Red Velvet Cake with Loose Pecan Topping

Ingredients

For the Red Velvet Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (recommended: White Lily)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 box confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped lightly toasted pecans

Directions

For the Red Velvet Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs together until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the canola oil, vinegar, red food coloring, and vanilla extract. Add this mixture to the sugar and eggs, and beat until well combined.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the wet ingredients, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Tap the pans gently on the counter to level the batter and release any air bubbles.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Avoid over-baking to prevent the cake from becoming dry.
  8. Allow the cake layers to cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then, remove the cakes from the pans and let them cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the softened margarine and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Gradually add the sifted confectioners’ sugar, beating until fully combined but not over-mixing to avoid the frosting becoming too loose.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract and chopped toasted pecans.
  4. Spread the frosting between the cooled cake layers, as well as on the top and sides of the cake.

Tips and Variations

  • Using Butter: You can substitute margarine with unsalted butter for a richer flavor in the frosting.
  • Buttermilk Substitute: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Cake Texture: To achieve a softer cake, be sure not to over-mix the batter once you add the dry ingredients.
  • Color Variation: If you prefer a deeper red color, you can add an extra half bottle of red food coloring.
  • Nut-Free: If you’re allergic to nuts or prefer a plain frosting, you can omit the pecans.

How to Store

  • Refrigeration: Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The cream cheese frosting requires refrigeration to stay fresh.
  • Freezing: You can freeze the frosted cake by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. It will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Room Temperature: If you plan to eat the cake within a day, you can keep it at room temperature, covered, to maintain its texture and flavor.

FAQs

Q: Can I use a different oil instead of canola oil?
A: Yes, you can use vegetable oil or any light-flavored oil as a substitute.

Q: Can I make this cake in a different size pan?
A: Yes, you can bake the cake in a 9×13-inch pan, but adjust the baking time accordingly, starting to check for doneness at around 30-35 minutes.

Q: Can I make the cake layers ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can bake the cake layers ahead of time. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store them at room temperature for up to 2 days, or freeze for longer storage.

Q: What if my frosting is too runny?
A: If your frosting is too loose, try refrigerating it for about 30 minutes before using it. If it remains too runny, you can add a bit more confectioners’ sugar to thicken it up.

Enjoy your Red Velvet Cake with Loose Pecan Topping, perfect for any special occasion!

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