Wednesday, February 20, 2013

RVC = Red Velvet Cake

When this cake came up as the next cake to be made for Cake Slice Bakers I was not... happy.  Yes I am one of THOSE people.  I loathe today's RVC.  I am one of THOSE people that can taste the chemical flavoring of the red dye.  But I am one of THOSE people that really wants to be a team player so we make the RVC!!  Even though there will be some tweaking.  No. not tweeting, I am not one of THOSE people.

This month we are making the Red Velvet Cake with Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting.  I have read here and there about the origins of the RVC, about the red being the result of a reaction between vinegar, buttermilk and the cocoa used.  Another way of making the cake reddish was by using beets and or beet juice in the cake.  I am not trying to completely change this recipe so I discarded the idea of causing a reaction, instead I wanted to use beets to achieve the color.  I really had no desire to make a beet cake either.  I simply did not want to use the food coloring so I decided I would swap out the food coloring for beet juice.

I started off by pureeing a small can of sliced beets.  Poured them into a strainer and let them sit to get as much of the juice out of the puree.

I then put the juice into a sauce pan and simmered it for about 10 minutes until it reduced down to a syrup.

Set it off to cool and moved to making the cake.
Start by preparing your cake pans.  I choose to use two rounds.  It is quite helpful to line the bottom of your cake pans with parchment.  Remember making paper snowflakes?  Yep, you got it, like that! But without the frilly cuts.

Once you have your circles cut you need to butter the pan and it is helpful for removal later to butter the cake side of the parchment too.  Using your empty butter wrapper go to town on the pans.

Now open up your circle, place it in your pan and rub it down.  Grab an edge and turn it over, there you have both sides buttered. *wink*

Sift together your dry ingredients and set aside.

Next cream together your butter and sugar until it is fluffy.  While it is fluffing, crack your eggs into a bowl and in an other bowl mix together the oil, vanilla and your coloring.  I added in the beet juice - about 2 tablespoons.  Once you achieve fluff slowly add your oil mixture then your eggs one at a time.

Well it is slightly pink.  Yep that is it - with all the extra work and I get slightly pink.  Oh well let's proceed and see how it turns out.

On a low speed add in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating between the two until all is incorporated.

A side note... I was given a scrapper paddle.

It is a love - hate relationship! I love that I don't have to stop and scrape down the sides as often but I hate the mess it makes!  It kicks out huge amounts of stuff when you turn on the mixer - at the lowest speed even.  Plus the scrapper edge gets gunked up so you do have to scrape off that part pretty often.

Verdict is still out on this tool...

Yes that messy!

Alrighty then!  All mixed and poured into your pans, ready for the oven.  Looking brown not pink or even red-ish.

Cooked the cakes to 200 degree internal temperature but was not real happy with the slight dark edge on the top - easily gotten rid of thankfully because this just became a birthday cake for my cousin.

Let the layers cool and got busy on the frosting.  This was a pretty straight forward frosting, fluff, sweeten and flavor.  It came out quite tasty and not overly sweet.  I made a double batch because I decided to split the layers.

Started off by leveling the layer. Using a sharp bread knife just slice off the bump.  Try to avoid any downward pressure, if you press down it will get wonky.

Put a small blob of frosting on your cake plate before placing your first layer.  This will help your keep your cake from sliding around.

Many years ago I was taught an easy way to split a layer is with floss.  You read that correctly, dental floss.  Just be sure it isn't flavored!  Take a long piece of floss, wrap it around the layer, make sure it is in the middle all the way around. Now holding both ends in one hand and steadying the cake with the other hand, pull the floss right through the cake.

Brush the loose crumbs off of the cake and place your first layer onto the cake plate and give it a nice coating of frosting.

Repeat with the rest of the layers.

Red Velvet Cake with Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting
can be found in the cookbook Vintage Cakes.

This cake turned out well even if it lacked the red color.  It was very moist and not overly sweet.  Try it!

Happy Birthday to my cousin Heather!!

Sorry for the not great slice pic - it was a quicky shot and then gone.


Visit the other Cake Slice Bakers here.



  1. Great job! your cake looks awesome! I am sorry the beets didn't give it the red color you were expecting... it still looks great and it was definitely a good attempt to add color in a more natural way... :) I've heard about the vinegar too but I also was afraid it wouldn't work for this recipe... I am glad it was enjoyed! What a great way to make your cousin's b-day extra special!

  2. I like how your cake has turned out, and the lovely taste would make the perfect birthday cake. Hope your cousin enjoyed it x

  3. So many great tips here- cutting the paper, using beets for color, slicing layers with floss....thanks! :)
    ~Joy (Yesterfood)

  4. Holly, your cake is beautiful and your post has so many good tips. I was thinking about using beets when I was baking, but wasn't quite sure how to do the substitution. Thanks for all the good advice!

  5. Salute you for your beetroot version! I got slightly pink too when I baked my first RVC.

    Thanks for all the tips in your post, especially the double greasing the patchment with a flip of the hand!

  6. Using beets as the color component is very creative. I bet it added a nice little flavor. I made red velvet donuts and my roommate commented on the "red taste" they had when she took a bite.

  7. Thanks gals!!
    Yes the cake was well liked at the party. I was happy that I was able to share it.


  8. Beets! I never would have thought about using beet juice to get the color (even though it didn't QUITE work out). It'd be intriguing to try getting the color from the "reaction" you mentioned...hmmm...may have to look up a recipe like that!

  9. Although using beets didn't make your cake turn out red, it definitely allow for the natural 'red' in the cake taste I'm sure :) Still, it was encouraging that you still made the cake despite your dislike for it in the first place as being part of The Cake Slice. Holly, good job on your cake! I bet it taste great :)

  10. Yeah for being a good sport! There have been months when I have not liked the selection, but I usually just bake to play along and give it away!

  11. Its very interesting this reaction thing.... and timing is awesome with this month's pick because Joe Pastry has started a blog run on RVC - - I haven't read all the posts but the reaction red doesn't look like it is panning out. I will keep an eye on it and see how his go.

  12. Holly I admire you so much for creating your red food coloring with beets! That is really impressive! I wasn't thrilled for red velvet this month, either. But I actually loved this cake. Looking forward to baking with you again next month! (And a great tip about how you cut your parchment paper, too!)

  13. Anonymous8:16 PM

    Just use the buttermilk, vinegar and cocoa. You will get a nice chocolate-red hue that is so pretty. Similar to what you get when you make the whacky-crazy-depression cake.


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