Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Red Velvet Cake ~ A Red and White Splendor

Looking for THE best Red Velvet Cake recipe…
I think I may have found it. Switched up the typical cream cheese frosting with swiss meringue buttercream instead.

After making this cake, gave away all but ¼ of the cake to my friend Luis. He really appreciated the buttercream icing…since he doesn’t like cream cheese. His girlfriend loves Red Velvet Cake.

I liked this cake…a lot! The pecans add a nice flavor dimension to this cake.

I must say, I like the switch to Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting.

A shout out to Caitlin for sharing the swiss meringue buttercream with me. I met Caitlin in my Pastry Arts Class at The French Culinary Institute in New York City.

You can also find Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting in a prior post on my blog.

Let’s make cake!

Red Velvet Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Cake Recipe on
By Allysa Torey
Slightly adapted by Carmen of Baking is my Zen

3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ounce red food coloring (by Wilton: Red-Red Icing Color)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar (not white vinegar)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)
Topping: 1 cup chopped pecans (lightly toasted)


Preheat oven to 350°Fahrenheit.

Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans.

Line the bottoms with waxed paper.

1. In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla.

5. Add the red food coloring mixture to the batter and beat well.

6. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk.

7. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour.

8. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.

9. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda.

10. Add to the batter and mix well.

11. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth. (Don’t overbeat!)

12. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.

13. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

14. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour.

15. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Pecan Topping:
Place chopped pecans on a tray and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven. Allow to cool completely.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Recipe on Martha
Slightly Adapted by Carmen of Baking is my Zen

Makes about 5 cups

5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (omit the 2 tablespoons sugar to reduce the sweetness)
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water.

2. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).

3. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

4. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.

5. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

6. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition.

7. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla.

8. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes.

9. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.

Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.

Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

This all-purpose buttercream has an ultra-silky, stable texture that spreads beautifully over cakes and cupcakes, and can be piped into perfect peaks and patterns.


When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting between the layers,

then ice the top and sides of the cake with the Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting.
Sprinkle the top with chopped pecans.

Speaking of baking gadgets…what’s your favorite store to shop for baking items?

Sur La Table is one of my favorites. I feel like a kid in a candy store!!

Peace in baking,

Baking is my Zen…sweet nibbles for the soul


Marc van der Wouw said...

Wow looks very nice... I already know's the merinque, but this is aweseome!!

Eliana said...

Although I absolutely adore cream cheese frosting I think red velvet cake better lends itself to a less powerful frosting. I make mine with swiss meringue and love it. Yours here looks wonderful Carmen :)

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Marc, thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments!


Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...


I agree with you the swiss meringue buttercream. Thanks for your kind comments.


Jaime said...

wow you got a really nice red color on yours! i totally prefer cream cheese frosting over buttercream though :P

Jen_from_NJ said...

Carmen, this cake is gorgeous - you are so talented!

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Jen, thanks for the kind words.


Jessica said...

Oh yum! Looks great!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Thank you! I like cream cheese frosting, but not nearly as much as a good buttercream. That's why I haven't made red velvet cake. You saved the day! Lovely and I'm glad I stumbled across your blog

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...


Thanks for stopping by. You've got a great blog. The spring rolls video was nicely executed.


Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...


Thanks for stopping by. Look forward to reading your blog!


girlichef said...

I'm gonna tell you, I think this is probably the prettiest Red Velvet Cake I've ever seen! The meringue gives the frosting a gorgeous sheen and the layers are perfect. Beautiful :D

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Awwwh...thanks Heather! It tastes as good as it looks!


Irina@PastryPal said...

Holy moly! That is quite a towering inferno! The way you swirled on the meringue makes it look magical, and snowy white against that red cake. It looks super moist, too, and I might steal that recipe for a yellow cake version, if I just leave out the coloring and cocoa.

sweetlife said...

what great color, I love the pop of white by the deep red...the meringue is killer..


Paris Pastry said...

Ahhh, those colors! So beautiful! I'm glad you found a great red velvet recipe, I always find it hard to find one that's half decent!


Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Paris Pastry,

I think this recipe is going to be a keeper!





Thank You.

~ Carmen Ortiz - blogger (Baking is my Zen)