Red Velvet Cake
1/4 cup red food coloring (two one-ounce bottles)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9- x 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together until well combined the food coloring, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Add in the salt. Beat in the cocoa mixture until thoroughly incorporated. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter at the end, making sure to mix well.
4. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Let cake cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack. When cake has cooled, ice between the layers, then ice top and sides of cake with Red Velvet Icing.
Red Velvet Icing
2 cups milk
3/8 cup all-purpose flour
4 sticks unsalted butter, cold
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk to combine the milk and flour. Stir constantly over medium-high heat until smooth and thick (anywhere from 12 to 18 minutes). Let the mixture cool for at least 50 minutes. When cool, remove the "skin" that has formed at the top and discard.
2. While mixture is cooling, on the medium-high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until quite fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Incorporate the cooled milk mixture in thirds, beating well after each addition.