Remember when I made the Chocolate Stout Cake and told you that the Main Squeeze declared that it was his favorite of *all* the bundt cakes? Well, these mini bundts surpassed even that cake, that is how good they were. I made these back in January, and still crave them. SO GOOD. In fact, they were so delicious, that unlike the Chocolate Stout Cake, none of these made it to work to be shared with my coworkers.
My friend, Katie, came to visit and prior to her arrival, I asked if she wanted to bake a bundt while she was here, which she did. (Yay! Sharing the joy of Bundt Cake Season!) So, on the Saturday of her visit, I handed her the various cookbooks with bundt cake recipes and told her to pick whichever one she wanted. The only caveat was that it needed to be one without a filling, because I had gotten two mini bundt pans for Christmas that I wanted to use.
Although originally from Alaska, Katie has family in the South, so she was familiar with red velvet cake, unlike yours truly. Honestly, if it hadn't been for her, I have no idea how long it would have taken me to get to that recipe, so I seriously owe her! I also owe her because she supported the decision to buy the fancy Dutch-processed cocoa, (and, in fact, paid for it when we went ingredient shopping--she's a generous lady) which I think makes all the difference.
Friends, I cannot possibly explain how delicious these were, all I can do is exhort you to try it for yourself.
If you don't have mini bundt pans, you can make a regular-sized bundt cake, of course.
The recipe comes from Kiss My Bundt by Chrysta Wilson. If you have been considering buying a cookbook with bundt cake recipes, I highly recommend this one. Although it isn't as old school as the Bundt cookbook put out by Nordic Ware (with it's wacky savory bundts and frightening aspics), all the cakes I have made from it have been great.
For those (like me) not in the know, Red Velvet Cake, as Ms. Wilson describes it, "should be a light cocoa cake, but it shouldn't taste overwhelmingly chocolaty. Made correctly, it possesses a hint of sourness and a moist, dense texture that, especially topped with cream cheese frosting, is at once one of the most comforting...of my cakes and paradoxically, one of the most complex."
So, without further ado, here's the recipe:
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon high-fat cocoa powder
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Using an electric mixer, combine oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
With the mixer on low, add dry ingredients to the wet, 1/2 cup at a time. Do this slowly so that the batter doesn't develop clumps.
Transfer batter to a cake pan (or pans for mini bundts) that have been coated with a baker's cooking spray that includes flour. If using mini bundts, fill until they are about 3/4 full.
Bake until an inserted toothpick (I use a knife for regular bundts) comes out clean. About 40 minutes for a regular bundt cake and 20-23 minutes for a mini bundt.
I may have over-filled them a little...
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz unsalted butter softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchatel, which I think works especially well with the red velvet cake, as it has more tang that regular cream cheese.)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and the cream cheese until soft and completely smooth, at least 2 minutes
Turn the mixer speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure to scrape down any frosting stuck to the sides of the bowl.
Add vanilla extract.
Mix on a medium speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
In general, it is best to wait to frost the cake(s) until they are cool, though Ms. Wilson enjoys a slice of still warm cake with ice cold cream cheese frosting, so you could try frosting while it/they are still warm.
When frosting red velvet cakes, you don't want to frost the whole sides, rather focus more on the top (with a regular-sized bundt, you may need to spread it more on the sides). I learned this from Katie. In fact she's the one who did the great job of frosting the mini bunts. Getting the frosting in the hole of the bundt cake, however, is a good thing!