Ohhhh guys. Guys guys guys. I think I know how Pandora felt. I think I know what it feels like to wield untold power and to unleash something truly dangerous into the world. But also something beautiful. Except instead of unleashing suffering and hope, I’ve given to myself the power of making red velvet cake. Like any fucking time I want. Like all the fucking time, maybe. Probably.
I was a latecomer to the red velvet scene. The first red velvet I had was right before christmas, from the magical Sprinkles cupcake truck. It was, I don’t know, what’s the word? It was life-altering? Is that what I’m trying to say? I’ll never ever be the same ever again? I think that’s the sentiment I’m trying to get across here.
And now I’ve gone and taken red velvet from this far-away, seldom-seen luxury into this…accessible thing. A possible every-so-often thing. A whenever I feel like it thing. Do you know what the problem with that is? I kind of always feel like it. Like right now I’m thinking about red velvet again. And right now. And now. It never ends.
And then there’s like, 2/3 of a heart-shaped 4-layer red velvet cake in my fridge. It’s just SITTING there. And it used to be a whole heart 4-layer red velvet cake like 15 minutes ago. And I can’t stop thinking about it. About how nice it would be just to sit here and watch this Harry Potter movie on tv and eat some red velvet cake and maybe finish off that bottle of cheap wine I got the other night. It’s consuming me. Or, the other way around.
Which is what my life is going to be like from now on I guess. Because I’ve unleashed this monster and now I have to deal with its presence in my life. Red velvet cake is real to me now. It’s a thing that exists and that I can make exist. Like really fucking easily. My god. What have I done?
[So this blog The Way the Cookie Crumbles did a really thorough comparison of 4 different red velvet cakes, and I made the one she found the best. I was obviously not disappointed, but maybe you’d want to try a different one, I don’t know, who are you anyway, do I know you?]
Makes 1 8-inch 3-layer cake (or like 24 mini cupcakes and 8 regular cupcakes and a 4-layer baby heart cake)
For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
For the frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 ounces butter, softened
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1½ cups chopped pecans (optional)
1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.
3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
4. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8″ round cake pans.
5. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely.
6. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes.
4. Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, level off with a serrated knife, and spread one-quarter of the frosting on top. Set another layer on top, level, and repeat frosting. Set remaining layer on top, level, and frost top and sides with the remaining frosting. Press pecans into the sides of the cake, if desired. **Tip: after leveling cake, turn it upside down to reduce numbers of crumbs. I also did a crumb coat on the outside, let it set for ten minutes, then finished with remaining frosting.
5. Chill for 2 hours to set frosting.