Neil remains somewhat of an enigma to me. Every time I think I have him figured out he takes me by surprise. Today on his eleventh birthday he had his heart set on a Red Velvet cake with a simple cream cheese filling. Still reeling from my trip to India and having to play catch up, I tried to tempt him with store-bought ganache filled chocolate cakes and vanilla cakes with 6 inches of icing but to no avail. So Red Velvet it was....
I used a recipe which claims its origins to the Waldorf Astoria, but I played with the recipe and made a few small variations. A red velvet cake is a deep red color which is atributed to the soda reacting to the cocoa. In times of scarcity, beets were commonly used for their color but lately red food coloring has become an accepted way of getting the deep red color which is characteristic of this cake. It is not very different from a chocolate cake or a Devil's food cake in terms of taste because of the cocoa but it's bright red color set against the cream cheese frosting does give the cake a certain edge. So here's to a 11 year old with discerning taste buds..
Happy Birthday Neil!
1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp red food color
2 tbsp cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the pan by lining it with parchment paper. Cream the shortening and sugar together till creamy. Add the eggs one at a time making sure to incorporate it well.
2. Mix the food color and the cocoa together and add to the creamed mixture.
3. Combine the flour and the salt. Continue mixing on low adding the buttermilk and the flour alternately.
4. Add in the vanilla. Mix the soda to the vinegar and it to the batter.
5. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
12 oz cream cheese
6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup icing sugar
1. Cream the butter and cream cheese till light and fluffy.
2. Add in the vanilla and icing sugar and mix on low. Cover cake with frosting with a palette knife and pipe on decorations with a star nozzle.