Monday, February 9, 2009

My Red Velvet Valentine

Red Velvet Cake

To all my red velvet cake fans out there...this one's for you.

What is it about red velvet cake that makes people's hearts go pitter-patter? Is it the rich red hue of the cake? Is it the combination of light chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting? Who knows.
All I know is that ever since I started making this cake, I've pretty much stopped making my other cake flavors. This is the ONLY cake my friends and family ask for over and over again.

What is red velvet cake? Well, my best description would be it's a moist vanilla cake with a hint of chocolate. It's tinted red and typically covered with cream cheese frosting. It's not clear where the cake originated from but it's been very popular in the southern part of the United States for decades. I think the recent buzz surrounding red velvet cake has to do with all the celebrity weddings and the fact that Oprah featured the cake in O magazine.

I started making this cake last year when my cousin asked me if I could make a red velvet cake for his wedding. I tried several recipes from books and online, but I wasn't very happy with any of them. So I finally decided to create my own recipe.

I strayed a little bit away from the traditional ingredients used in red velvet cake, but I found that these changes made a big difference in the taste and texture of the cake. I used butter instead of oil because, honestly, it tasted better. I initially started using buttermilk but I switched to whole milk vanilla yogurt because it was less tangy yet it made the cake just as tender. Lastly, I completely omitted vinegar because I felt that the yogurt had just enough acidity in it for the baking soda to react with.

I hope you and your loved ones fall in love with my red velvet cake just as much as my friends and family did.

Red Velvet Cake
Allergy note: contains eggs, wheat and dairy

1 1/2 cups butter, softened to room temperature*
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
1 ounce red food coloring (liquid or gel)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract*
3 1/4 cups flour
3 Tbs. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans or line three muffin pans with cupcake liners.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Combine yogurt, red food coloring and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Alternate adding the yogurt mixture and flour mixture into the large bowl. Pour batter into prepared pans or lined muffin pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes (15-20 minutes for cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.

*UPDATE (3/31/10): Instead of vanilla yogurt, I've also tried using 1 1/2 cups whole milk mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and it has worked just as good if not better.
Also, I've discovered that switching from 1 1/2 cup softened butter to 3/4 cup melted butter plus 3/4 cup vegetable oil gave the RV cake a light texture and kept it moist.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Alllergy Note: contains dairy ingredients

16 oz. (two 8 oz. bars) cream cheese, cold
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon extract (optional)
7 cups powdered sugar, measure then sift

With the mixer on a low speed, beat the cream cheese and butter till blended. Mix in vanilla and lemon extract. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time. Once all the powdered sugar is added, increase to a higher speed to whip up the frosting till light and fluffy.

70 comments:

Cake Artisan said...

Oh Yes!! I have been looking for a recipe for red velvet and I'm pinning my hopes on yours. From the photo it looks moist and delicious. I've tried a few I found at food sites online but frankly they just didn't do it for me. I know this will be fabulous and THANK YOU so much for sharing your recipe with us all. I'll let you know how it turns out. I hope I still have yoghurt in the fridge to make it NOW! :-)

Anonymous said...

OH MAN! THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD MY BUDS ARE GOING NUTS TO TRY THIS RECIPE! JEJEJEJEJEJE THIS WILL BE A MUST TRY FOR VALANTINES DAY! NOW QUICK QUESTION....HOW ON EARTH DID YOU MAKE THAT SMALL, PERFECTLY ROUND CAKE? DID YOU USE CUTTERS? I LOVE YOUR PRESENTATION OF THIS CAKE!
Sue <3

cookienurse said...

Sounds like a great recipe to try! I don't like red velvet cake because it is too tangy for my tastebuds but this sounds perfect!

Angela said...

I've never made or tasted a Red Velvet Cake before, but your photo and version of the recipe is making me look forward to trying some. It's bookmarked.

Anne said...

I love red velvet cakes and I would definitely bookmark your recipe for future use :)

It's so cute and pretty!

lisaiscooking said...

Your cake looks beautiful, and your recipe changes sound great. There is something about red velvet . . .

Christine aka Mistress of Cakes said...

Um...yeah..HUGE RED VELVET FAN HERE!!!! Great job!

Ingrid said...

MMMMMMM, I love red velvet but have yet to make one myself. Yet, another recipe to add to my must make list. I wish I didn't work.....:-)
~ingrid

katy said...

i never thought i liked red velvet cake, but i ate it recently and turns out i do! this looks amazing -- i love the double layer!

Snooky doodle said...

I can't beleive I ve never tried this cake. Have to try this recipe especilally since it will look so nice to make e red heart shaped cake for Valentine:) You re amazing

Betsy said...

