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Red Velvet Cake with History

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  1. Red velvet cake also known as the $100 dollar cake, $200 dollar cake, or Waldorph Astoria Cake is only a legend as is the Nieman Marcus cookies and all are examples of a legend that pits institutions against a consumer who feels he/she has been unfairly charged.The recipe is a grass roots recipe not an institutional one.
  2. James Beard outlines in his American Cookery that there is really 3 varieties of red velvet cake, recipes being different in the use of butter, vegetable shortening ( crisco ) and oil.Most all call for cake flour and buttermilk, baking soda and vinegar for the leaving process. The redness of the cake comes from red food color despite the chemical reaction of baking soda, vinegar , buttermilk and cocoa which cause a reddish brown color, not red in the cake.
  3. This cake is moist and red with a velvety texture and the flavor nondistinctive as is most red velvet cakes. Red Velvet cake is also cultural as recipes differ in community cookbooks accross America even as to the type of frosting for the cake. The moistest cake is one made with oil and cake flour.The amount of food color is up to you.Start with 2 teaspoons as a base. The above recipe comes from:" Celebrating Our Mothers' Kitchen", a fundraising cookbook published by The National Council for Negro Woman.
  4. with paper.In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt. In another bowl with mixer at low speed or spoon beat Sugar and oil until blended. Add eggs, one at a time to blend well.Blend in food color, vanilla and vinegar.Scape bowl down with spatula. Alternately blend in flour mixture and buttermilk, using about 1/3 each time and scraping bowl down at least twice. Do not beat on high or cake will be tough.Pour into prepared pans and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 20 to 25 minutes or tested done with toothpick.
  5. Cool on racks 5 minutes and remove from pan and cool completely.Frost layers when cold.Beat cream cheese until softened and smooth. Add butter and continue to beat till softened. Beat in Sugar a little at a time and then vanilla.If too thick blend in cold milk a tablespoon at a time till desired consisitency.

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