Food & Drink

Red velvet cake

Red velvet cake

1/2 cup butter flavored shortening

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 (1 ounce) bottles liquid red food coloring

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Serves 16-20.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake layer pans. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar. Stir in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Place the cocoa in a small bowl. Add food coloring. Blend together. Add to the batter. Sift together flour and salt. Add to the batter alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl well. Blend again. Place the baking soda in a very small bowl or measuring cup. Add vinegar and stir to dissolve. Stir into the batter, blending well. Divide batter between prepared pans, spreading batter evenly. Place in oven.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and set pans on cooling racks. Let cool 5 minutes. Remove cake layers from pans by quickly inverting cake layers onto cooling rack. Let cool completely. Using a sharp and preferably long serrated knife, slice each cake layer in half horizontally, creating a total of 4 layers. Spread desired icing between layers (and on the sides, too, if desired). Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator, but best if served at room temperature.

Cream cheese icing

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 (16 oz.) box plus 3 cups 10X confectioners' sugar, sifted

Using an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese and butter until well blended. Stir in the vanilla extract. Add the confectioners' sugar a cup at a time, blending well after each addition. This is a gracious plenty to cover all cake layers as well as the sides of a 4 layer cake.

My mother's icing:

9 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Whisk together flour and milk until as smooth as possible. Strain through a sieve (to remove any flour lumps) into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Using an electric mixer, blend together the flour/milk mixture with sugar. Beat until all sugar is dissolved. Add the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. This is a gracious plenty to cover all cake layers as well as the sides of a 4 layer cake.

French silk butter cream

2 2/3 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup water

4 eggs, room temperature

3 1/4 cups butter, softened

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over high heat until candy thermometer registers 236 to 240 degrees. (soft ball stage).

Place eggs in a deep mixing bowl. While beating eggs with an electric mixer, slowly add hot syrup in a thin stream. (This should take a couple of minutes.) Cool to room temperature, stirring several times while cooking. Once at room temperature you can proceed with the recipe. Cut each stick of butter into eight equal pieces. Place the egg/syrup mixture in a large mixing bowl, Using an electric mixer, add the butter one piece at a time. (Do NOT add the butter too quickly or you will end up with butter lumps.) It will take you several minutes to add all of the butter, continuing to beat with the mixer all the while. Stir in vanilla extract.

This is a gracious plenty to cover all cake layers as well as the sides of a 4 layer cake.