Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Red Velvet Cake with Marshmallow Frosting

Red Velvet Cake. I hadn't even heard of it 12 years ago. I have been a Texas transplant since 1972, originally from Washington state. Red Velvet is a Southern cake. When I reconnected with Mark - we dated a few times in high school - he mentioned that this was his favorite cake so, of course the search was on. Although I have tried many recipes this is my favorite, and his. This is a great cake for the holidays because it is red and festive. Take it up a notch and adorn with holiday decorations for a special event.


I found this recipe on the Internet about 12 years ago. This is a quote from the recipe, “I cannot tell you the number of times I have been served a Red Velvet Cake which has no more claim to the name than the red food coloring poured into it. The Real Thing has a very distinctive taste – even without the red. The recipe below is the Real Thing. It was my grandmother’s, and she is so oooooold and claims to have had this recipe for a loooong time.”

Red Velvet Cake with Marshmallow Frosting
by Sharyl
adapted from this recipe

Cake Ingredients:
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1 1/2 ounces of red food coloring
3 level Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
2 1/2 cups of sifted cake flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F.


Mix together the shortening, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla and butter flavoring. In a small bowl, make a paste of the food coloring and cocoa and add to shortening mixture. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk to the batter. In another small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda – it will bubble. Add this to the batter and mix all ingredients until well combined.

Bake in two 9” cake pans for about 25 minutes. Check the cake with a toothpick - do not over bake. Cool in pans for 15 minutes and then remove and finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Frosting:
Typically, Red Velvet cake is frosted with a cream cheese icing, which is what I have always used. This time I decided I wanted to try something with a little lighter texture since it is so hot this summer.
Adapted from this recipe.

1 cup of granulated white sugar (not powdered sugar)
1/3 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the sugar, water and cream of tartar to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Do not stir this sugar mix or you will be on your way to making a caramel sauce, which is not what you want. The sugar mix will be cloudy. It is ready when the bubbles are clear and covering the top of the sugar mix - about 5 minutes. This happens at about 245°F. Do not over boil or again, it will crystallize, turn amber and be on the caramel path. It sounds more difficult than it is. When I saw the clear bubbles, it was an aha moment!

In a metal bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Set the timer for 7 minutes and very slowly, with the mixer on high, add the hot sugar mix to the egg whites. When there is 1 minute left on the timer, add the vanilla extract. At the end of 7 minutes, one will have a delightfully, fluffy white frosting. I couldn't resist a taste!


This frosting would also be great for Whoopie Pies.

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