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Waldorf-inspired red velvet cake

Matthew Antonino - Fotolia
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Saturday, May 17, 2014, 8:39 p.m.
 

Recently, I visited the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. I was in town for the James Beard Awards, often referred to as “the Oscars of food and wine.” I dined at the hotel's Peacock Alley restaurant and, for dessert, ordered red velvet cake. It was as good as I had ever tasted.

The Waldorf's cake features canned beets as well as red food coloring. My recipe is inspired by the Waldorf's but only uses red food coloring. I like to make crumbs out of the sliced-off cake tops and then press them against the bottom half of the cake for a pretty decorative touch.

Diane Rossen Worthington is a cookbook author and a James Beard award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.

Diane's Red Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Butter, for greasing pan

2 cups cake flour, plus more for pan

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

1 ounce bottled red food coloring

For the frosting:

4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature

18 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 12 cups confectioners' sugar

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder.

In a glass measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, eggs, vinegar and vanilla and whisk together until blended.

Place the oil in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-speed, slowly add the sugar and beat until incorporated, for about 1 minute. Add the food coloring and beat until bright red. Alternate adding half of the dry and wet ingredients on medium speed. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the wet ingredients. Beat until there are no lumps.

Transfer the batter evenly into the cake pans. Bake for 34 to 38 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of each cake. Remove the cakes and cool them in the pans. When cool, carefully loosen the sides of the cake and invert the layers onto cooling racks.

To prepare the frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer on medium speed. Slowly beat in the vanilla and confectioners' sugar until incorporated; the mixture should be a thick frosting-like consistency.

Using a serrated knife, trim the top of each layer of cake so that it is flat. Arrange the first layer on a cake plate or serving platter, and spread frosting over the top and sides. Place the remaining layer right side up and frost the top and the sides until all of the cake is covered evenly. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Makes a 2-layer, 9-inch cake.

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