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Author Notes: We all know and love the classic red velvet cake. It's everywhere you look around Valentine's Day, beckoning with bold scarlet offset by demure cream. I took off with the romantic theme and decided to give this gorgeous cake aphrodisiac properties through the power of spices. (You've been forewarned-- proceed with caution.)
Both the cake and frosting recipes are adapted from those published in The New York Times in 2007. I spiced up the cake recipe, from "The Confetti Cakes Cookbook" by Elisa Strauss (Little, Brown, 2007), with a bit with cayenne, chipotle, and cinnamon. I've reduced the amount of cream in the cream cheese frosting recipe from “The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook,” by John Doherty with John Harrisson (Bulfinch, 2006) to give it a bit more body. And for a dramatic finishing touch, I sprinkled the top with cinnamon Red Hots candies. —Beautiful, Memorable Food
Makes 1 triple layered cake
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 cups canola oil
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 ounces red food coloring
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
- cream cheese-mascarpone frosting (recipe follows)
- 1/2 cup Red Hots candies (garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place teaspoon of butter in each of 3 round 9-inch layer cake pans and place pans in oven for a few minutes until butter melts. Remove pans from oven, brush interior bottom and sides of each with butter and line bottoms with parchment.
- Whisk cake flour, cocoa, salt and spices in a bowl.
- Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
- Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.
- Divide batter among pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, flip layers over and peel off parchment. Cool completely before frosting.
- Frost cake layers generously, then top with Red Hots for your Valentine.
Cream cheese-Mascarpone Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold
- 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 12 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
- Softly whip cream. Cover in bowl and refrigerate.
- Blend cream cheese and mascarpone in food processor or electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, pulse briefly, and add confectioners’ sugar. Blend well.
- Transfer cream cheese mixture to bowl; fold in whipped cream. Refrigerate until needed.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Chocolate & Spice
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