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Red Velvet Birthday Cake

It was my sister's 22nd birthday a little over a week ago and lucky me, I had a reason to make a cake. I asked her to let me know what kind of cake she wanted and was expecting her typical favorite: chocolate with peanut butter. So, I was super surprised and excited to see that she was challenging me with a cake I had never made before: a red velvet cake! I sort of made my own recipe by combining a few and it was an absolute success! The cake was moist and velvety and there was not one slice leftover. Erica, one of my sister's best friends, even asked, "Where did you buy the cake?" which made my night. I didn't have enough food coloring so it ended up being somewhere between pink, red, and brown. To make this cake for your next birthday party,

Red Velvet Cake
Modified from Martha Stewart and Bon Appetit magazine

For cake:
3/4 Cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 Cups cake flour, (not self-rising), sifted, plus more for pans
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
2 Cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 Teaspoon salt
2 1-ounce bottles liquid red food coloring
3 Tablespoons lukewarm water
1 Cup buttermilk
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
For frosting:
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 1/2-pint baskets fresh raspberries
3 1/2-pint baskets fresh blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, and butter again. Dust with flour, and tap out the excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, cocoa, and baking powder; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla, salt, food coloring, and water; beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well combined.
  5. Add reserved dry ingredients in additions, alternating with the buttermilk; beat on low speed until well combined.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together baking soda and vinegar; add to batter. Beat on medium speed for 10 seconds. Be sure not to over beat.
  7. Divide batter between prepared pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until completely cool.
  8. Make frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  9. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over top of cake. Arrange 1 basket raspberries and 1/2 basket blueberries atop frosting, pressing lightly to adhere.
  10. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange remaining berries decoratively over top of cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)
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