I love red velvet cake! My wedding cake was red velvet. I can't wait to try your recipe for Valentine's Day.

duodishes said...

RV is the best! Especially when it looks so cute like that one.

Art of Dessert said...

Thanks everyone! I hope you like my recipe :-)

Sue - I baked the cake in a sheet pan and used a 2-inch cookie cutter to make mini red velvet cakes. I used a star tip to pipe the cream cheese frosting. I made a tray of these for a dinner party and they were just the perfect size.

Anonymous said...

linked here from tastespotting:

Your instructions say mix the vanilla and lemon extract, but the ingredients do not list lemon extract. I agree that lemon extract is exactly what cream cheese frosting needs, I first saw this on a website dedicated to cloning a Cinnabon.

Also i think your allergy notes directly above the list of ingredients is funny. I guess it is for people who don't know flour is wheat and cream cheese is dairy :)

Paula Maack said...

What a gorgeous photograph!!!

I love red velvet cake, and especially red velvet cupcakes. My recipe is very similar to yours, but I use cake flour.

I just blogged about an aphrodisiac infused Valentines Day picnic at home here, should you be interested.

Happy Valentines Day!!

~ Paula

Navita said...

oh the pic looks endearing...i m planning to make this soon.:)

Anonymous said...

After reading recipe yesterday , I thought I would give it a go. Being from Australia we dont have Red velvet cake.Now I know why. Wont be making again wasnt worth the effort.

niagaragirl said...

I am starting to see Red Velvet appear in restaurants. Great job here.

Megan Vieno said...

OH MY GOD! If this cake tastes anything like the batter, it is going to be the BEST cake I've ever made!!! WOW...I hope it tastes this good after it's out of the oven and cool.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for posting it...I had a friend ask me to do a b-day cake for her friend and she wanted red velvet and I've never made it...I was freaking out haha THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

-Megan
cocoa-love.blogspot.com

Sam said...

Dont you post comments unless they're possitive?

zakiah said...

wow..i'm definitely gonna try this recipe. probably the 1st red velvet recipe that uses yogurt instead the usual buttermilk+vinegar that i've come across.my red velvet has been a disaster so far *sigh*

how's the texture btw? i'm guessing moister cause of the yogurt?

anyways, thanks for sharing this recipe!:)

Christelle said...

Fabulous blog, I can't believe I did not spot it earlier!!!
I frst spotted the photo on flickr. The red of the cake is so beautiful!!!

A Little Sugar said...

can't wait to try it! I have been stuck on my "tried and true" red velvet for a few yrs now, time to mix it up!

A Little Sugar said...

I tried the cream cheese frosting! The first time I did it, fabulous ! The second time I did it the cream cheese/butter mixture curdled (it did the first time too but came together fairly quickly). It has happened before when I use butter that's not completely room temp so I know that adding the cold element changes the consistency. I usually just put my frosting bowl on the top of the stove to heat it a little from the oven warmth and it's just enough to bring it together. It didn't work this time and I ended up with grainy soup...seemed no amount of powdered sugar thickened it up...any suggestions? the flavor was REALLY GOOD and I still had my usual finger full for myself! ;)

djavellana said...

Rianne, Thank you for the recipe, I am so happy I found you. This is the best recipe of red velvet cake, very delicious and moist.
I have several questions for you:
- what brand of red food coloring do you use? 1 ouce is equivalent to 2 T. do I really have to use this much? I use Americolor.
-how long do you whip the cream cheese frosting on high to get the light and fluffy consistency.

So far, all my cakes and cupcakes are perfect but I still want to find out answers to these questions. I hope that you can help me.
Salamat!!!
Dorothy

Art of Dessert said...

A Little Sugar - Warming the frosting usually does the trick. Hmmmm...the frosting might have gotten too warm. Try cooling it in the fridge for a few minutes and then beat it again.

djavellana- I've tried liquid (McCormick's), gel (Wilton) and paste (Baker's Preferred). They all work great but I've grown to like the Baker's Preferred paste in Super Red because it creates a deep red and I only use maybe a 1/2 teaspoon or so. As for the cream cheese frosting, I usually beat it for about 5 minutes - it really depends on the mixer you're using (some take shorter or longer).

mumay said...

very nice photograph ! and i'm i big red velvet fan...i will try this..thank you very much for sharing ! :)

Rumela said...

This Red Velvet Cake looks Scrumptious with the colors, I'm sure it'll be a big hit with the kids! Nice colors! Although I'm to a big fan of Velvet Cake, this sure looks yummy! I'm normally the one that will say no to Velvet Cake.

