Mike likes to tell the story of how, when the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers a few years ago, I ate six cupcakes. Though he makes it sound as if I tucked in to a half-dozen cupcakes at once, the truth is that I did eat six cupcakes. Throughout the day. Not all at once. And it’s not like I make a habit of such things. Anyway…
Red velvet cake is often thought of as Southern, perhaps due to the red velvet armadillo groom’s cake in Steel Magnolias, but its origins are debatable. Some say it was invented at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, while others believe it to be a concoction by Lady Eaton, wife of Canadian department store magnate Sir John Craig Eaton. In any case, most traditional American cookbooks feature a recipe for it. This one is an adaptation from the Back in the Day Bakery cookbook.
Red Velvet Cake
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 ounce liquid red food coloring*
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
*I used 1 2/3 bottles of red food coloring, the kind that come in the four-pack of red, green, blue, and yellow. Nearly every recipe I found called for liquid, not gel food coloring.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, vegetable oil, and sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes, until very thick and light in color.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Add food coloring, cider vinegar, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively, starting and ending with the flour mixture and beating on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, until combined. Once the last addition of the flour mixture is added, beat on medium speed for another 2 minutes.
Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, scoop batter into prepared tins, filling about half full.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting II
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese for 1-2 minutes, until combined. Add vanilla and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.
Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. If you’d like your frosting to be a bit sweeter, add the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
Fit a piping bag with a large plain tip and pipe frosting onto cupcakes.
Store in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.