Red Velvet Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Icing | Virtually Homemade: Red Velvet Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Icing

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Red Velvet Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Icing

Red velvet cake did not hold it’s iconic status while I was growing up.  I actually had never heard of this cake variety until I was a young adult.  The resurgence of red velvet seems to coincide with the proliferation of cupcake cafes.  These diminutive cakes have evolved from the traditional children’s birthday treat into an adult obsession, fueled by decadent flavor combinations that tantalize the palate.  At every cafĂ© you will find red velvet on the menu.
So what gives these chocolate cakes their scarlet hue?  Predominantly, red food coloring or rarely some recipes suggest boiled beets.  However, a reaction between acidic vinegar and buttermilk can enhance the red anthocyanin in cocoa.  This may be how red velvet and devil’s food originally earned their titles.  The taste of chocolate is often subtle; typically the ratio of cocoa powder to flour is 2 Tablespoons to 2 ½ cups flour (for regular chocolate cake it is 3/4 cup to 2 1/2 cups).

My son has requested red velvet cakes for his last three birthdays.  I’ve made them in different forms but his favorite to date is this year’s  – red velvet with a vanilla bean coconut cream cheese frosting.  I have to admit this cake is off the charts.
My shortcut is buying a red velvet cake mix.  I think the quality of most mixes are good and consistent; I feel comfortable baking with them.  However, I would never use purchased frosting.  This is my favorite part and I love mixing every decadent ingredient!
Red Velvet Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Icing
1 Box Red Velvet Cake mix - prepare according to package directions
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
Seeds scraped from 1 spilt vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup reduced coconut milk, room temperature *see below
4 cups powdered sugar
2 cups flaked sweetened coconut

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth.  Add coconut milk and mix.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.
*Take one can 14 oz. can of unsweetened coconut milk and bring to a boil over a medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup, stirring occasionally - approximately 20 minutes.  Cool completely. (can be stored for 2 days).
Place one layer of cake on large dish.  Spread frosting on top.  Add second layer and frost top and sides.  Sprinkle coconut on top.  To place coconut on sides, I hold cake over sink and rotate cake as I sprinkle.

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