Getting Out of My Comfort Zone and Baking a Red Velvet Cake
On Friday, I baked an “easy” red velvet cake recipe. If there is one thing I like more than cats and running, it’s cake. It should be clarified that I didn’t say I liked more than “family,” and my cats Frick and Frack are family.
So on Friday, I baked a cake. Why? Why not? It’s 2020, after all.
I’ve blogged for over a decade now. Throughout the years, my blog has been a running blog, swimming blog, recipe blog (remember those days in 2013??), life blog, military life blog, mental health blog, and even diner blog.
Truthfully it’s really been everything because it’s my blog. I pivot and try new things frequently because it’s my life, and I never started it to make money or become rich and famous. I started the blog to chronicle my life at age 20. Now at age 30, things have drastically changed and continue to change.
Anyway, I’ve never baked a cake before, and I’ve always wanted to.
Red velvet cake is my cake of choice. If you are like me, baking a cake might seem overwhelming. I like to eat cake, but baking cakes? I know nothing about that. But like fitness, you follow a training plan (in this case, recipe). I chose what I dreamed the most easy red velvet cake recipe.
You make sure little things are accounted for. You follow it to a T, and it comes out well. My cake decorating skills could use some work, but my mentality is to add more frosting, and it will taste better.
Beginning my Process of Baking a Red Velvet Cake:
Electric Mixer: I didn’t really have any of the supplies I needed, so I ended up buying a new mixer and cake pans. Good for my wallet (I guess), but Kitchenaid mixers were all sold out due to Black Friday sales. I bought a Sunbeam which worked well. Granted, I think my mixer was close to 10 years old, so that anything would be better. The easy red velvet cake recipe could be infinitely harder without an electric mixer.
9 Inch Cake Pans: I’ve always wanted to make a layer cake because you can add more frosting. (Literally my only reason for choosing a layer red velvet cake over not).
Is Red Velvet Even a Flavor?
As someone who has eaten dozens of red velvet cakes and cupcakes in my lifetime, I get into the debate more than you think. BUT, I do believe red velvet is a flavor and not just “dark red chocolate.” Good red velvet cake also has vinegar and buttermilk. It’s richer than a traditional chocolate cake.
Maybe I just like the red coloring. Maybe it just feels fancy. Whatever the case, red velvet cake has always been my cake of choice.
This is the red velvet cake recipe I used:
It is self-proclaimed “the best” but also just looked fairly simple to follow. I did adapt a few things.
Makes a 9-inch cake.
It was important to me to find an easy red velvet cake recipe, not something that would take 12 hours to do.
Red Velvet Cake Ingredients:
2 and 1/2 cups (340g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (35g) cornstarch
1/4 cup (24g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick/115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 and 1/8 cups (425g) granulated sugar (use real sugar, I learned this many years ago, but sugar substitutes don’t bake well)
1 cup (240 ml) vegetable or canola oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
Red Velvet Cake Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 oz. (450g) full-fat block cream cheese (not spread), at room temperature
2 sticks/225g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups (480g) powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Red Velvet Cake Instructions
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Grease two 9-inch cake pans that are at least 2-inches high.
- Line the bottom of the pan with a round piece of parchment paper. I almost skipped this step because why parchment paper, but after googling and realizing it was essentially…don’t skip it.
- In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a standing mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. This will take roughly 3-4 minutes. Continue to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
- After mixing the butter and oil, beat in oil.
- After the oil is mixed, add eggs, one at a time. Make sure they are fully mixed into your red velvet cake batter before adding the next egg.
- After the eggs are mixed, add vanilla and vinegar and beat until combined. Last up in your red velvet cake; wet ingredients is the fun red coloring. Add that and mix evenly.
- Once that is done, add half of the dry ingredients until fully combined. Then add the buttermilk with the second half of the dry ingredients. You don’t need to over mix, and it’s ok to still be slightly lumpy.
- Divide your red velvet cake batter evenly between your two nine-inch pans—Cook for around 35 minutes. You will know it’s “done” when you stick a toothpick in the center, and it comes out clean. My red velvet cakes actually took about 40 minutes.
- Allow to fully cool. This is key! I started adding frosting when they weren’t fully cool, and it was like a slip and slide, and had to wait another hour. My red velvet cake didn’t as much frosting in the middle of the layers because a lot melted.
Red Velvet Cake Frosting:
- With your electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. This took me around 3 minutes. Add in sugar slowly, making sure it’s fully combined before adding more. Add in the vanilla extract. Your frosting will be done when it’s light and fluffy. It was fun to watch it go from thick cream cheese to light and fluffy frosting.
Assembling Your Cake:
This is probably the only part that I struggled with, but that was because I didn’t wait until it was fully cooled. Allow to cool! Do not ruin your easy red velvet cake recipe by rushing the cooling.
- Place one layer with the flat side up facing up. Add a thicker layer of red velvet cake frosting to the top.
- Then add the second layer of red velvet cake and add another thick layer of frosting.
- Finally, add the rest of your frosting across the sides and top.
- Enjoy and eat. (Don’t forget to store in an airtight container)
I must admit, making a red velvet cake was a lot easier than I anticipated, and it tasted good too. It’s obviously time-consuming and took me about 2 hours to do, but it was good, and I’m proud of my hard work. Doing new things and experimenting is something I’ve tried to do more of in 2020. If you asked me in 2013 would I get back to cooking and baking new things, I would have laughed, but here we are. I’ll probably experiment with different types of cakes soon but don’t expect this to become a “recipe blog.” Although who knows, I think I said that about diners too.
Questions for you:
Do you like red velvet cake? Do you have an easy red velvet cake recipe to share?
What is something new you’ve done in 2020?