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Red Velvet Cake
Food and Wine

Christy Rost’s Red Velvet Cake – High & Low Altitude Recipes

Baking for chicks flocking back to the nest this season? Is a family ski trip  in your holiday plans? Or, perhaps you want to bake a “WOW!” of a cake to honor a December birthday? TV chef Christy Rost’s elegant red velvet cake recipe (with instructions for both regular and high-altitude baking) might just fit the bill. Here’s the recipe for a stunning Southern cake that tastes as good as it looks.

About Chef Christy Rost

Christy Rost

Chef, television producer and cookbook author Christy Rost

Christy Rost, the author of 3 cookbooks, maintains homes in both Dallas and Colorado, and is known for family-focused entertaining ­­recipes that are delicious, sophisticated and home cook-friendly — you don’t have to have a culinary degree to execute her delicious fare.   She hosted the Texas-based cable show Just Like Home for twelve years and is a familiar face to PBS viewers. A Thanksgiving special she  produced in 2009 has become an annual tradition in the U.S., broadcast in more than 90% of the country. Rost’s show covered not just recipes, but a glimpse of the restoration of her Colorado home, Swan’s Nest, built in 1898 by Colorado gold baron Benjamin Stanley Revett for his bride. Rost and her husband, Randy, recently received an award from the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance for their outstanding remodel of the historic building.

Christy Rost

Swan’s Nest, Christy Rost’s  Breckenridge home

The couple lovingly restored much of the original woodwork and Victorian light fixtures, but updated the house to modern standards, including adding a 600-foot studio kitchen where Rost films her show.  You can see more of the renovation on Second Shelters.

Now, on to the recipe for luscious red velvet cake. Christy shares two versions: red velvet cake instructions for baking at sea level, and the red velvet cake mountain version she makes at Swan’s Nest’s elevation of 9,300-feet. (If you’ve ever attempted baking at high altitude, you know lower air pressure in higher elevations can wreak havoc on standard recipes; cakes rise quickly and fall in the center even faster unless adjustments are made to proportions of flour, sugar and leavening agents.)

Christy Rost’s Red Velvet Cake Low Altitude Version

Ingredients:

2/3 cup milk

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 ¾ cups sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 ½ tablespoons red food coloring

1 ½  teaspoons vanilla

2 ¾  cups cake flour, sifted

2 ½ tablespoons cocoa, sifted

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add vinegar to the milk, stir, and set it aside to sour.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until the mixture is light, about 8 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add food coloring and vanilla, beating until they are well blended.

In a medium bowl, stir together cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Gradually beat the flour mixture, alternately with sour milk, into the creamed mixture. The batter will be light and fluffy.

Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then spray the pans and the paper with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Pour the cake batter evenly into the pans and bake 28 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack 30 minutes, remove them from the pans, and cool completely. Frost the cakes with Seven-Minute Frosting.

Yield: 1 two-layer, 9-inch cake

And, standard conditions Seven-Minute Frosting, beautiful as new fallen snow:

Christy Rost’s Seven-Minute Frosting

Ingredients:

2 egg whites, at room temperature

1/3 cup water

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer. Place egg whites and 1/3 cup water in a heat-proof bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture begins to foam. Add cream of tartar and beat 1 minute until the egg whites start to thicken. Place the bowl over simmering water, but do not allow the bowl to touch the water. Continue beating until the egg whites double in volume.

Gradually add sugar, beating until the frosting is thick, glossy and holds its shape, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Frost the cake and chill until ready to serve.

Yield: Frosting for 1 two layer 9-inch cake.

Now, the red velvet cake and Seven-Minute Frosting recipes for mountain baking:

Christy Rost’s High-Altitude Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients:

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 ½  cups sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 ½ tablespoons red food coloring

3 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup cake flour, sifted

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ tablespoons cocoa, sifted

½  teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

Adjust the oven racks to the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Add vinegar to the milk, stir and set aside to sour.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, and sugar until the mixture is light, about 8 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add food coloring and vanilla, beating until well blended.

In a medium bowl, stir together cake flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Gradually beat the flour mixture, alternately with sour milk, into the creamed mixture. The batter will be light and fluffy.

Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then spray the pans and the paper with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Pour the cake batter evenly into the pans, and bake 28 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack 30 minutes, remove them from the pans, and cool completely. Frost the cakes with High-Altitude Seven-Minute Frosting.

Yield: (1) 9-inch two-layer cake

Christy Rost’s High-Altitude Seven-Minute Frosting

Ingredients:

2 egg whites, at room temperature

¼ cup water

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer. Place egg whites and ¼ cup water in a heat-proof bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture begins to foam. Add cream of tartar and beat 1 minute until the egg whites start to thicken. Place the bowl over simmering water, but do not allow the bowl to touch the water. Continue beating until the egg whites double in volume.

Gradually add sugar, beating until the frosting is thick, glossy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Frost the cake and chill until ready to serve.

Yield: Frosting for 1 two layer, 9-inch cake.

red velvet cake celebrating homeAll recipes are excerpted from Christy’s most recent book on recipes and entertaining, Celebrating Home: A Handbook for Gracious Living. The red velvet cake has a special place in her heart. “I remember seeing my first red velvet cake when I was in sixth grade,” said Rost. “I was eating lunch in the school cafeteria when a girl in the next row carefully unwrapped a slice of bright red cake her mother had wrapped in foil. With snow white frosting, I thought it was the prettiest cake I’d ever seen. I could only imagine how it  tasted, but I was certain it was divine.”

We concur!

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

 

 

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