Red Velvet Cake with Raspberries & Blueberries

I love making desserts. I’m pretty good at it and they’re so much fun to share. Who’s ever been angry with you for giving them cookies and cake? Even models and beauty queens will thank you, enjoy it, and barf it up in private later.

Just kidding.

Maybe.

This weekend I had a get together with some friends, which provided me with the opportunity to bake. Woo hoo!

Red Velvet Cake with Raspberries and Blueberries

From an old Bon Appetit magazine comes this summery, southern treat with just a tease of chocolate and the addition of fresh fruit. A friend suggested I should have also topped this with blackberries — a fantastic suggestion that I think we should all follow for next time.

I ended up not having enough food coloring for this — the original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon, but I only had a half. Then I just had to pray that my cakes didn’t turn out pink.

Pink Batter
Uh…

Thankfully, the cakes did come out red and the dessert was a huge hit. The cakes themselves were moist and delicious, and the addition of fruit with the cream cheese frosting was such a tasty touch. If you’re not a big baker, this is an easy cake to put together. It’s also an easy cake to make look beautiful, because blemishes can be covered up with frosting and fruit. (You can’t tell in the pictures, but one of my cakes sank a little bit in the center — I made that my bottom layer and just stuffed a little more fruit in between the cakes to fill it out.)

First Cake Layer - with berries & cream cheese frosting
Fruit is actually incorporated into the cake by sprinkling it between the layers, rather than just throwing it on top like an afterthought.

Red Velvet Cake with Raspberries and Blueberries
Adapted from Bon Appetit

CAKE
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs

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

FOR CAKE:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.

FOR FROSTING:
Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. 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. 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.)

Now, on the above photograph of the layering process, you can see that the cakes are pretty crumbly on the edges. When I frosted the sides, a lot of the crumbs came off and got all gooped up in the frosting and ended up not looking as spectacular as I wanted. (As an aside, I don’t think anyone cared — they just said, “Ohmygodcake!” And then we had a stampede.) What I should have done for cleaner sides is spread a “crumb” layer where a very thin layer of frosting goes on the sides to collect the crumbs, then stick it in the refrigerator for 15 – 20 minutes. Once that thin layer of frosting hardens, then I could have brought it back out and frosted the rest.

As they say, hind sight. 20/20.

I wanted to provide a really beautiful inside shot of the cake however, due to the aforementioned stampede, I ended up with more of a cake autopsy. Here it is, and the cake did turn out nice and (mostly) red.

Cake Autopsy
Scalpel… Forceps…

Not beautiful, but everyone was enjoying it and that’s better than having a pretty cake no one likes. Here’s the Bon Appetit photo, which looks a lot prettier:

Bon Appetit Red Velvet Cake

You won’t be disappointed with this one. The addition of the berries make it a very appropriate dessert for the summer.

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