July 20, 2010

Red and Blue Velvet Cake

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday, right after my birthday. Everyone knows exactly what to expect- plenty of grilled foods, cold drinks, celebration of America, no stress, no presents and best of all, fireworks. Also integral to the celebration of America's independence is Flag Cake- the cake with a replica of the flag in berries on top. Its the Christmas tree, hand turkey, Easter Bunny of the 4th. This year, I wanted to take mine one step further into Americana. Enter Red and Blue Velvet cake.

Using four (FOUR) whole tubes of food coloring, Red and Blue Velvet cake says America on the outside and YOU THINK YOU'RE PATRIOTIC? CHECK ME OUT on the inside. 

I took a traditional Red Velvet cake recipe, and divded the batter in half, one for red and one for blue. Thick cream cheese frosting rounded out the cake to be the white layer, and  hold up the berries on top. Bow down to my American-ness. 

Red and Blue Velvet Cake
Adapted from Pinch My Salt
Serves 12-16

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbl cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring
2 oz. blue food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

2. Sift together the cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. 

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go.  Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Divide batter in two pans, add blue food coloring to one and red to the other. Stir throughly. 

4. Make sure you have cake pans buttered, floured, and nearby.  In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda.  Yes, it will fizz and yes you have to divide the quanities.  Add to each cake batter and stir well to combine.  Working quickly, pour batter into cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check early, cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan.  Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost with buttercream or cream cheese icing (recipe below). 

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

1. With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
2. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract.  Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. 

3. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.  If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).