Harley’s Winning Red Velvet Cake

0126161104In the south, there is nothing more quintessentially “Southern” than a red velvet cake. Sadly, too many people think that any red colored is a red velvet cake.  It is not. A proper and true red velvet cake isn’t simply red; it MUST have buttermilk, cocoa powder and vinegar  A true red velvet cake will be a deep, red contrasted with white/ivory cream cheese frosting. Chopped nuts, usually pecans, are common, but not required.

I was trained to judge cakes at our county fair by my grandmother.  She was a foods judge for as long as I can remember.  After high school and college, I clerked for her, recording her comments, organizing her paperwork, and often times, slicing cakes for her.  She taught me how to be objective and impartial, regardless of my personal preferences.  My granny disliked/hated three things…peanut butter cookies, butternut cake, and red velvet cake.  However, you never knew it, because she always judged them fairly, based on their merits rather than her preferences. Lucky for me, as my judging skills developed, she would give me all of the red velvet and butternut cakes…YAY! I love both, so when the judging room gets either cake in, I always volunteer to judge them.
This year, a red velvet cake came in that I couldn’t judge. Harley is the 11 yr old daughter/granddaughter/niece of close family friends, and having known her since she was born, it wouldn’t have been fair, but that didn’t stop me from tasting it.  I LOVE RED VELVET CAKE!  (I’m not a huge fan of icing/frosting, but I love the cake.) And, Harley’s red velvet cake certainly did not disappoint.  It was fabulous, and I guess the bidders at the auction agreed.  She sold her cake for over $200!

Red Velvet Cake

1 ½ c. sugar

1 ½ c. cooking oil

2 eggs

1 tsp. vinegar

2 oz. red food coloring

2 ½ c. all purpose flour

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. cocoa

1 c. buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla

Cream sugar and oil, add eggs and beat well. Add vinegar and food coloring; beat well. Sift dry ingredients; add alternating with milk. Add vanilla; beat well.  Pour into greased cake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Red Velvet Frosting

 1 stick butter

8oz cream cheese-softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1 lb powdered suga- sifted

1 c. chopped pecans

Cream butter and cream cheese; add vanilla and sifted sugar.  Mix well. Spread evenly between layers and outside of cake.  Top with chopped pecans.

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