02 July 2010

how-to make a red velvet flag cake

by marta, yours truly

my mom's traditional American Flag Red Velvet Cake. we devour it at least once a year. i thought it ought to be the first how-to in this new series since i just learned how to make it myself. scroll down for the story, the steps and the recipe.

this is marty (my mom) and me. she recently taught me how to bake her famous red velvet cake. (she was shocked to find out i'd never attempted it on my own.) i include this random photo of us because when we were baking our cakes, we were in jammies at midnight, in no position to take a cute picture. let me just say, there is no one in the world that can cheer you up quite like your own mother. while prepping for the big fourth of july holiday, we wore aprons, baked up a storm, tinted coconut and watched frasier reruns. my mom's whirring kitchenaid (the same one that has sat on the counter my whole life) always makes me happy.

i found this photo of the beloved red velvet cake and my family (i am the little blond peeking out on the left) and thought it needed to go along with the post to prove that this classic cake has been around long before i have. please note.. my mom's favorite colors (perfect for this patriotic weekend), the darling wallpaper and her beautiful block quilt serving as a tablecloth.

here we go. before baking this cake, give yourself plenty of time, read the recipe carefully and dive in. pull your hair back, wear an apron and clear off your counters. start by creaming the softened butter, sugar and eggs. while that is going, make a paste in a separate bowl with the cocoa and red food coloring. mix that in and watch your ordinary batter turn extraordinary.

after adding the red food coloring, there is really no turning back. my mom warned me to be extra careful since this stuff can get everywhere. she says she never let the little kids help with this cake due to its dangerous red-streaking possibilities. when adding the buttermilk, alternate it with the flour. stop the mixer every time, as not to cause splattering. beat the batter well.

grease and sugar the pan while the mixer is whirring (in locked position, of course).

now for the scientific part. after all the ingredients are well combined, you get to do a little science experiment. mix the vinegar and baking soda together and gently fold the potion into your red velvet cake batter. did i tell you this cake was high maintenance? pour the batter into a 9x13 pan and bake. now you can start your frosting.

once the timer dings, test your cake with a toothpick and allow to cool while fixing up the frosting. which is another high maintenance project in and of itself. but so well worth it, i promise.

once whipped and frothy, slather the frosting on the cooled cakes. decorate with candles or sprinkles. if you're making an American flag, like my mom and betsy ross, then get ready for some more fun; tinting the coconut flakes.

separate a handful of coconut into two ziplock baggies, leaving some still in its package. meaning, you'll need three pouches of coconut total to create red, white and blue. add three to four drops of food coloring into your bags. shake the coconut around until the shades looks uniform. carefully sprinkle the tinted coconut into rows for a pretty flag effect.

Marty's Red Velvet Flag Cake
by travelin' oma

1/2 cup shortening (or 1 cube butter)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
cream together

2 T. unsweetened cocoa
1 oz. red food coloring (the recipe calls for 2 oz., but 1 oz. will work.)
mix in small bowl to make paste, combine with creamed mixture

1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
stir together in small bowl, then add alternating with flour

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
mix batter well on medium high until combined

1 T. vinegar
1 tsp. soda
mix; gently fold into batter and pour into prepared pans.

bake at 350 for 30 minutes and start your frosting. allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.

American Flag Frosting
5 T. flour
1 cup milk
stir together in small sauce pan over low heat. continue stirring it while bringing the heat to medium high. mixture should thicken into a cream of wheat type consistency. strange, but true. remove from heat and allow to cool in saucepan while the cake bakes.

1 cup powder sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
mix sugar, butter and vanilla. add the cooked milk mixture and beat until frothy and fabulous. now frost and decorate your cake.



Anonymous said...

Made my morning to open your blog and see that you are back. You have a very nice site. - Mark

[eeny] said...

Fabulous start for your How-To Series, Marta. I just put the recipe on my To-Bake List =)

{natalie} said...

do you know what size round pans if i don't want to use a 9x13?? just curious.

i can't wait to try this.

thanks for the tutorial.

Unknown said...

I'm grateful that you're beginning to get your feet back in the water. Enjoy your weekend! I look forward to all the delightful photos when you get back from your celebrations!

Unknown said...

Fabulous! I grew up in the South so I know a great Red Velvet recipe when I see one. I would love to try this as cupcakes.


Hil said...

Oh my goodness. This is beautiful! I can't tell you how much love that old photo. There is nothing more charming then taking a peak into someone's childhood. Thank you (and your beautiful mom) for sharing this with us! I can't wait to try it out.

Unknown said...

I have been wondering how to make my red velvet actually RED for what feels like forever! Thank you so much for this recipe...it's exactly what I've been looking. Bookmarked and ready to bake!

Piper Larson said...

Beautiful post! And the cake looks amazing. It's so nice to a tradition like this within your family. Thanks for sharing it with us!
XO Piper

sarah cool said...

You are adorable, and I always get such great recipes from your blog. Thanks for being awesome. :-)

summer said...

oh marta. yumm.
hooray for buttermilk and vinegar! they make it the best, for sure.

have a happy 4th, my friend.
am thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

This looks scrumptious! Thanks so much for the recipe. I can't wait to try it out.

Have a fabulous 4th!

Unknown said...

First of all, Marty looks too young to be your mom. :o) Second, I love red velvet cake and can't wait to try this lovely recipe. The last time I made red velvet cake was 1989 and it didn't come out good at all. I made it for my 15th birthday for my whole family to eat and it was terrible. I need to redeem myself and this is perfect. Thank you for sharing!!

Oh, My Darling said...

Oh my goodness, I'm obsessed with this cake!

Kari said...

Oh, sweet girl--I am ever so glad that you are back. And that you're feeling better.
And really very sad that I already did the 4th shopping and I'm missing a few things to make the cake. Perhaps mine will have to be a Pioneer Day Cake. (What color would that be? Brown? Does coconut dye brown?)

Krista said...

yum can't wait to try this. happy to hear you're with family and on the up and up.

Sarah said...

What a fun yummy tradition! I hope that you have a fabulous 4th of july.

mama jo said...

love the post...reminds of the days when my mom made that cake for us...the picture of you all is so fun...everyone including grandma june look so young!

Hannah said...

I loved the coconut flag so much, I made one myself. Darling idea, as always.

Rochester Mom said...

Looks so yummy and patriotic! I wish I had seen this post before the holiday ;-)

emilyruth said...

totally cute cake! i love the 'distressed' look the coconut gives :)

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