NY Times (Red) Velvet Cake

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A luscious, moist, gigantic old-fashioned Southern cake. Red food coloring optional. I got this recipe from the New York Times, but it satisfies my snobby Southern palate utterly--the icing is to die for!

Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 45 min

Serves: 16

Dietary guidance: v 

Tags: dessert · cake · southern · red · velvet ·


1 Tbsp unsalted butter (divided into 3 tsp)
3 ½ cups cake flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
1 ½ tsp salt
2 cups canola oil
2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 Tbsp (3 oz) red food coloring!
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda
2 ¼ tsp white vinegar
parchment paper

For icing:
2 cups heavy cream, cold
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
12 oz mascarpone
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a teaspoon of butter in each of 3 round 9-inch layer cake pans and place pans in oven for a few minutes until butter melts. Remove pans from oven, brush interior bottom and sides of each with butter, and line the bottoms with parchment.
2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
3. Place oil and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar, and and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.
5. Divide batter among cake pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, flip layers over and peel off parchment. Cool completely before frosting.

For icing:
1. Softly whip cream. Cover in bowl and refrigerate.
2. Blend cream cheese and mascarpone with electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, pulse briefly, and add confectioners’ sugar. Blend well.
3. Transfer cream cheese mixture to bowl; fold in whipped cream. Refrigerate until needed.

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