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Red Velvet Rhapsody

June 22, 2010
by

In my mind there are two kinds of cakes.  There are “Everyday Cakes” and then there are “Celebration Cakes.” But what I require in a celebration cake is that it be a show-stopping masterpiece that compels any onlooker to fawn over the baker in absolute worship.  Enter this Red Velvet Cake. Wilson and I made this cake for a “Two Dessert Tuesday” event with friends. What is special about the recipe is the juicy berries sandwiched between the cake layers and piled high on top. They are not only beautiful in color, but prove to be wonderfully refreshing next to the richness of the cake and the cream cheese frosting.  There’s just no point in preparing a red velvet cake in any other way, as far as I’m concerned. I think the eaters of this cake would agree. Unfairly, I got called “a goddess” while I had to remind everyone that Wilson played an equal role in the cake’s baking.  Poor Wilson. Oh well, we had the last laugh as we shared a generous piece with a huge glass of milk.

Red Velvet Cake with Raspberries and Blueberries

adapted from Bon Appétit

We substituted quartered strawberries in for some of the blueberries and raspberries. They’re generally less expensive and seemed silly to exclude. Also, we used about a cup less of powdered sugar in the frosting and found it to have just the right sweetness and maintained a wonderful creamy texture.

Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs

Frosting

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 1/2-pint baskets fresh raspberries
  • 3 1/2-pint baskets fresh blueberries

For cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely. For frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over top of cake. Arrange 1 basket raspberries and 1/2 basket blueberries atop frosting, pressing lightly to adhere. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange remaining berries decoratively over top of cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

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