Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's Cooking Wednesday - Red Velvet Cake with the Super-Special Frosting

It's birthday season at my house! John turned 10 last Saturday, Daniel will turn 8 on Friday, and then in another three weeks or so James will turn 12. So I have been thinking about birthday cakes. Almost every birthday cake we have had through the years has been homemade. I usually let the birthday child choose what type of cake he wants. Occasionally, I have actually decorated cakes, like the famous Pooh or Bob the Builder cakes of the past, or the baseball, soccer, race car varieties with some plastic figures stuck on top. Now that I think about it, this week could be my last chance to make the figure eight race car track cake that is just right for a boy's eighth birthday! Hmmm...But most often there is just a yummy cake with candles, which our children have always been happy with, thankfully!

The absolute favorite cake, the one most-often chosen by birthday children and adults in my family, and the go-to cake for our Christmas Eve feast is the Red Velvet Cake, made from Edwin's mom, Gail's recipe. Here is what Gail had to say about it:
The recipe was one of Grandma Helen’s. I think she pulled it out of a women’s magazine (Home & Garden, probably). The first I remember it was a Christmas when I was 10 or so. It was the most beautiful cake I had ever seen…and tasted pretty good, too. She was always trying out new recipes on us. Some made the cut and some didn’t. Obviously, the red velvet cake did. Many people make a similar cake now, but they always use the cream cheese frosting…not as good as the other, I think, but easier.
The cake may be a fairly standard recipe for red velvet cake, but the ICING! This is what makes all the difference. Like Gail said, most people frost red velvet cake with a cream cheese frosting. But our family heirloom cake is topped with a yummy, creamy icing that has no cream cheese, but plenty of milk, butter, and sugar. It is smooth and creamy, and holds up very well in the refrigerator (or on the garage workbench if it happens to be Christmas in Minnesota and there is no room in the refrigerator!). Actually, I believe this cake is better a couple of days after you make it, which makes it perfect for making ahead of time (Something I love to do with most things, but hardly ever seem to do with this cake. But we always think it tastes better on day 2 or 3, if it lasts that long!). 

Read on for the recipe!

Gail and Grandma Helen's Red Velvet Cake with Super-Special Frosting
1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp cocoa
2 ounces liquid red food coloring
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
Cream shortening and sugar, then add eggs.  Make a paste with cocoa and food coloring; then add to mixture.  Add salt and flour with buttermilk and vanilla, and mix well.  Finally, alternately add soda and vinegar - do not beat hard, just blend.  Divide batter into 2  or 3 eight-inch cake pans (well-greased) and bake at 350 for 15-25 minutes.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to cool on wire racks.  If you make 2 layers, you can split each layer for a total of four layers (think, more icing!).  This is a little bit hard to do, so I usually just make 3 layers.  Either way, it turns out to be a big, tall cake!
Frosting: (This is 1.5 times the original recipe and will probably be more than you need, but it is sad to not have enough!)
4-1/2 tbsp flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
In a medium saucepan, cook flour and milk on low-medium heat until thick, stirring or whisking constantly.  Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.  Meanwhile, cream sugar and butter with vanilla until fluffy.  Add the cooked and cooled flour mixture, and beat until mixture is like whipped cream.  Store the frosted cake and left-over icing in the refrigerator.




Debbie S said...

Looks yummy! I never knew there could be flour in frosting.

I'll have to try this sometime when I fast for two days before and after. :-)

Gail said...

Gramdma Helen would be pleased and proud.

Tracey said...

Testing, 1,2,3...

Tracey said...

Testing, 1,2,3...