Red Velvet Cake

This is a cake to stop traffic. The layers are an improbable red that can vary from a fluorescent pink to a dark ruddy mahogany. The color, often enhanced by buckets of food coloring, becomes even more eye-catching set against clouds of snowy icing, like a slash of glossy lipstick framed by platinum blond curls. Even the name has a vampy allure: red velvet. These days this Southern favorite is found in just about every bakery, but perhaps for a special occasion (like the very red and white Valentine’s Day) you could try your hand at baking it.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 ½ cups cake flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 ½ teaspoons white vinegar
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (12 servings)

      655 calories; 39 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 23 grams monounsaturated fat; 10 grams polyunsaturated fat; 71 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 38 grams sugars; 6 grams protein; 50 milligrams cholesterol; 568 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

3 cake layers

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place teaspoon of butter in each of 3 round 9-inch layer cake pans and place pans in oven for a few minutes until butter melts. Remove pans from oven, brush interior bottom and sides of each with butter and line bottoms with parchment.
  2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
  3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
  4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.
  5. Divide batter among pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, flip layers over and peel off parchment. Cool completely before frosting.

1 hour 30 minutes

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