My eldest daughter wanted red velvet cake for her birthday. I have no idea where she came up with this notion; after all, I've never made nor even had such a thing. A great deal of research led me to the conclusion that it's a rather mild chocolate cake with a peculiar means of rising. Armed with that information, I created a cake recipe that they all enjoyed.
RED VELVET CAKE
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2-1/2 cups sifted flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp white vinegar
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined, then beat in the red coloring, salt and vanilla; beat well. Stir together the cocoa powder and flour. Add half the dry mixture, followed by half the buttermilk, then the balance of each. Beat until well combined, and don't use the mixer beyond this point! Pour the vinegar into a measuring cup, then add the baking soda. Quickly pour this into the cake batter, and stir it in with a rubber scraper. Pour into either two 9" layer pans, or a 9x12 sheet cake pan. Bake approx. 30 minutes for the layers (I think) or 35 to 38 for the sheet cake. Frost with white frosting after the cake has completely cooled.
I know that red velvet cake is "supposed to be" a layer cake, but here in my little corner of the world, birthday cakes are sheet cakes. It's the law. So, here you have it: a nonconformist red velvet cake.
There is a lot of color in this cake, and it's rather shocking when it comes out of the oven. Every recipe I found called for at least twice the red coloring I put in, but this worked out fine for me. It's not a hard cake to make, once you realize that the leavening is a little unconventional. Try it the next time you want a cake people will remember!