Kitchen Mailbox: Red Velvet Cake didn't go so smoothly at first
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Southern Style red Velvet Cake.
Click photo for larger image.
It took Kitchen Mailbox more than three weeks to prepare today's dessert, Red Velvet Cake.
Three times we tried to make the cake and each time we failed. The cake crumbled when we tried to remove it from the pan.
Clearly, making this cake was not a piece of cake.
What to do? Call an expert.
Our baking expert is Chef Tom Harmbor, co-owner with Brad Walter of Food Glorious Food in Highland Park. He offered his recipe rather than try to explain why we couldn't make the recipe sent by Kathleen Zechmeister of South Park in response to a request from Wendy Gordon of Rockville, Md.. We followed Chef Harmbor's directions and this time it worked. This cake was picture-perfect and absolutely scrumptious.
It also freezes well after it is assembled and will keep in the refrigerator for several days. It can be served cold or at room temperature, says Chef Harmbor.
The recipe is below.
SOUTHERN RED VELVET CAKE
Yields three 9-inch cake layers (one 9-inch cake assembled)
For the cake
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- Cream cheese frosting (recipe below)
- Ganache topping (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray three 9-inch cake pans with baking spray and line each with a circle of parchment paper. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
Whisk together the buttermilk, red food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla and set aside.
With an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/2 of the liquid, then 1/3 of the dry, then the remaining liquid then the remaining dry. Do this procedure just to combine; DO NOT OVER MIX; mix only until all is nicely combined with no dry or wet areas remaining.
Divide between the pans and spread the batter as level as possible; an offset spatula works great. Tap the pans on the counter to make even more level.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until just barely done. You can test the center of the cakes with a toothpick.
Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in their pans until they reach room temperature. Then, you can place the cakes into refrigerator for 30 minutes for easy removal later. (See note below).
Make cream cheese frosting and assemble the cake with the frosting between the layers and on the top (I leave the edge of the cake exposed to show off the layers; this makes the cake look rustic and homemade. A pastry bag with a 3/8- to 1/2-inch star tip works great to apply the frosting; to pull crumbs into the frosting).
Pour on ganache topping.
Note: To remove the cakes from the pans gently run a butter knife, not a sharp knife, around the edges and invert the cakes onto a parchment-lined cardboard cake circle or something flat. Carefully and slowly remove the parchment paper the cake was baked on. Invert this first cake layer onto a cake plate or cardboard cake round.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature (not too warm)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound sifted powdered sugar
Cream the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer; if using a Kitchen Aid mixer use the paddle attachment. Add vanilla if you like.
With the mixer off add all of the powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on low and mix until just combined.
Note: if you overmix cream cheese frosting it will become runny. On warm days you can place the frosting in the refrigerator to set a bit before assembling the cake.
Heat 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream to just under a boil. Add 1/2 pound of good chocolate and swirl the pan until the chocolate is submerged. Wait one minute and then gently stir until smooth.
Let cool for several minutes, stir again and pour on top of the iced cake.
Refrigerate until set and enjoy.
Lynn Hawker of Shaler: "When I saw the recipe for the meat pies from Smith Bakery, I wondered if the recipe for their fern cakes was available. These were also sold at the Highland Games. They were served in small aluminum tins, about the size of a cupcake. There was about a tablespoon of raspberry jam on the bottom, white cake (perhaps with some ground nuts, I'm not sure) and white glaze icing on the top, not quite covering all the cake top, and a brown fern design on top of that, probably also icing."
First Published May 23, 2007 3:55 pm