Adam’s Extract claims the Red Velvet Cake as their own invention, and I have no doubt. Other’s claim the recipe as their creation, but those institutions are non-Texan, so in my Texas-centric book, they don’t count.
A Texas Classic
If you know anything about Texas food, you know about Adam’s Extract. Since 1888, Adam’s Extract has been in every pantry and kitchen cupboard. In addition to richly flavorful extracts, Adam’s Extract also make a wide array of food colorings. I use their vanilla all the time, and I even have some very old bottles of vanilla of my grandmothers’ that I use as props.
You will need quite a bit of red food coloring to make this classic Red Velvet Cake and just a hint of cocoa, which gives the cake an incredibly fine crumb. I have paired the cake with a classic cream cheese frosting, but even a simple glaze will do for this rich, velvety cake.
Double the Recipe for 4 Layer Cake
This recipe produces a 2-layer cake, but for the photo I made a double recipe in order to make a 4-layer cake. The frosting recipe can be made in the same quantity whether you make a 2 or 4 layer cake. I stole the frosting recipe from my Hummingbird Cake recipe. Several recipes in my research for Red Velvet Cake used a simple powdered sugar glaze, but I like the extra creaminess of a cream cheese-based buttercream. I think it makes the red velvet effect just a bit more velvety.
One of my favorite movie scenes is the armadillo shaped wedding cake in Steel Magnolias. Under the grey, armadillo colored frosting is Red Velvet Cake…a little gory, but super hilarious! We love armadillos in Texas and we also love our classic cakes, but most of all, we love a fun presentation at the table. No matter how your cake is shaped and frosted, a classic Red Velvet Cake is always a treat for the whole family!Print
Red Velvet Cake
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 35
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 16 servings 1x
4 oz butter, softened (115g)
1 ½ cups sugar (300g)
2 tsp. cocoa powder (4g)
2 ¼ cups cake flour (288g)
1 tsp. salt (4g)
1 cup buttermilk (240ml)
2 fluid ounces red food coloring (60ml)
2 tsp. vanilla (10ml)
1 tsp. baking soda (6g)
1 tsp. white vinegar (5ml)
12 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened (340g)
6 oz butter, cut into cubes and softened (173g)
2 tsp. vanilla extract (10ml)
1 lb. powdered sugar (500g)
Heat your oven to 350°F (176°C). Prepare two 9” (23cm) round cake pans by greasing and flouring them. You may choose to line the inside bottom of pan with a round of parchment paper for easier release once the cakes are baked.
In the bowl of an electric mixture, cream together the butter and sugar for about 1 minute. Add the eggs and continue to cream for another minute.
In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Set aside. Incorporate alternate portions of the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture into the creamed butter and egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula, make sure that all of the dry ingredients that cling to the inside of the bowl are incorporated.
Once the batter is well combined, mix the baking soda and vinegar together in a small bowl and stir immediately into the cake batter. Mix well and then pour equal portions of the batter into the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick come out clean from the center.
Remove the cake pans from the oven, allow to cool about 5 minutes and then remove the cakes from the pans. Allow to cool on wire racks.
Meanwhile, make the frosting by creaming together the softened cream cheese and butter cubes. Add the vanilla. Stir in the powdered sugar a spoonful at a time until all is incorporated. Beat with a mixer for about 1 minute. When the cake is completely cool, frost the cake.
You can make a half-sized Red Velvet Cake by pouring all of the cake batter into a greased and floured 4 cup mold and baking for 30-35 minutes. Here is the adjusted ingredient list.
2 oz butter, softened (57g)
3/4 cups sugar (150g)
1 tsp. cocoa powder (2g)
1 1/8 cups cake flour (144g)
1/2 tsp. salt (2g)
1/2 cup buttermilk (120ml)
1 fluid ounces red food coloring (30ml)
1 tsp. vanilla (5ml)
1/2 tsp. baking soda (3g)
1/2 tsp. white vinegar (3ml)
6 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened (170g)
3 oz butter, cut into cubes and softened (87g)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (5ml)
8oz powdered sugar (250g)