This time of year I get a little nostalgic when it comes to this blog of mine. It's almost three years since I first pressed the "publish" button and sent out my story of cheesecake and a department store cafeteria. Over the past few months I came to the decision that I needed a new start on this blogging adventure, and to that end a redesign is in the works. There will be a new name, new design, new statement of purpose, and a new, user friendly site that should better tell the story of me, my culinary history, and what I hope to achieve here. With that in mind, it seemed to make sense to revisit that first post, and indulge once again in those sweet memories of my childhood, as a sort of fond farewell to "Devil's Food". This time the cake is Red Velvet Cake, which was a signature of the T. Eaton store bakeries. My version is simpler and smaller in size, but it's still a rich, red, delicious cake with a smooth creamy white frosting. I'm looking forward to my new site, and I hope you'll all visit often. It's going to be fun...See you back here soon!
Red Velvet Cake
(makes one 9-inch layer, to serve 8 to 10 people)
For the Cake:
3 large egg whites
1 bottle red food color (1 fluid ounce or 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sifted, unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
For the Frosting:
3 ounces best quality white chocolate
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tablespoon sour cream
A few drops of almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Coat the bottom of a 9x2-inch cake pan (with at least an 8-cup capacity) with shortening, top with a parchment round, then coat with baking spray with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites, red food color, and vanilla, just to lightly combine. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. With a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle (or with a sturdy hand mixer), combine the oil and butter and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk. Mix on low speed to moisten the dry ingredients, then raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On medium speed add the egg mixture, in two parts, beating well after each addition. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and wrap the pan with a cake strip. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean, and the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
Melt the white chocolate carefully and gently. Allow it to cool, but still remain fluid. Place the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides. Add the cooled melted white chocolate and pulse it in until smoothly incorporated. Add the almond extract and pulse it in.
When the cake is completely cool, place it on a serving plate and adorn the top with swirls of frosting. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for several days.
(from "Rose's Heavenly Cakes" by Rose Levy Beranbaum)