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Happy Birthday to Me: Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Red Velvet Cake

Posted Dec 06 2009 2:43pm
We celebrated my 35th birthday yesterday by decorating our tree and house, eating homemade ravioli and having Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Red Velvet Cake for dessert. There's something spectacular about the Red Velvet Cake. Whenever I've been to a party, and little gourmet red velvet cupcakes are served, the response to these little delights always involves some oohs and aahs. How DID those little cakes get red? What IS it about that frosting that is so addictive? I've always loved the red velvet cake (and cupcakes), and thought this would be the perfect dessert to make. Old cookbooks say the cake's vibrant color comes from the natural red tint created by mixing vinegar, buttermilk and cocoa powder. Most recipes call for additional red coloring to truly bring out the cake's bright color. I've played around around with the amount of food coloring needed, and find that it really is a personal preference (as evidenced by my family). Use anywhere from 2-3 tablespoons red food coloring to achieve the level of redness you desire. Red velvet cake is traditionally served with cream cheese frosting, and I think there is no substitute. I've also eaten some cakes with regular buttercream, but there is something about the cream cheese frosting that really takes the cake (pun intended!). And don't be fooled into thinking this is a "chocolate" cake, even though it does have a hint of chocolate flavor. The cocoa's main function is to react with the vinegar to help produce that wonderful red color. I made this cake as a 13 x 9 sheet cake (my favorite type of birthday cake), but you could certainly vary the recipe by making 24 red velvet cupcakes, or about 48 mini cupcakes. Just line your 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Cool completely and frost with my dairy, egg and nut free cream cheese frosting. Enjoy and Happy Baking! DAIRY, EGG AND NUT FREE RED VELVET CAKE 1 1/2 sticks dairy free margarine (I use Fleischman's UNSALTED) 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar 1 c. dairy free buttermilk (1 c. soy or rice milk mixed with 1 T. vinegar, let sit for 5-10 minutes) 1/2 c. silken tofu 1 T. vinegar 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 2-3 T. red food coloring 2 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. salt 3 T. cocoa powder (I use Hershey's) Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Cream Cheese Frosting (below) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13 x 9 glass pyrex baking sheet with dairy free baking spray. Set aside. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the dairy free margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. In a large glass measuring cup mix together "buttermilk", silken tofu, vinegar, vanilla and red food coloring with a wire whisk until combined. Add to margarine mixture and beat on low until thoroughly incorporated. In a medium seperate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder with a wire wisk. Add to margarine and "buttermilk" mixture and stir on low until slightly combined, scrape down sides and turn mixer on medium high. Beat for about two minutes, making sure the red food coloring is evenly distributed throughout the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack and frosting with Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Cream Cheese Frosting. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. DAIRY, EGG AND NUT FREE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING Yield: 2 cups  1/2 cup dairy-free margarine 3/4 cup dairy-free cream cheese 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the margarine, cream cheese, salt, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, and mix on low for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, and beat 4 to 6 minutes, until light and fluffy. Chill before using.
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