One of our lab members is not leaving on wednesday; she's going on a "short trip" to Taiwan. Because our lab will take any opportunity to have a celebration (celebration in our lab = scotch and perhaps a baked good), and because I will take any celebration as an excuse to bake a cake, I made my second red velvet cake for the occasion:
My first red velvet cake, was, of course, the infamous FAAGS cake from the First Annual All Gay Spring brunch. I think I like the flavor and consistency of the FAAGS cake better than this one, but this frosting recipe is by far the winner. I think this frosting has a higher ratio of powdered sugar : cream cheese, which I like because while I don't mind frostings based on cream cheese (example: Starbucks carrot cake frosting), I can't stand frostings that taste like cream cheese. Additional note on the frosting: it is AMAZING with strawberries and raspberries, even without the cake. I wouldn't have thought in a million years to put berries on a red velvet cake, but with this frosting the taste is phenomenal.
The cake itself isn't sweet enough for me though, even after I added an extra half cup of sugar. I think that if I try this recipe again, I will use semi-sweet or sweet cocoa powder instead of unsweetened like I did this time. The edges of the cake also got a little dry, even though I undercooked it a little and added an extra stick of butter above and beyond what was called for by the recipe (always a good choice with cake!) Not sure what to do about that, since I can't undercook it any more and still have any hope of frosting it. Maybe add a little sunflower oil in addition to the extra butter, I guess. I think that what is more likely is that next time I make red velvet cake I will make the cake recipe from the FAAGS attempt and the icing from this attempt.
Many of the reviews of this recipe on epicurious indicated that sifting the flour well was important to the consistency of this cake, so I did actually sift the flour even though I usually don't bother. I think it made a huge difference in the smoothness of the batter, so I think I'm going to buy an actual sifter (I sifted the flour through a small wire grating by hand tonight) because they're cheap and flour sifting does appear to make an actual difference.