Monday, July 2, 2012

Simply Red Velvet Cake

Lydia's Red Velvet Cake

True Red Velvet cake should be a work of art, chocolate art.  So many of the recipes nowadays call for minimal chocolate and lots of red dye.  Not to mention the pain this causes your kidneys, it doesn’t taste like much.  So here is a simple and delicious recipe that uses naturally sourced ingredients (no Red #40 here—try using beet juice instead).  Enjoy!

Waldorf Astorian Red Velvet Cake & Frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ounces of beet juice*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 6 Tablespoons dark (70% or better) cocoa powder

To Make the Cake:
  1. Mix the baking soda and vinegar in a small cup.  Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, gradually adding the eggs until blended.
  3. Make a paste of the cocoa powder and 1 oz. beet juice.  Add to the butter mixture, and then add the other 1 oz of juice.
  4. Alternating ingredients, blend in the buttermilk, salt and flour.
  5. Add the vanilla extract.  Stir the baking soda/vinegar mix well and add to the creamed mixture.  Be careful not to overbeat.
  6. Pour the batter into 2 greased and paper lined 9 inch layer pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 -40 mins.
  7. Cool thoroughly and then split the layers in half crosswise to create 4 thin layers.  Assemble and Frost the cooled cake. Best served at room temperature or stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day.
To Make the Frosting:
  • 5 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup white granulted sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Measure milk into a tightly sealed jar, and add flour.  Shake well.
  2. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat to create a thick paste, stirring constantly.
  3. Set aside to cool until cold.  Process can be sped up by placing in fridge.
  4. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla; add the flour paste.
  5. Beat until the consistency resembles whipped cream; use to assemble the cake by alternating layers of cake and frosting, then coating the top and sides.
Red Velvet cake got its start in the kitchens of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in NYC around 1940, or so the story goes.  Rumor has it that a curious socialite requested the recipe, and when she was initially denied access without paying $100 for the privilege, she threw the mother of all tantrums to get it.  Once it was in her devious little hands, she shared it with the world, and the Southern staple of weddings for years to come was taken across the Mason Dixon again.

*Beet juice can be bought at many natural health food stores or you can make your own.  Buy one large beet ( weighing 8 to 10 oz.) from the produce section of your supermarket and remove the greens.  Wash the beet well, and poke a few holes into the root to speed the cooking process.  Immerse the beet in water at a rolling boil for 15 mins or until the water turns a nice purplish pink color.  Remove the beet and use the juice left behind.

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