Red Velvet Overload
Scarlet-colored Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Velvet Cake:
2.5 cups cake flour [280 g]
2 tsp baking powder [8 g]
1/2 teaspoon baking soda [2.5 g]
2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder [7 g]
1 teaspoon salt [6 g]
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature [113 g]
1.5 cups granulated sugar [300 g]
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil [120 mL]
4 large eggs, room temperature and separated [80 g egg yolk + 120 g egg white]
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract [15 mL]
1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar [15 mL]
1 tbsp gel red food coloring (gel creates more vibrant red than liquid coloring) [15 mL]
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature [237 mL]
Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 ounces full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature [453 g]
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature [227 g]
4 cups confectioners’ sugar [480 g]
2 tbsp all-purpose flour [16 g]
1 Tablespoon heavy cream or milk [15 mL]
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract [10 mL]
1/2 tsp salt [3 g]
Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C). Take two 9" round cake pans and line them with parchment paper. If you have them, put wet cake strips around each pan (to prevent cakes from doming).
In a medium-size mixing bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups cake flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 2 tbsp unsweetened natural cocoa powder, and tsp table salt. Set this aside.
In a separate stainless steel or glass mixing bowl, add in 1/2 cup (1 stick) of room temperature unsalted butter and 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. Beat this together for about 1 minute, or until they are combined and look fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Add in 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 4 large egg yolks, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, and 1 tbsp white vinegar. Beat these until just combined.
With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients one-third at a time, alternating with 1 cup of room temperature buttermilk.
Then add 1 tbsp of gel red food coloring (gel creates a more vibrant red than liquid coloring), and beat it in.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat 4 large egg whites on high speed until fluffy peaks form, about 3 minutes. Then gently fold these beaten egg whites into the cake batter. The batter should look silky smooth and slightly thick.
Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake this in the preheated oven at 350 F (175 C) for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the tops of the cake spring back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans on a wire for 5 minutes. Then turn them upside down onto the wire racks, lift off the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and let them cool completely to room temperature.
When the cakes have cooled completely, cut the two cakes in half cross-sectionally so you get four cake rounds. 3 of the cake rounds will be used to assemble the cake, and 1 will be used to make an outer crumble.
For the 1 round used to make the outer crumble, by hand, tear the pieces into little crumbs as small as you can onto a baking sheet, and bake them in the oven at 350 F (175C) for another 20 minutes. This will dry out the cake pieces a bit. Take them out of the oven and let them cool to room temperature. Then put the crumbs in a food processor and pulse until you get fine crumbs.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, add in 16 oz (1 bar) of room temperature cream cheese and 16 tbsp (2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter, and beat them together for 2 minutes, or until they are combined.
Add in 4 cups of powdered sugar, 2 tbsp AP flour, 1 tbsp heavy cream or milk, 2 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/2 tsp table salt. Beat these together on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is completely combined and creamy. On a very hot day if the frosting becomes too runny, just place it in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up.
Assembling the Cake:
Cut out 4 roughly 7x7 inch square pieces of parchment paper and place them on the bottom of your cake stand.
Place 1 cake round directly at the center of the platter. We're going to pull out these square pieces after the cake is assembled, and will make cleaning any excess icing or crumbs a lot easier.
Evenly cover the top of the 1st cake round with about 1 cup of frosting. Then add the 2nd cake layer on top, and spread another 1 cup of frosting over the top of the 2nd cake layer.
Add the 3rd and last cake layer on top, and spread another 1 cup of frosting on top. Frost the sides of the cake, leaving enough frosting for rosettes at the end.
Using your hands, press the red velvet crumbs on the sides of the cake, sprinkle them on top, and make sure to create sharp corners at the cake's circumference edge.
Put the remaining frosting into a piping bag, and pipe 16 big rosettes at the top of the cake, about 1 inch away from the edge.
Once you've finished decorating the cake and are happy with how it looks, slowly pull out the parchment paper pieces from under the cake and clean off any leftover crumbs or icing around the cake.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 to 60 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake hold its shape when cutting. Enjoy!
Cover leftover cake tightly with plastic and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Cake can also be wrapped tightly with foil and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months - just thaw in the fridge overnight and bring to room temperature before serving.