If we look beyond the striking appearance of this Red Velvet Cake, we will find that it has a mild chocolate flavor with a moist and tender crumb. The mild chocolate flavor comes from adding a small amount of cocoa powder to the batter and buttermilk gives it a moist and tender crumb. If you are not familiar with buttermilk it has a nice thick creamy texture with a rich tangy buttery taste that makes baked goods tender. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup (240 ml) of milk. Let this mixture stand 5 to 10 minutes before using.
Once the Red Velvet Cake layers have been baked and cooled, I find it is best to place the cake layers in the refrigerator or freezer (for at least an hour) before frosting. This extra step makes the spreading of the frosting a much easier task as a freshly baked cake is quite fragile and when you try to spread the frosting there is a tendency for the cake to tear. Refrigerating or freezing the cake first eliminates this problem. In fact, you may want to bake the cakes the day before you need them and then you can just place the cakes in the fridge overnight to firm up.
The type of frosting used on a Red Velvet Cake can vary. While I have used a Cream Cheese Frosting, other recipes often call for a 7-Minute Frosting or even a White Confectioners Frosting. Recently I found a new cream cheese frosting that I like very much and I have included it here. It still uses cream cheese but it also contains mascarpone cheese, which is an Italian cheese that is thick, buttery-rich, delicately sweet and velvety, ivory-colored cheese produced from cow's milk. Its texture is similar to that of sour cream. It is sold in plastic 8-ounce tubs and you can usually find it in specialty food stores or in the deli section of your local grocery store. If you cannot find Mascarpone just use regular cream cheese instead, which means using 16 ounces of cream cheese altogether. Besides the cream cheese and mascarpone, this frosting also contains whipped cream so you end up with a soft and creamy frosting. The frosting recipe is adapted from 'The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook' by John Doherty.Read more: