Currently cooking from The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen.
I didn’t think this was possible, but I found an America’s Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated recipe that I don’t like. I was so surprised I had to go back and retrace each step to see if I had messed up somewhere (I didn’t). So then I went online and looked for other opinions on this recipe. It turns out there are several people who have tried it and didn’t like it or liked another red velvet cake recipe better. Once the dizziness passed, I reverted to my tried and true red velvet cake.
I needed a red velvet cake because I wanted to do this:
And get this:
Let me recap. Two layers of red velvet cake sandwiching a layer of vanilla cheesecake and covered with cream cheese frosting. Was there anything in that previous sentence that didn’t sound good?
But back to that America’s Test Kitchen recipe. When my friend asked me to make her a cake, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try this recipe. I was expecting another winner, and looking at the recipe, it seemed like it had all the right red velvet cake ingredients in it. Except for two big differences from my regular recipe—this one called for butter instead of oil and it had quite a bit more cocoa powder in it.
You start out by creaming the butter and sugar, then mix in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and salt) alternating with the wet ingredients (buttermilk, eggs, vinegar and vanilla). Finally, you make a paste of cocoa powder and red food coloring and mix that into the batter.
The cakes baked up tender and moist, with that trademark red brick color. But they just didn’t taste right. Have you ever tried to pin down the flavor of a red velvet cake? As I told Bryan, I can’t explain what it should taste like, but I know it when I taste it. This cake tasted more of chocolate and butter, and it didn’t have the tang that a red velvet cake should have. It was a good cake, but in my mind, it just wasn’t a red velvet cake.