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Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cakes are one of those desserts that I couldn’t imagine not having at Christmas time. My mother surprised me with an early present today (a KitchenAid stand mixer; the best gift ever!), so I put it to good use making one of her favorite cakes.

The recipe that I’ve always used for red velvet cakes was taught to me by my grandmother. I love the traditional red velvet layer cake adorned with chopped pecans, but I tend to make cupcakes or cake pops more often. This year, I decided to try something a little different and make a red velvet cake roll.

The Cake:
2 1/4 c cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c buttermilk
1 small bottle (1 oz.) of red food coloring
1 tsp white vinegar*
* You can substitute apple cider vinegar, instead. I also once used balsamic vinegar with good results when I didn’t have either apple cider or white vinegar.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c of powdered sugar

1) Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.

The sifted dry ingredients.

2) Sift together the cake flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a medium sized bowl and set it aside. 
Mixing in the vanilla.

3) Cream together the oil and granulated sugar. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then, mix in the vanilla extract.

Just before adding the red food coloring and vinegar.

4) Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately, mixing well after each addition.

5) Add the red food coloring and white vinegar, and mix well.

Since I’m making a red velvet cake roll, I baked the cake in two 9 x 13 cookie sheets instead of round cake pans.

Red Velvet Cake Roll Instructions

Just before going in the oven.

1) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. If you’re worried about the cakes sticking to the paper you can use a little cooking spray. Pour enough batter into each pan to ensure that the entire bottom of the pan is covered. Spread the batter evenly, then bake for about 15 minutes (give or take) or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

2) Once the cakes are out of the oven, remove each cake (including the parchment paper underneath them) from its pan.

3) Lay another piece of parchment paper on top of each cake, then cover that with a damp kitchen towel. 

Waiting for the cakes to cool.

4) Then, starting at the small end, roll up each cake in the towel and parchment paper. Place it, seam side down, somewhere to cool.

5) In the meantime, make the cream cheese frosting by combining the ingredients and mixing well. Once you’ve made the frosting, place it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it for the cakes to ensure that its consistency remains thick.

6) When the cakes have cooled completely, unroll them and remove the damp towel and top layer of parchment paper. Then, spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top of each cake. Carefully roll up each cake again; you can use the bottom edge of the parchment paper to help you roll the cakes a little tighter. As you’re rolling up the cakes they should easily come loose from the paper. If the cake cracks a little, don’t worry overly much because you can dust it with powdered sugar to hide any imperfections. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. You can also wrap the cake rolls in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to help them set up, then move them to the refrigerator.

One of the finished cake rolls with a dusting of powdered sugar.

In all, I was able to make two red velvet cake rolls and several cupcakes from this one recipe. One of the cake rolls belongs to Clint’s parents, and I’m sure they’ll enjoy it.

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