Nature is so amazing. 100% of the red color in this cake comes from beets! I wish I could tell you making this cake all natural made it healthy, but there’s an unnatural amount of butter and sugar to be consumed here. It’s cake, we accept it.
My friend Christian told me about this southern red velvet cake a while back at a party and asked if we could make it together. Not only is this my favorite red velvet cake I’ve ever had, it’s definitely the most unique cake I’ve ever tasted. It has a uniquely tangy taste, but in the best way, coming from the vinegar and buttermilk. Christian informed me that his mother also always made this cake with less cocoa powder in comparison with other recipes. She said, this is a red velvet cake, not a red chocolate cake. YEAH!
Then there is that amazing red color. I really couldn’t believe beets would dye an entire cake, but they gave it such a natural red color that I love. In order to keep the beets from turning brown, the recipe requires orange juice to keep the ratio of ingredients acidic.
To perfectly complement the bittersweet cake, we paired it with a sweet cream cheese frosting with chopped pecans. The chopped pecans in the frosting feel so old school to me, and I love it. I know we stopped adding nuts directly in to our frosting a while back because our cameras like the look of smooth, manipulated frosting, but the nuts make it feel like grandma made it, and that makes it feel authentic to me.
Christian and I had an incredible time experimenting with this recipe and adjusting it to make it our own, and it turned out amazingly! I hope y’all try this old fashioned, southern red velvet recipe with it’s perfect bite and not overly sweet taste.
See below for the recipe.
Old Fashioned, Southern Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups Flour
1 Tbs. Cocoa
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 cup Unsalted Butter
1 Tbs. Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 cup Buttermilk
2 Tbs. Vinegar
1 1/2 cups Beet Puree (about 2 beets + 1/2 cup Orange Juice)
3 3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 stick of Butter
1/4 tsp. Buttermilk
1/2 cup Chopped Pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 400 deg F. Cut the stalks off of two medium sized beets and wrap in tin foil. Roast in the oven on a pan for 40 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the skin with a fork. Cool the beets and then peel the skin off of them. Chop into small pieces and pulse in a food processor with the orange juice until smooth.
2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 deg F. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add in the eggs and beat for about one minute*.
3. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder) in a bowl and the wet ingredients (buttermilk, vinegar, and beet puree) in a separate bowl. Slowly add the wet and then dry ingredients back and forth to the butter mixture, stirring after every addition, and fully combine.
4. Spray two 8″ round pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. Pour the batter into the pans and tap them out by dropping them from a height of one foot a few times. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool on a baking sheet for 20 minutes and then flip them out to cool completely.
5. While the cakes cool, mix together the frosting by mixing the softened butter with about 2 cups of powdered sugar. Then add the softened cream cheese to cream together. Add in the rest of the powdered sugar slowly, finishing by adding in the buttermilk and chopped pecans.
6. Frost the cakes by adding about 1/4 of the frosting between the cakes and using the remaining frosting for the top and sides. Serve up with a large glass of milk!
*NOTE: Christian and I completely forgot to add the eggs to the cake, but it honestly turned out great! The cake had to bake a bit longer and was more dense, but still incredibly delicious. So eggs are not 100% necessary.
Recipe by Bunny Baubles Blog and Christian Neal