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Looking for a special treat for Valentine’s Day? How about a Red Velvet Cake? Without the red. While the red food coloring is pretty, it doesn’t add anything to the cake (except for freakish fake color that I don’t really want in my gut).
This cake experiment became a treat that is super moist and delicious, with a mild chocolate flavor. And hey, if you squint and look through pretend red colored glasses, the light brown color of this cake really does have a reddish tint. It’s true. Can you see it?
Red(less) Velvet Cake
1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 Tablespoons water
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I recommend using flour made from hard or soft white wheat)
1/2 cup organic cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups sucanat, made into “powdered sugar”
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting
Place butter, water, and cocoa powder in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until butter is melted and ingredients are well combined. In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and powdered sucanat. Pour in butter mixture, and the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat the ingredients together until smooth.
Pour batter into two well-buttered 9 inch round cake pans. Bake in a 375° oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake these cakes or they will become dry. Allow cakes to cool for a few minutes, then carefully turn them out onto two separate plates. Allow them to cool completely.
Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting, beginning with a layer in the middle of the cakes, then on the top and around the sides.
See how pretty?
See the red?
Okay, fine. It really is red(less). But it is crazy delicous. :)
You must have been reading my mind. I was just wondering if I could make my Granny’s famous red velvet for my daughter’s birthday, but without the red. However, you should really try the original Waldorf Astoria frosting. It’s to die for and works great with palm shortening.
Oh wow, what is this frosting you speak of? I’ve never had it with anything but cream cheese frosting. :)
3 T. Flour
1 C. Milk
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Butter or shortening
Combine the milk and flour in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until VERY thick. Let mixture cool completely. (I usually do this as soon as I put the cake in the oven so it has time to cool.)
Put the milk mixture and sugar (regular sucanat, not powdered) in a mixer and whip until the sugar dissolves. Then add the butter and vanilla and whip until very light and fluffy. It’s almost as light as whipped cream when it’s done.
In my family growing up that frosting was referred to as twinkie frosting because of course it resembles twinkie filling. It is still one of my favorite pairings with chocolate cake after whipped cream and swiss meringue butter cream(lots of egg white and butter, minimal sugar). I run my cooled cooked flour mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps.
Also, when making frosting, if the organic powdered sugar is lumpy (I find most brands are), sift it first then measure or you’ll get too much sugar in your recipe.
Lastly, Martha Stewart has a recipe for honey frosting in her cupcake book. 1/2 cup room temp unsalted butter, 8 oz room temp cream cheese, 1/4 cup honey. Blend until smooth makes 2 cups. Haven’t tried it yet, so I’m not sure how it compares to cream cheese frosting.
Does this frosting have to be refrigerated?
It’s probably best to keep it refrigerated.
looks good I will have to try this one.
I’m thinking if you wanted red still, you could probably put strawberries on the top. One of my boys wanted to make a chocolate cake recently and accidentally started off with too much of some ingredients. We ended up with three layers of cake! I can attest that sliced strawberries, whipped cream and homemade chocolate cake are very good!
Looks delicious! Steam and puree some beets and add it to the cake for your red! You’d need to make some adjustments due to adding more moisture, but definitely no need for any artificial dye!
Try adding beets to get the red color naturally (it actually turns out more magenta color). You don’t taste the beets at all! Here’s a recipe. http://bakecakery.com/2011/03/16/red-velvet-cake-with-beets/
I did the same thing for my husband’s birthday. He loves red velvet and I figured the food coloring didn’t actually do anything so everyone was happy!
You could substitute beet juice for one of the eggs to get a red color.
Heather @ My Kansas Life says
Oooh, you made my mouth water with those pictures! I always thought it was odd to add red food coloring to this kind of cake, but the Betty Crocker calendar I have in my kitchen makes it look so good!
So, a friend of mine is experimenting this year with using beet juice to make red food. Have you ever done that? Oh, wait, it looks like Shannon (above) provided a link. I’m off to see if I can figure out how to make your cake with beet juice!
LisaB in VA says
I’ve always thought using a bottle(!) of red food coloring in a red velvet cake was kind of horrifying, too, and the redness isn’t really an issue with me. But I agree with others that beet juice would do without affecting flavor much, since the chocolate flavor of the cake would mask it. I would think you could boil a beet and use the red (nutrient-rich) water for the four tablespoons of water, and get your tint with minimum fuss. Don’t peel the beet first. It’s hard, and the skin is supposed to just slide off after boiling. That’s what I hear. I don’t like beets and have never actually cooked one. :)
Michele Hughes says
Or, if you like the flavor of chocolate and raspberries together, you could puree some frozen raspberries and use them for some of the liquid. I once made red velvelt pancakes that way (recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog)
We make ours with beets. Can’t taste them at all and we get a red coloring!
Kimberly S says
Red Velvet cake always reminds me of the movie Steel Magnolias where the groom’s cake at the wedding is a red velvet cake shaped to look like an armadillo. Hahaha, love that movie.
Renee F. says
I have this website saved in my favorites for natural food coloring for food.
My family likes watergate salad made with instant pistachio pudding. I know I can use real cream for the cool whip, but not sure about the pudding? Any ideas? We really only make it once or twice a year – maybe it will have to one of the compromises we make. Our real food process is going great so far – thanks for all the great ideas.
Not sure about an instant pudding, but I do have a Pistachio Pudding recipe: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/homemade-pistachio-pudding
Yum. Katie Riddle over at riddlelove.com actually has a red, red velvet cake recipe that looks great! She uses beets to turn the batter red!
I think I have all the ingredients except buttermilk. Do you think regular milk would do the
trick or yogurt?
Yes, I believe yogurt or milk would work. It may not be as moist with regular milk as it would be with buttermilk. :)
Jennifer M. says
I heard you can use beets for a natural red color. May be worth a try looking up how and do that if you really want a red look! Plus, you will be getting vitamins from the beet juice.
Could I use arrowroot powder in place of the cornstarch? I have arrowroot powder on hand, but the cornstarch I have on hand is not organic and thus just sitting in my cupboard because I haven’t wanted to use it. I know arrowroot powder can sub for cornstarch sometimes, but that it doesn’t work all the time.
I assume that would work, but I’ve not tried it so can’t say for sure. :)
Beet root powder. :-)
Is it alright for the cake, if i substitute the eggs with flax?
I’ve never tried that, so if you’ve had experience with that and think it should work, go for it!
That did say 1/2 cup cornstarch right? I’ve never really cooked with cornstarch before. :blush: Is there any substitute for that?
Looks like a yummy recipe!
[email protected] says
You could try arrowroot powder as a substitute.
This cake looks delicious! I’m thinking of making it for my son’s birthday, but do you think it would come out well as a sheet cake? I’m afraid it would dry out by the time the middle cooked through…
I often make red velvet as a sheet cake and it turns out fine.
Do you cook it at the same temperature and just a bit longer?
I do cook it at the same temperature. It depends on the pan you use. If you use a 9×13 it will probably be a little longer than round pans. However, if you use a jelly roll type pan it will probably be a little less time. Just watch it carefully, and when you start to really smell it baking it’s usually close to being done.
I think it will be great!
Thanks, I’ll let you know how it comes out. Party is next week!