Thanksgiving Ideas

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Create a truly extravagant and decadent dessert for any special occasion.

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Holidays and get-togethers are the time to enjoy the company of family and friends, not just toil away in the kitchen. At least that's the philosophy Al Roker promotes in Al Roker's Hassle Free Holiday Cookbook.

The television weatherman offers recipes, shortcuts, tips and strategies in his book, subtitled "More Than 125 Recipes for Family Celebrations All Year Long."

Ingredients

For the Cake:
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 to 4 tablespoons red food coloring

For the Frosting:
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

For the Cake:
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch cake pans and dust with flour.
2. Using an electric mixer or mixing by hand, beat together the shortening and sugar until fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, vinegar and food coloring (one tablespoon will give you a dark brown-red; the color will become brighter the more food coloring you add).
4. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, until all ingredients are just incorporated and the batter is smooth. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter evenly into the two prepared pans.
5. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake just begins to pull away from the sides of the pans and a knife inserted in the center of each comes out clean.
6. Remove from the oven, place on wire racks and let cool for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans, and remove the cakes from the pans by inverting them onto the racks. Turn right-side up and let cool thoroughly.

For the Frosting:
1. In a small saucepan combine the flour, salt and a few tablespoons of the milk, stirring until smooth. Set the saucepan over low heat and stir in the remaining milk. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of gravy, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla for a minute or so until smooth. Scrape the cooled flour mixture into the butter mixture and beat on high speed for about 3 minutes, until the frosting is the consistency of whipped cream. The frosting can be covered and refrigerated for up to two days; let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to reach a spreadable consistency.
3. Place one layer of the cake on a serving plate and spread with a little less than half the frosting. Place the remaining cake layer on top and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

Note: The cake can be stored, loosely covered, at room temperature for up to 24 hours or frozen, well wrapped, for up to a month. If frozen, let the cake come to room temperature before serving.

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