Red Velvet Birthday Cake

My uncle Craig’s birthday was yesterday. You may not know this about¬† my family, or maybe you do — I don’t remember mentioning it — but we have a weekly dinner for all the local extended family.

Since it was my uncle’s birthday on Thursday, I asked my mom, “What’s Craig’s favorite cake? Someone has to make him a cake!” Of course, because it’s one of the more difficult cakes to make, she said “Red velvet… (pause)… but he’ll love any cake you make!”

Challenge accepted. (Make a red velvet.)

I used a recipe from “Pinch My Salt.” I swapped out the cake flour for regular AP flour + corn starch (1 cup cake flour = 1 cup – 2 tablespoons AP flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch. The substitution worked out well for this particular cake.) Since I only had an hour and a half, I baked a 9×13 cake, rather than a layer cake. I had a ton of leftover icing because I didn’t have to use any between layers, so I snacked on it. It happens to taste phenomenal on brownie brittle.

My slightly altered Red Velvet Cake recipe:

2 1/2 cups minus 5 tbsp AP flour
5 tbsp cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 oz. red food coloring + 1 oz water
1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup room temperature buttermilk (You can find dry, cultured buttermilk by your dried milk at the grocery store.)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350*F. Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix the cocoa powder, food coloring and water in a small bowl (until no lumps exist). Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and then add the eggs, vanilla extract and half the buttermilk — mix, mix, mix. Add half the flour — mix, mix, mix. Add the food coloring and the rest of the butter milk. Mix, mix, mix and add the rest of the flour. Mix, mix, mix.

There’s lots of mixing. I used my kitchen aid to save my arm.

At the very end, combine the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl, it will bubble, and add this to the batter.

That’s right, you get to mix the batter even more.

Pour it into a 9×13″ cake pan and bake for 25-35 minutes,¬† until a toothpick (or knife) stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing. (If you’re pressed for time — 25 minutes in the freezer will help!)

My (very slightly altered) Cream Cheese Icing recipe:

16 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt

Cream the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Mix between each addition with an electric mixer (or a spoon if you hate yourself that much).

Spread on the cooled cake. DIG IN!

Original recipe can be found by following this link: