I love Valentine’s Day. I know a lot of people really hate it but I kind of love it. But I like almost ALL holidays for one major reason — the food. Not only to eat, but to plan and make. I’ve never made a red velvet cake, but if there’s any excuse to make one, it’s Valentine’s day!
Red velvet cake was the mystery cake looming over my childhood. Like what is it? And why is it so gastly red? What flavor is it supposed to be? Well it’s red food dye and a small amount of cocoa powder. Most of the recipes for red velvet that I’ve seen use a small amount of cocoa powder – about 1 to 2 tablespoons. I used 1/3 cup in this recipe for more chocolatey flavor and I think it helps make the red a richer and darker color along with the red food dye.
And I made homemade sprinkles! Who knew you could do that?! It’s a simple mixture of powdered sugar, water, and corn syrup. You add your desired amount of food dye, spoon it into a piping bag and pipe thin lines on parchment paper. Let it dry overnight and then break up into pieces.
I also included some photos of Panza for viewing pleasure. I know she looks kind of scary but we just got back from a walk and she was panting, hence the open mouth.
Red Velvet Cake and Italian Meringue Buttercream
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons red food dye
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Italian Meringue Buttercream
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 5 egg whites
- 1 lb. butter (4 sticks)
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- gel food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line 2 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper.
- Beat butter and sugars together in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment till light and fluffy about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time until each is fully incorporated.
- Add vanilla and food coloring.
- In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl mix together milk and sour cream.
- Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients until all ingredients are added.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
For the buttercream
- In a medium saucepan over low heat combine sugar, water, and cream of tartar. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then stop stirring. Heat to 238 degrees F.
- While sugar and water mixture is heating up, place egg whites in a clean stand mixer bowl. Whisk with whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.
- When sugar has reached 238 degrees, remove from heat. With stand mixer running, pour sugar mixture very very slowly into egg white mixture. Keep beating after all sugar has been added until stand mixer bowl is cool to the touch.
- Slowly add butter one chunk at a time. If mixture looks like it is curdling, keep beating and it will come back together. Use right away.
- To frost the cake - cut cake layers in half with serrated knife. Place frosting on each layer and keep stacking.
For the sprinkles
- Combine all ingredients including any amount of food coloring depending on what color you want. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe thin lines on parchment paper. Let sit overnight to dry. Break up into small pieces and use to decorate.