To qualify as a red velvet cake, ingredients must include cocoa powder, buttermilk, white vinegar and baking soda. The vibrant red colour is achieved with food colouring, but I also provide a natural variation using beets that result in more of a pink-hued cake.
Makes a 2-layer, 8-inch cake
For the frosting, beat the butter until fluffy, then beat in the cream cheese until well blended and smooth. Add the icing sugar in 2 additions, beating first on low speed and then increasing. Beat in the vanilla.
To assemble the cake, place the first layer of cake on your platter or plate and spread a generous amount of frosting on the top. Top this with the second cake layer and frost the top and then the sides. Use your spatula to create any swirls or patterns you wish, then chill for at least 2 hours before slicing to serve.
The cake will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
*For an alternative made without food colouring, replace ¼ cup of the buttermilk with 1/3 cup of finely grated raw beets. Stir the beets in with the buttermilk and follow the recipe as above.
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