Red Velvet Cake from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. buttermilk (see note)
2 tbls. cocoa
One 1-ounce bottle (2 tblsp. red food coloring)
1 c. 2 sticks butter, softened
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tbls. of cider vinegar or white vinegar
TO MAKE THE CAKE, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9" round cake pans generously, and line them with wax paper or kitchen parchment. Grease the paper and flour the pans.
PREPARE THREE SEPERATE MIXTURES for the batter: combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl and use a fork to mix them together well. Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk. Combine the cocoa and red food coloring in a small bowl, mashing and stiring them together to make a thick, smooth paste.
IN A LARGE BOWL, beat the butter with a mixer at low speed for one minute, until creamy and soft. Add the sugar, and then beat well for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl now and then. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one, until the mixture is creamy, fluffy, and smooth. Scrape the cocoa-food coloring paste into the batter and beat to mix it in evenly.
ADD ABOUT A THIRD of the flour mixture, and then about half the milk, beating the batter with a mixer at low speed, and mixing only enough to make the flour or liquid disappear into the batter. Mix in another third of the flour, the rest of the milk, and then the last of the flour in the same way.
IN A SMALL BOWL, combine the baking soda and vinegar and stir well. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to quickly mix this last mixture into the red batter, folding it in gently by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
BAKE at 350 degrees F. for 20 to 25 minutes, until the layers spring back when touched lightly in the center and are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.
COOL THE CAKES in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 15 minutes. Then turn them out on the racks or on plates, remove the paper, and turn tops side up to cool completely.
1 c. milk
2 tbls. of all-purpose flour
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 tbls. vanilla extract
1 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1 c. finely chopped pecans or walnuts
TO MAKE THE ICING, combine the milk and flour in a small or medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking or stiring often, until the mixture thickens almost to a paste 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and scrape it into a small bowl to cool completely.
MEANWHILE, beat the butter with a mixer at high speed, until light and fluffy. Add the sugar in thirds, beating well each time, until the mixture is creamy and farely smooth. Add the cooled milk-and-flour mixture and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides now and then, to combine everything well. Using a large spoon or your spatula, stir in the vanilla, coconut, and pecans, mixing to combine everything well and into a thick, fluffy, nubby icing.
TO COMPLETE THE CAKE, place one layer, top side down, on a cake stand or a serving plate, and spread icing on the top. Place a second layer, right side up, on top. Frost the sides and then the top of the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more to help the icing set.
NOTE: If you don't have buttermilk, stir one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into one cup of milk and stand for ten minutes.