Meemaw’s Red Velvet Cake
This is not the ordinary Red Velvet Cake. It uses no food coloring.
It contains cherry puree and grenadine syrup.
The cherry/cocoa/vanilla/grenadine combination is very flavorful.
It is very important to follow the directions exactly.
Note that there is no baking powder in this cake.
The action of the acids and alkaline ingredients mixed in the proper order and the extended beating to incorporate air into the batter is what leavens this cake.
You must start with all ingredients at room temperature so set the eggs out and measure out the buttermilk at least an hour before you plan to start mixing. Let them set out overnight if you are going to bake it early in the morning.
All purpose flour 2-2/3 cups (you can also use 1/2 all purpose and 1/2 cake flour for a more tender cake and a finer texture)
Crisco 1/2 cup (This is important for the texture, butter doesn’t work as well.)
Eggs 2 large – room temp.
Salt 1 level teaspoon
Pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
Cocoa 6 rounded Tablespoons Dutch process.
Buttermilk 1 cup – room temp (or 3/4 cup sour cream thinned with a little milk to make 1 cup).
Baking soda 1 teaspoon (Bicarbonate of Soda)
Granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups
Pitted canned cherries 1 cup (sweetened), drained and pureed
Grenadine syrup 1/4 cup
Vinegar 2 teaspoons (White vinegar)
Cherry jam 1/2 cup (or seedless strawberry or raspberry jam).
First grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans – or line with bakers parchment. You can also use a large rectangular pan.
In a large mixing bowl cream the shortening, sugar and vanilla, beat until very fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating each until completely incorporated into the batter, set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa, cherry puree, grenadine syrup and vinegar and set aside.
In a medium bowl mix together the buttermilk, flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
Turn oven on, set at 350 degrees F.
Add the cocoa/cherry mix to shortening/sugar/vanilla, blend well.
Add the buttermilk/ flour/baking soda/ salt mixture to the batter and blend until batter is completely smooth and looks silky.
Continue beating on medium speed for 3 minutes. This is important!
Pour batter into the cake pans.
With a rubber (or silicone) spatula, start at the center and turning the pans, spread the batter out toward the edges so the level is slightly lower in the center.
Bake for 50 minutes, test with a cake tester, if it still appears moist, bake an additional 5-10 minutes.
Turn out onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Place one layer, top side down, on a cake plate.
Spread cherry jam (or other jam) over the layer.
Place top layer, top side up on top of jam filling. Using three long skewers, secure top and bottom layers.
The traditional icing for this cake is “7-minute frosting” or “Fluffy white icing” or Italian meringue.
7 Minute Frosting
Sugar 1 1/2 cups
Cream of tartar 1/2 tsp.
Water 5 TBS
Vanilla extract 1 tsp.
egg whites 3
Place a medium size, heat resistant bowl, (stainless steel or glass) over rapidly boiling water.
Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, and water in the bowl.
Cook for 2 minutes.
Cook for an additional 5 minutes until the syrup spins a thread when the spoon is lifted from the bowl. Reduce heat, leave bowl over barely simmering water.
Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Beat in the vanilla.
While still beating, slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg whites.
Continue beating until thick and it forms stiff peaks.
If mixture gets too thick, reheat for 1 minute over the simmering water.
Pile half the frosting onto the cake and work it out to the edges and down the sides. Add the rest of the frosting, cover the sides evenly and also the top. Using the flat of a spatula, pat and lift on the surface of the frosting to pull it up into peaks all over the cake.
I have revised the recipe today 6/5/2011 after making two cakes yesterday, one with regular cocoa and one with Dutch process. I like the latter better. This is a personal preference and you might prefer the regular cocoa, so use what you like.