Vee said...

your wedding cakes..superb..can i have your contact number..my engagement coming soon!!hehe

Anonymous said...

wonderful~
I'm curious on how did the topping always look so beautiful on the cupcakes. no bubbles VERY smooth~ and most of all... what type of piper are you using?? is there some kind of special technics??

from Ling

JEM said...

I saw this on tastespotting last Feb. and made it for Valentine's Day. It was a HUUUUUGE hit. This is now the go-to favorite cake at our house. I have no doubt I'll be using this recipe for the rest of my life. Thanks so much for posting.

Art of Dessert said...

Hi Ling! I use a star pastry tip, 824, 825 or 826(check "My Favorite Tools" on the left hand menu). As for my technique, I start my swirl in the center, work my way around and then finish off right on top of where I started so the center has a little bit of height.

Hi JEM! I'm so glad you and your family love the red velvet cake.

Ali Woods said...

I spotted your picture on flickr a few weeks ago, then about 2 days later got a request for Red Velvet Cake for a wedding cake and cupcakes, great timing!

I'm just trialling this recipe today, and coming out of the oven it looks superb.

Bit gutted I used all my red gel colouring though to get the oz of colouring, eek, might use less expensive liquid form next time, though I am loving the deep rich red that has come from the gel!

Thank you for blogging this!

rosa heidler said...

The photo looks Amazing!! I've been trying to find a recipe for RV..none of them have been great. They've all been really dry, missing some component or too oily. This recipe sounds like the one, looks really moist!! Curious if you've had the ones from Sp...kles and if they taste like them?

Anyhow, you are talented!!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see the mini cake of RV... I'd like to try the recipe but it should be with the icing, however, need to know the equivalent tip of star pastry tip 824 in wilton brand... Thanks and hope you can help.

Art of Dessert said...

The closest Wilton tip equivalent I could think of is the 1M large open star tip (#2110)

Anonymous said...

that was quick reply! Thank you so much. try it this wkend.

Anonymous said...

Hi
I stumble on your blog looking at pictures in Flickr . I ve yet to try Red Velvet cake coming from Australia we don't hear of this cake often
but yah you have convince that I should try your recipe as the photo looks divinely mouth watering .Thanks for sharing . I will endeavour some baking ....

桂綸鎂Diana said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
謝謝你的文章分享,請你有空到我

參觀,Thanks

桂綸鎂Diana said...

it's beautiful!I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
謝謝你的文章分享,請你有空到我

參觀,Thanks

novia said...

hi ..
i just amazed by your amazing dessert. i put your as one of my fave. i hope it is ok.

Anonymous said...

Hi ...
Is the flour used plain or self raising and can you convert the cups to grams or oz please i have had several dismal attempts at a red velvet cake so want to try this one as the ingredients are different. Thanks

Art of Dessert said...

I use all purpose flour. Here is the recipe in ounces.
10 oz. butter
14.5 oz. sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 oz. vanilla yogurt
1 oz. red food coloring
18 oz. all purpose flour
3 Tbs. (0.7 oz.) cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp (0.3 oz) baking soda
2 tsp (0.4 oz) baking powder
3/4 tsp (0.2 oz) salt

For the frosting:
8 oz butter
16 oz cream cheese
2 lbs powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon extract (optional)

Art of Dessert said...

Oops! I meant 16 oz. sugar, not 14.5 oz. Sorry

Anonymous said...

Your icing looks awsome! How did you get it to peak like that??? It's really hard to decorate with cream cheese icing. Whats your secret???

Art of Dessert said...

I usually put the cream cheese frosting in the fridge to chill a bit. It firms up a little and makes it easier to pipe :-)

Anonymous said...

Your cake bites look amazing, moist & tasty :-) How do you keep the cake bites moist? Don't they dry out with the cake being exposed? I would love to try these, but worried that they might be hard as a brick by the time I serve them..

Anonymous said...

Hi. I just tried this recipe last night and it turned out great! I measured everything in oz according to your conversion above. I'm not sure if you noticed though, but one of the conversions is incorrect. 1.5 cups of butter is 12 oz, not 10. And I'm pretty sure 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour is no more than 15 oz.

Art of Dessert said...

I assembled the cake bites the night before and kept them in the fridge in a airtight container to keep them from drying out. They stayed in the fridge until about half an hour before serving so they didn't stay out for very long :-)
If you're planning on leaving them out for a party, you can try adding a bit of simple syrup to them to keep them from drying out. A lot of bakeries use this to keep their cakes moist. To make simple syrup, just mix together equal parts of water and sugar. Heat in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves.

Art of Dessert said...

When you're assembling the cake bites, just drizzle a little bit of the simple syrup onto each cake layer before filling them with cream cheese frosting.

