Magnolia’s Red Velvet Cake

Two weeks ago, my darling daughter (Hi Sabrina!) turned 15.


You know what that means, right? I’ll tell you exactly what it means…… in 6 months, she will be allowed to obtain her driver’s permit.


And then my mother will leave the country to avoid the inevitable worrying… (hey, to her credit, she survived my two older brothers’ driving shenanigans, so bonus points to her)..

I actually am looking forward to Sabrina driving. I know, all parents say it opens up an entirely new set of circumstances, but the ability to have her drive herself back and forth to school, and pick up her brother from school… I’m telling you, it’s like a “get out of jail free” card.

Because some days, it seems like all I do is drive. And then drive some more. ugh….

However, now is the time to talk about cake. Every year for her birthday, Sabrina requests Red Velvet Cake. I personally don’t get the whole “red velvet” thing… but she digs it big time … therefore, that’s what I make.

Side note to my BFF Leslie ~ to whom I am forever indebted to for coining the phrase I repeat every time I make this cake ~  “Red is not a flavor!” 

This version, from the famed Magnolia Bakery in NYC, was a winner. Even my mother, who possesses the unique ability to give her slice of cake and me the questioning side eye at the same time….and I was across the room… (go figure) ~ proclaimed this cake to be exceptionally light and delicious.

Red Velvet Cake – adapted only slightly from Magnolia Bakery

3 1/3 cups cake flour
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tbs red food coloring
3 tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour three 9 x 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.

To make the cake:
In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overheat.

In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting between the layers, then the ice top and sides of the cake with frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted (you may need more sugar, depending upon how sweet you like the frosting)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the frosting, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth.


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