I have never had red velvet cake. Shoot me. I am pretty sure it isn’t a freaking sin. I don’t understand what the big deal is. I am not saying it isn’t a delightfully good cake. And red is my favorite color, so I am not down on the color choice. Apparently the acidic combination of the buttermilk, vinegar, and coco powder is suppossed to turn the cake red. So why then does every recipe call for extra (and by extra I mean 2 ounces. Holy crap that’s a lot!) red food coloring? I just don’t understand why all the fuss over this cake. Why not put some cream cheese frosting on a plain buttermilk cake with a little coco powder and call it a day?

However, b/c of the popularity of the cake I decided I should probably make one. And I am making it for my birthday b/c red is my absolute favorite color, so I thought it would be perfect.

I am not going the traditional route (or at least what we may think is the traditional route). I am going to use only a tiny bit of red food coloring, whole wheat flour, and applesauce. I am also going to use Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting. Now that sounds like a cake to swoon over! A slightly coco-y buttermilk cake with a rich brown sugar cream cheese frosting, my mouth is watering.

Oh, and b/c it is my birthday I got a birthday gift. What? A Nikon D3000 SLR. I am so excited. In my excitement I am taking lots and lots of pictures. You see I suck at photography. Seriously, I am no good. But I want to improve. So I am hoping this will help! And so far my pictures are looking better. I need to learn about lighting and composition. It is all new to me, but I am beginning to really enjoy it.

Adapted from Sara Moulton
makes 1 9 inch 2 layer cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup applesauce
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp red food coloring (The Wilton gel kind)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray non stick spray on 2(9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, applesauce, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans.
Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.

Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Sprinkle the top with the pecans.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick unsalted butter, very soft
1(8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened overnight
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablepoons milk, depending on consistency

Cream the cream cheese in an electric mixer for one minute. Scrape down the bowl and add the butter, beating for 1-2 minutes, until well incorporated. Add the brown sugar, pinch of salt, and vanilla extract, and beat until combined. Turn off the mixer and add 3 cups of the powdered sugar. Turn the mixer to low, and slowly add more sugar, alternating with milk, until you have reached your desired consistency.