November 19, 2013

Homemade Red Velvet Cake Mix

I know, I know, it's kind of early to be doing a Christmassy themed post. But I have my reasons, and they're good ones too. Most importantly is that if you make your gifts like I do, now is the time to start.

Also, I was invited to be a part of a Christmas Round Up over at Cake Whiz, and I wanted to do something super awesome. I mean, have you seen Abeer's cakes? Hello gorgeousness! And I've pinned a bunch of her decorating tips since we all know that's my weakness. I certainly didn't want to provide anything substandard, you know?

When I got to thinking about and researching Christmas treats, I was seeing a lot of red velvet recipes, made with cake mix. I also saw a lot of gifts from the kitchen. Cookie mixes, drink mixes, scone mixes. Cake mixes.
Me and my homemade mix obsession decided that I was going to mixify red velvet cake.
But apparently, mixifying red velvet cake is not a thing that people normally do, because I couldn't find a recipe for a mix online. And my Old Reliable cookbook didn't have a recipe for me to adapt. *GASP*

Red velvet cake isn't a thing I usually make. The epic amounts of food coloring in it have made me a bit wary of trying, (most call for 2 oz. That's 4 tablespoons. A quarter cup of food coloring) so I didn't have a reliable base recipe. I found this Waldorf-Astoria Red Velvet Cake recipe online that had consistently good reviews and nothing out of the ordinary in terms of ingredients, so I baked it up, unmixified, to test it.

(Instead of two oz. of food coloring, I used 2 tbsp of LorAnn's Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion and 2 tbsp vegetable oil. As you can see, the color did not suffer at all, and the emulsion gave it a slightly fruity undertone)
That mouse is my favorite ornament since I was little
It was good, moist and tender. I usually prefer a little more cocoa flavor, so I'd probably increase that if I ever make it again. I whipped up some cream cheese frosting, which refused to stiffen, so I crumbed a couple of the cupcakes to edge it in. And then I added holly sprinkles, since it kind of looks like a wreath.

And then I mixified it.
Pretty common in terms of mix ingredients: flour, sugar, shortening, buttermilk powder. I added food coloring powder, which can be found in candy making and cake decorating specialty shops, like my favorite place in the world, Candyland Crafts. I think Wilton also makes some, so you might be able to find it in Michaels or JoAnn's. Or you can order it online.

The only thing I had trouble substituting was the vinegar. I ended up using cream of tartar, since it's acidic as well. The internet was little help in that regard, but it told me that I could substitute vinegar for cream of tartar in meringues so I figure the opposite should work in a cake mix, right?

Red Velvet Cake Mix
Yield: Approx. 5 cups dry mix

2¼ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
4 tbsp. dry buttermilk powder
2 heaping tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. red food coloring powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
½ cup butter-flavored shortening

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the shortening. Using a pastry cutter (or pulse in a food processor) cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 3 months. (To extend the shelf life, store in the refrigerator or freezer)

To bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the mix with 2 eggs, 1 cup water, ¼ cup vegetable oil, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners, and fill about ⅔ of the way (about 2 tbsp.) with batter. Bake 15-20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes our clean. Cool completely on wire racks. Makes 24 cupcakes

Tip: If you can't find food coloring powder, replace 2 (or more) tablespoons of the vegetable oil with regular red food coloring

Based on the Waldorf-Astoria Red Velvet Cake, found via