Red Velvet Cake

This cake is a second attempt at two things: making a red velvet cake that is actually red and assembling a layer cake that doesn't sag.  And I suppose practice does make perfect because I was much more successful this round in both regards, creating a very red and stable, beautiful layer cake.

Last time I tried to make red velvet cake I only had gel food coloring, not liquid. The grocery store by my house is probably the least well laid out grocery on the planet (this may be hyperbole) and I couldn't find the liquid food coloring because it is in with the spices rather that with the cake decorating supplies in a totally different area.  I also just discovered that the tempeh was moved (like 6 months ago) to the freezer section with the veggie burgers.  It drives me crazy, can you tell.
Okay, so having acquired red liquid food coloring after way too much effort than is reasonable, I also held back on the chocolate.  Last time I put in more chocolate for flavor, but the final product was too brown.  The trick to stacking is to be very careful when evening out the layers.  I improved but still need some work.
The cake was a little dry, which may mean I cooked it too long but the frosting was possibly the best cream-cheese frosting I have ever had.  You should make this (or any other cake) just as an excuse to make the frosting, or just make the frosting and eat it with a spoon.  It uses marscapone cheese instead of butter so it has a richer flavor and a smoother texture (I always have trouble getting the butter perfectly smooth).  It also has whipped cream which makes it lighter, but because of the cream cheese still firm enough to make it easy to frost with.  It is soooo good!
Because I am addicted to kitchen gadgets, I of course went out in honor of cake month to get cake decorating supplies.  My favorite is my rotating cake stand, which makes it really easy to get icing evenly around the cake.  I also got a scraper to make the final layer of frosting smooth (clearly still need some work on this, but much better than last time).  All in all, I was very happy with this cake.

Red Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounce tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter two - 9 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
3. In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
5. In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
6. In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.
7. Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
8. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight).
9. For the frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth.
10. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.
11. To assemble: Take one cake and cut with a serrated knife so the top is flat and even. Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting. Place the other layer of cake on top of the frosting. Frost the top and sides of the cake.
Recipe from Joy Of Baking

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