This stunning Red Velvet Layer Cake is sure to be the envy of the dessert table. Three made-from-scratch cake layers are sandwiched together with a thick, classic, sweet cream cheese frosting. Topped with a generous sprinkle of toasted chopped pecans, it's guaranteed to be the belle of the ball.
What is Red Velvet?
Red velvet is in essence a chocolate cake. While red velvet tends to have far less cocoa involved than a classic all-chocolate cake, it's most known for the color than the cocoa infused batter. The cake batter gets its rich ruby hue from food coloring introduced to the public in the late 1930's by Adams Extract Company. The owner wanted to market and sell, more food dye. The Waldorf-Astoria in NYC also claims to be the origin of red velvet. No matter how red velvet cake began, it's here to stay, and has been a beloved rotation through Southern kitchens for eons. Naturally, it's my Grandma's and my Mom who introduced red velvet to our family and I can't remember a single family gathering that it wasn't served. Hallelujah.
Some important things to remember when baking cakes from scratch:
- Gather your ingredients prior to beginning the preparation so things will move efficiently and you'll be certain to have everything you need.
- When measuring the flour, spoon into the measuring cup and level. If you dip the measuring cup into the flour and scoop it compacts the flour which can result in a dry cake.
- Don't skip sifting the ingredients. You don't need special equipment, a whisk will do the trick.
- When creaming together the butter and sugar, this is the one time you don't have to be concerned with overbeating. Creaming until light and fluffy will give a lighter texture to the cake.
- When adding dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, don't be tempted to overbeat. Beat just until evenly incorporated and the dry ingredients are fully moistened. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to be certain everything has incorporated well.
- What's the purpose of vinegar in the batter? Vinegar reacts with the baking soda and lends more rise to the cake.
- Follow the recipe adjusting baking times according to how your appliance performs. Remember, baking is science but, common sense plays a part, too.
Other Red Velvet Desserts To Try
Through the years red velvet has evolved into many variations in the dessert world. You may also like to try these easy Red Velvet Truffles and the kids will love these Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Red Velvet Layer Cake
- 1 cup chopped pecans toasted
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract:
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cup whole buttermilk
- 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
- 3 Tbsp red food coloring
- 3  oz cream cheese softened
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 3 (9-inch) round cake pans or spray with baking spray. Set aside.
- Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 6-8 minutes until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
- Using an electric mixer cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes or until creamed.
- Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
- In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. My use a whisk. Add the vinegar to the buttermilk.
- Lower the speed of the mixer and add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Repeat the process beginning and ending with flour. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the red food coloring beating just until fully combined with the batter.
- Use a 1 cup measuring cup to divide the batter evenly in the pans.Tap pans on the counter to settle.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean.
- Cool complelely in the pans on a cooling rack.
- To make the frosting: Using an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Lower the mixer and gradually add the powdered sugar. Thin if needed with cream to spreading consistency.
- Frost between the layers, tops and side of cake. Sprinkle with toasted pecans.
- Store chilled.