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Fifty Shades of Red (Velvet Cake)

February 12, 2015


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It’s almost here.  The weekend we’ve been heavily anticipating (whether with excitement or dread).  There will be formal candlelit dinners out, intimate dinners in, and grand gestures all in the name of love and romance.


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No, I’m not talking about Valentines Day. I’m talking about the Fifty Shades of Grey premier.  Obviously.  And I’m not the least bit embarrassed to say I’ve really been looking forward to it.


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Last summer, Bon Appétit published this hilarious post featuring recipes in honor of the steamy flick.  You can try their crown roast of lamb (“Show that rack of lamb who’s boss; make sure it’s tied up securely”), or a cocktail called the South Side (“This cocktail requires you to slap the herbs.  Please be firm, but gentle”).  


Yes, sir.


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Unlike Bon Appétit, my recipe this week isn’t about the movie, but about Hallmark’s ode to love (and profit).  I’m honoring Valentine’s Day with a massive red velvet cake in Fifty Shades of Delicious.


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I’ve played around with several variations of this recipe over the years, and the final product… well, it takes the cake (see what I did there?).  But seriously… it’s moisture and perfect cake-to-frosting ratio command serious respect.


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And don’t forget that tall glass of fresh milk to wash it down!  I’m personally smitten with Straus Family Creamery.  Based locally on the Northern California coastline, Straus was the first certified organic dairy west of the Mississippi River, and the first 100% certified organic creamery in the United States.


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Their products from milk to half and half to yogurt and ice cream are each the best I’ve ever tasted in its category.  Bold, and true.  And, their glass bottles are reminiscent of simpler, more wholesome times.  Straus is the real deal and I’m so grateful to have their products so easily accessible!


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Happy Valentines Day, friends!  And bon appétit!


The Best-Ever Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients for the cake:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups white granulated sugar

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp salt (preferably Maldon)

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs  (tip: use duck eggs for extra richness)

2 cups oil  (I use olive)

1 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp white vinegar

2 tbsp vanilla

8 tbsp red food coloring


Ingredients for the frosting:

16 oz cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups butter, room temperature

4 tbsp vanilla extract

12 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Beat eggs in a bowl or stand mixer.  Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vinegar and vanilla while mixing

Turn the speed of the hand or stand mixer down and carefully add red food coloring, being careful that it doesn’t splash when being mixed in (it stains!)

In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients

With the hand or stand mixer running, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined

Pour mixture evenly into two thoroughly greased 8 inch round cake pans  (tip:  using spring-form pans is highly recommended)

Bake for 30-35 minutes, using the toothpick test to ensure it’s done

Allow to cool before removing the cakes from the pans, then continue to cool on a wire rack  (if you put the frosting on the cakes while they are still warm, the frosting will soften so that the cake does not hold its form)

While the cakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese and butter on high until whipped, then slowly add vanilla while still mixing

Slowly add sifted sugar, about a cup at a time, allowing each cup to mix in before adding the next

When cakes are cool and frosting is ready, frost away!  There is a lot of frosting in this recipe (about double that of others) so you may have some left over.  I personally like keeping the cake to frosting ratio as even as possible :)

For a fun and super easy decoration, you can use a cookie cutter (I used a heart) and place it on top of the cake, ensuring the edges all touch the frosting.  Then, fill with sprinkles of your choice before carefully removing the cookie cutter!  Easy and fun!




One Comment leave one →
  1. February 12, 2015 8:04 am

    Thank you for the taste, Whit. It was fantastic!

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