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The Perfect Red Velvet Cake

Updated: Jan 12

Passed down through the decades from Good Southern Women, this recipe is from my great-grandmother who got it from her church friends, and bless their lovely souls. I added a few of my touches and I promise you, it will not disappoint.


 

 


Yield is 2 8" rounds

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of cake flour

  • 1 rounded tablespoon of Dutch-Press Cocoa Powder. *Less acidic than regular cocoa powder

  • A pinch of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) *Room Temperature

  • 1 cup of Sweetened Condensed Milk

  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla

  • 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar

  • Double Strength liquid red food coloring. I get this one at Smart & Final and it works wonders.

  • 1 cup of store-bought butter milk *Room Temperature

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Two sticks of unsalted butter (1 cup) *Room Temperature

  • 1 8oz package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese *Room Temperature

  • 3-4 cups of powdered sugar

  • A pinch of salt

  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by sifting all of your dry ingredients together in a large bowl and give it a stir with a whisk. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the stick of butter with the sweetened condensed milk. Add your vanilla and white vinegar and food coloring. You can add more food coloring at the end if the color isn't as vibrant as you'd like.


Drizzle in about 1/3 of the butter milk and let that mix, then add in about 1/3 of your dry ingredients. Repeat this by alternating thirds of dry mix and buttermilk while the batter mixes. This will develop the gluten and promote that beautiful crumb structure. Scrape down the sides and mix a few more times until everything is well incorporated.


Butter and flour two 8" round cake pans. Good old butter and flour is the best insurance policy in my opinion. Even cake release doesn't work as well sometimes. Fill each cake pan about 2/3rds of the way full and bake for exactly 30 minutes. Touch the tops to check if they spring back. If they're mushy on top, bake longer a little longer but only in 3- minute increments.


Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. When completely cool, shave off the tops with a very sharp knife (not serrated, it will drag the crumb) Crumble up the extra cake and set aside for decorating.


For the icing:

In a bowl of a stand mixer, whip together butter and cream cheese until very smooth and fluffy. Add in your vanilla, pinch of salt, and powdered sugar one-cup at time until it is to your desired sweetness. I like mine on the tangier side, so I don't add as much sugar.


Take your bottom layer of cake and place it right side up and spread cream cheese frosting over top. Take the second layer of cake and flip it over so that the top is perfectly flat. Scrape icing around the sides or ice it as desired. I have no decorating skills so this is the best I can do. Put a large dollop of icing on top and smooth it out. Sprinkle the crumbs on top and voila! Dig right in or let it chill in the fridge for a bit for an extra pretty slice.


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