What cake is more suited for Valentine’s day than a gorgeous red velvet cake! Red velvet cake and Valentines, two of my favorite things! I do admit, I love Valentine’s day. Regardless of relationship status, I enjoy the sights of red and pink heart shaped boxes, pretty chocolate candies, and red roses! Love or hate Valentines day, a classic red velvet cake can be enjoyed any day of the year! Rich and moist with just a hint of chocolate and you’ll fall in love.
Red velvet cake originated in New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel (also home of the Waldorf Salad) but is widely popular in the South. In fact, that is where I had my first piece of red velvet cake. There are so many variations of a red velvet cake, yet there are some “rules” for a truly authentic red velvet cake. Here is what I gathered, many of which I have to bend a little.
1. The cake must have buttermilk. Yowch. Dairy ingredients generally are not considered “Paleo” approved (then again, is a dessert really ‘Paleo’?). However the beneficial bacteria in cultured buttermilk predigests the lactose for you, so that’s a good news for lactose intolerant folks. Good sources of dairy are considered “Primal Paleo,” so grass fed organic buttermilk is cool.
2. The cake must have cocoa powder – Don’t have to tell me twice to add chocolate! But only a hint of chocolate is needed for a red velvet cake. Though, in the old days they used natural cocoa powder instead of the widely available Dutch cocoa powder. Natural cocoa powder contains a compound called anthocyanins. It is an antioxidant that is also found in red cabbage and pomegranate.
3. The cake must use vegetable oil – Uh no, not here! Light olive oil is a better option than soybean oil yet provides the same airy and moist texture. Butter and coconut oil would be okay substitutions, but would weigh on the cake.
4. The cake must have vinegar – This stumped me. I mean, there’s acid in the buttermilk, acid in the honey, why would I need to add more acid? Apparently, the vinegar and buttermilk react to provide the ideal environment to enhance a natural red color. In an acidic environment, the anthocyanins compounds in the cocoa radiate a reddish tint (Ref).
5. Pecans – “PEE-can,” “pee-KAHN,” “pick-AHN,” “PEE-kahn.” Doesn’t matter how you say it, it needs to be there. Sprinkle on top or stuff them in between the layers.
6. Cream Cheese Frosting – No argument there! Still “Primal Paleo,” when smartly sourced. I made cute little roses with the frosting! 😀
Of course my biggest “rule break” would be throwing out the traditional wheat flour in place of coconut and arrowroot blend. Rules are meant to be broken anyway, not hearts. Decadent and moist, this red velvet cake will steal your heart and send your taste buds to cloud nine. <3
- ½ cup (80g) of Coconut Flour
- ½ cup (64g) of Arrowroot Starch
- 2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon of Salt
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup (50g) of Granulated or Coconut Sugar
- ½ cup of Light Olive Oil
- ¼ cup (84g) of Raw Honey
- ½ cup of Cultured Buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- ½ teaspoon of Distilled Vinegar
- 2-3 Drops of Natural Red Food Coloring or Beet Juice
- ½ cup of Chopped Pecans
- 8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 8 oz of Softened Butter
- ⅓ cup of Maple Syrup
- ⅓ cup of Arrowroot Flour
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease a baking pan.
- Sift together the coconut flour, arrowroot starch, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
- Whip the egg whites on high speed until a meringue forms.
- Sprinkle in the granulated/coconut sugar and whip. Don't worry if the meringue falls a bit.
- Combine the egg yolks, olive oil, honey, buttermilk, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring. Whip until combined.
- Mix in the dry ingredients and whip until combined.
- Add a heaping of the egg whites into the batter and mix.
- Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.
- Pour the batter into the greased cake pans.
- Bake at 350F, center rack, for 25-28 min, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cake cool for 10 minutes inside the pan. Flip out of the pan and let cool to room temperature before frosting.
- Whip the cream cheese and butter together with the starch on high speed for about 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the maple syrup while whipping on low.
- Combine the pecans with a heaping of frosting. Spread it on top of one the cakes.
- Place the second cake layer on top of the pecan layer.
- Fill the gaps between the cake layer with some frosting.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake sides and top, making the "crumb layer."
- Let the cake cool for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Frost the rest of the cake until the crumb layer is covered.
- Use a Wilton 1M tip to make roses.
- For the rosettes, use a Wilton 1M tip pipe bag. Start at the center and pipette in a spiral around the center point.
- The cake should be kept refrigerated, but let sit out for about 20-30 minutes before serving.
- Kefir can be used in place of buttermilk, but must be diluted. Use 1/4 cup kefir to 1/4 cup water.
- Non-dairy alternatives for buttermilk would be 7 tablespoons of almond milk (or light coconut milk) and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Maybe throw in a capsule of probiotics too.
- For a dairy free frosting, try my white frosting with a pinch of lemon juice.