Saturday, February 11, 2012
Red Velvet Bundt Cake (With Cream Cheese Frosting)
This is not a health food.
But, whether you're celebrating Valentine's Day or Galentine's Day, are we really counting calories? The answer is NO. So, treat yo self.
Red velvet cakes have always been a mystery to me. What makes red velvet so red? Why do people love it so much? What is "red velvet," anyway?
(And by the way, why the eff is it so hard to take nice photos of? "Don't worry, I'm just setting up a photography studio in the kitchen. NORMAL THINGS ARE HAPPENING, CARRY ON WITH YOUR REGULAR BUSINESS" I shouted to my family yesterday, while looping a pink sheet through our kitchen cabinets and attempting to hang a lamp on the refrigerator door. In case it needs to be said, this did not end well.)
I think the answer to the red velvet love lies in a little thing called bangin' cream cheese frosting.
Red velvet cake is the perfect complement to the cream cheesy, buttery, vanilla-y goodness that goes on top.
Don't get me wrong—this cake is most certainly yummy, especially with the slight tang it gets from the Greek yogurt—but the cream cheese frosting is really the star of the show here. Red velvet cake is like the cool best friend who is really nice, and stable, and pretty, but a little soft-spoken, so her more charismatic or craycray friend gets the spotlight.
Oh, red velvet cake, you beautiful spinster. I will find you love.
Cake (Adapted from Kiss My Bundt):
(Recipe makes one 12-cup bundt cake, or a dozen "baby bundts" with one cup capacity, two 9-inch round cakes, or 14 to 18 cupcakes.)
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil (if you don't have any oil on hand, you can sub 1 1/2 cups butter, but this will create a pretty dense, buttery cake).
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt*
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring**
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
*Original recipe calls for one cup buttermilk in place of the 2 tbsp. milk and cup of Greek yogurt, but I thought it worked really well in this cake, for a nice sour cream flavor without the calories.
**Yeah, I know. It seriously needs that two tablespoons, though, for the red color to come though so vibrantly. Red food coloring is sold separately in most stores because red velvet cakes are so popular. Grab an entire bottle of it, because 2 tablespoons is almost a fluid ounce. If you have an issue with red food coloring, you can skip this and make it a "brown velvet" cake.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder.
Combine the oil, milk, yogurt, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla, and if using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for one minute.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder, then add dry ingredients to the wet, mixing well. Pour the batter into the bundt pan.
Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the cake doesn't jiggle when shaken, about 45 to 55 minutes. (Mine was still pretty wet at 45; I baked for 55 minutes.)
Allow cake to cool at least 15 minutes before attempting to remove it from the mold. I stuck mine outside for a good hour in the cold, before gently tracing a knife around the edges and inverting it onto a serving tray. Cool completely before frosting.
(Makes enough to frost a 12-cup bundt cake.)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar (measured then sifted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream the cream cheese and butter until soft and completely smooth, at least two minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed. With mixer set on low or by hand, slowly add the powdered sugar, making sure to scrape down any frosting stuck to the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Happy Valentines Day!