Thursday, February 10, 2011

Red Velvet Again -- For Valentine's Baking!

Just in case anyone wants to make a festive dessert for our favorite Hallmark holiday...I am reposting my recipe for Red Velvet Pound Cake!

Sarah's Red Velvet Pound Cake

Mystery surrounds the Red Velvet Cake; the particulars of its origin and ingredients vary from cook to cook. But any bona fide Southerner better have one in their repertoire. Mine comes in the form of a pound cake, as I feel the density stands up beautifully to all that cream cheese frosting! And I certainly don't go light on the food coloring, since red is the point, after all.

2 ½ cups sugar
8 large eggs
1 14-ounce can condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound unsalted butter, melted
2 ¼ cups cake flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup red food coloring
Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a Bundt pan with softened butter and then dust with cocoa powder.

Combine sugar, eggs, condensed milk, vanilla, and salt in a food processor; mix until combined. While running, pour butter into food processor bowl and continue running until thoroughly combined. Pour this mixture into a large mixing bowl. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder into egg mixture, whisking as you go. Add red food coloring; whisk to combine. Pour batter into pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Release from pan onto serving plate.

Allow to thoroughly cool.

Applying frosting to a cake is a battle against crumbs. It is easier done when the cake is cold since it will be less likely to crumble; thus, there will be several trips back and forth to the refrigerator during the icing process.

To frost: Refrigerate the cake until cold. Once cold, remove the cake and apply a thin layer of Cream Cheese Frosting using an icing spatula. Return cake to refrigerator until frosting hardens. Remove cake and apply remaining frosting using icing spatula. Refrigerate until frosting stiffens up a bit. Slice while cold, but cake is best served at room temperature.

YIELD: 16 to 20 servings

24 ounces cream cheese, softened
15 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice and mix on low speed until combined.

P.S. The icing can be made in advance and refrigerated but should be brought to room temperature before using.

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