Anonymous said...

Just made these the other night...it was the first time making/having RV...they were absolutely delicious!! A new favorite! I used your suggestion of the melted butter with oil...turned out very moist. thank you for sharing!

Daph said...

I love your website, thanks so much for the info and inspiration! I was wondering, how does the cream cheese frosting hold up, is it stiff enough to do borders and scrollwork? Also I need to do a red velvet birthday cake (I may be trying your recipe) with cream cheese frosting but I wanted to put an image transfer on top, will that work with this cream cheese frosting?

Art of Dessert said...

Awww...thanks Daph! You most definitely can do scrollwork with the cream cheese frosting. I do it all the time :-) You can check out some of my scrollwork cakes in my Flickr photos (I have a link in the right hand menu). It really does help to put the frosting in the fridge for about 30 minutes before using it. If that doesn't help, you can always add an extra cup of powdered sugar to make it more workable for scrollwork.

Anonymous said...

In my search for a good red velvet cake recipe, I came across your blog. I made this recipe yesterday with the yogurt (no buttermilk) and it turned out amazing! I also added butter and the oil. It was sweet, moist and delicious. In addition to the cake, I also added the lemon extract to my cream cheese frosting and that was the extra kick it needed. I just wanted to thank you for sharing this with everyone! Your blog is wonderful.

McRachie said...

I made this recipe, but in blue, for cookie monster cupcakes. They turned out great! This is my favorite frosting recipe ever! Here are pictures:
http://cursesandblast.blogspot.com/2010/10/cookie-monster-cakies-i-found-this-red.html

Art of Dessert said...

Hi Rachel! Your cookie monster cupcakes are so cute and creative! Thanks for sharing your post:-)

Anonymous said...

Any chance for an egg-free red velvet? Ive tried a few ways and ended up with red messes! Thanks for your other egg free recipes; my egg allergic daughter and her non allergic sister both love them!

Art of Dessert said...

Thank you for asking. I'm actually working on an egg-free version. I just need to tweak some ingredients to get it to work :-)

Owens Family said...

Hi Art of Dessert!

I just made your recipe and everyone loved it except my chocolate lover son :( But it turned out well using the revisions with melted butter and oil, milk and lemon. It was a bit dry but maybe I had it in the oven too long?
The frosting is really good and makes alot!

Thank you!

branbrumom said...

I'm allergic to eggs and was wondering if you have a egg-free version of the red velvet cake?
Thanks,
Sharon

Jen said...

Hi, i came across your blog, and love all your cakes.
i want to try this red velvet cake recipe this weekend for the Valentine's day. but i have a questions. if i switch to 3/4 melted butter plus 3/4 vegetable oil, do i still cream the melted butter+oil together with the sugar until light and fluffy?
thanks for your help.

Art of Dessert said...

Hi Jen! No you don't need to cream the butter and oil with the sugar. You can just simply combine them :-)

Jen said...

hi, I made cupcakes from this recipe last weekend, and brought them to work. it was a hit... everyone loved it.
thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe. will sure make again for the next gathering =)

Anonymous said...

Yoplait makes fat free Red Velvet Cake yogurt... ;-)

Anonymous said...

You are so generous. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

Rope Holders said...

I just made this cake for my son's birthday. He really wanted red velvet and I was concerned because I had never made it before. It was so delicious!! Everyone loved it. Not the usual dry red velvet. I think the yogurt really makes a difference. Thanks for sharing!

myWalk-myJourney-myLife said...

made you RV cuppies many many times already n i think its the best EVER! Its perfect! Not too sweet also. My friends and family loved it very very much n they kept asking me to make more and more. thank you for the wonderful recipe and i look forward to baking it again tonite and this weekend!

Anonymous said...

Can you please explain to an Aussie who has NEVER had a 'red velvet' cake what is the difference in taste versus an 'ordinary' but yummy cake? It seems to me that it is just a nice cake with a disturbingly huge amount of red food colouring!! Don't you have kids bouncing off the ceiling after one piece?? "Over here" red food colouring is something bad to avoid! Do you have a different one that is "natural" or is it still made of up numbers?? I'm confused! Can anyone explain this American phenomena to me???? Thanks!

Art of Dessert said...

Hi Aussie! Thanks for your question. The red food coloring is added simply for color, nothing more. So if you prefer not to add the red food coloring it's not going to affect the taste of the cake, which is a moist vanilla cake with hint of chocolate flavor from the cocoa powder :-)

Marco Vang said...

Thank you for the recipe! I made it recently and I think this RV cake recipe will be my go to recipe! :) Made the suggestions for the butter and oil as well as the whole milk with lemon juice. It was delicious!

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