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RED VELVET PEPPERMINT CAKE

This is time consuming but it is such a beautiful, elegant dessert - so worth all of the time and effort!  During the summer months, I make a plain Red Velvet Cake with berries.  At Christmas, it's peppermint!  Red Velvet Cake is a Southern favorite and a tradition.  I added my own desired amount of cocoa.  Remember, Red Velvet Cake is not a chocolate cake, so don’t be tempted to go overboard on the cocoa!


FOR THE CAKE:

  • 2 ½ cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 ½ sticks butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream

FOR THE FROSTING

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 stick of butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1½ overflowing teaspoons peppermint extract
  • Round peppermint candies, crushed and some pieces whole.

*This is a time consuming cake to make, but each step is important to ensure a delicious outcome!

Preheat oven to 350.  Generously grease 2 9-inch cake pans, and then place parchment paper in the bottom.  Press parchment paper into the pans, the grease the parchment paper and sides of the pan very well.

First sift the cake flour; then sift again with the cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a medium sized bowl and set aside.  For the next step, I use a medium sized glass measuring cup with a pour spout.  Whisk together buttermilk, red food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.  Set aside.  In a large, third bowl, using a hand mixer, beat sugar and butter until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well, then add sour cream.  Slowly add the dry and wet ingredients alternately, starting and ending with the dry.  (Pour a little of the flour mixture in, beat, then add the buttermilk mixture and beat well.  Repeat, making certain that your last addition is the flour mixture).

Evenly divide batter into two prepared pans and bake 26 to 28 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan and cool completely before icing.

For Frosting

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add peppermint extract, then slowly add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth and lump free.  Place first layer flat side up on your cake stand or plate and frost.  Next, add the second cake layer, flat side down, covering the entire cake with frosting.  I start at the top, then work my way down and around the sides, using a large spreader.  Sprinkle the crushed peppermint on top, and add pieces of the peppermint on top, and around the bottom.  

**For a summer cake, use berries rather than peppermint.  Omit peppermint extract and use vanilla.  Between each layer, add blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries.  For the top layer, with no particular pattern, add fruit for a beautiful garnish!