Sunday, May 01, 2005

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Adapted from Eating Well)

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons granulated sugar (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
6 tablespoons cool unsalted butter, cut into chunks (let sit in mixer bowl for 5 minutes straight from the fridge to get "cool" butter)
2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the cake

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a large bowl, sift together flours, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugar and cool butter until crumbly, about 2-4 minutes. Mix in egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth. Beat in vanilla and food coloring.

Mix in half of the buttermilk until smooth (this may make the mixture look separated, but don't worry - keep going with the recipe). Add half of the flour and mix to combine - scrape down the sides. Beat in the remaining buttermilk. Mix in the remaining flour just until combined.

In a clean medium bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter until just incorporated - some white streaks remaining is okay.

Evenly divide the batter between two 9" pans coated with nonstick spray. To remove air bubbles, tap the bottoms of the pans on the counter a couple times.

Bake until the center springs back when lightly touched or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached - roughly 15-20 minutes.

Place pans on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Invert the pans on to wire racks to remove the cakes - let sit until completely cool.

To make the frosting

In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Place one cake on a serving dish and cover just to the edges with 1/2 of the frosting. Place the second layer on top. Cover just the top with the remaining frosting. For color and to add a hint of chocolate, grate some bittersweet chocolate over the top layer.

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