Red Velvet Cake (aka Utterly Ridiculous Cake) from Velvet Lava Cafe

Now, we need to chat a bit about this little beauty. This is a moist cake, with a fantastic "mouth-feel". There are many "imitation" Red Velvet/Waldorf Cakes out there - it makes me a little batty, thinking of all those fakes out there luring folks in with their buttercream this and their cream cheese that. The frosting may be a tad high maintenance, but is *so* worth it - and, if you *did* covet Red Velvet as a kid, but often wonder why it just doesn't taste the same as way-back-when...this is your recipe, from way back when. 


3 tsp. cocoa (not dutch), heaping
1.5 oz. red food coloring (about 3 tbs.)
1/2 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 tbs. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. flour (all-purpose)
1 c. buttermilk (room temp., if possible)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbs. vinegar, white

Frosting (I usually double this recipe, and strongly recommend it)
1/3 c. flour, all purpose
1 c. milk
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 tbs. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, placing baking position to middle rack. This recipe can be used for (2) 9-inch or 8-inch pans, or 24 cupcakes; butter and flour inside of pans, then line bottom of pans with parchment paper - or - line cupcake tins with liners.

Batter: In small bowl, combine cocoa and food coloring - making a runny paste, set aside. Using hand-held mixer, combine shortening and sugar, cream until combined; then add eggs 1 at a time - beat until combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add red paste, beat until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and salt, beat until incorporated. Add 1 cup flour, beat just until combined; add all of the buttermilk, beat until combined; add remaining cup of flour, beat justuntil combined. Do NOT overmix. Sprinkle the baking soda over the top of the batter; pour the vinegar over the top of the batter. Gently fold these last 2 ingredients in by hand - do NOT beat. Pour batter into pans or cupcake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tester that is inserted into middle of cakes comes out clean; cupcakes should bake for 18-20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Place cakes on cooling rack to cool, then remove from pans. Frost once completely cooled.

Frosting: Prepare a cooling bath. Fill a sink or large, wide container/pan with ice water; have a medium bowl ready to cool the flour mixture. In medium saucepan, over medium heat (4-5) - add milk and flour, stirring occasionally at first and then almost constantly as the mixture begins to warm and thicken. Attentive stirring later in the cooking process will preventunbreakable "lumps" from forming while the flour and milk begin to combine. Mixture will continue to thicken, bring the consistency just past pudding stage, where it begins to get a bit gummy. Take the mixture off the heat and pour into the waiting medium bowl. Stir vigorously and place bottom of bowl into cooling bath to speed cooling, stirring every few minutes to avoid big lumps, until mixture cools.

In large bowl, beat shortening and butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until incorporated and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt, beat until completely incorporated. When cooled, add the flour mixture and beat, at high speed, until completely incorporated - for 5 minutes. When cake has completely cooled, frost cake to your heart's desire!

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