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Dark Chocolate Red Velvet Cake

Dark Chocolate Red Velvet Cake

The past two weeks, I’ve been suffering from post-vacation blues. I catch myself daydreaming while sitting in my stuffy office. While at the gym, I pretend I’m running on the beach with the sand under my feet. While I’ve been stuck in my own head, the days continue to roll by. I almost had a heart attack when I saw it was almost July.

Dark Chocolate Red Velvet Cake

Where did the year go? Have I been stuck in la-la land for the past 6 months?

My time here in California is almost done, and my to-do list grows by the second. People to say good bye to, accounts to be closed, and sadly, an apartment to move out from. Since my time is precious and my list isn’t shrinking on its own, I need to post-and-run. Linda and I made this Dark Chocolate Red Velvet Cake when she was visiting me. I don’t know how we managed to drag ourselves in to the kitchen with the hot temperatures and travelers fatigue, but we did it. We must be kindred spirits because we were totally excited to get in to the kitchen, despite everything. In addition, it was Linda’s birthday and no birthday can go on without a cake. That is my rule and I’m sticking to it!

"All Cakes Considered" from Melissa Gray

dark chocolate red velvet cake

This is my first time baking a Red Velvet cake and to be honest, it wasn’t exactly what I expected. I thought there would be of a pronounced chocolate flavor. Instead, it was a really, really sweet cake. And the frosting. Oh the frosting. Cream cheese + 2 boxes of sugar = a really sweet frosting. You are probably thinking, “Duh, Amanda” but the sweetness comes out of nowhere and hits you like a train. I have a soft spot for cream cheese frosting; in fact it’s my favorite part of carrot cake. But I prefer mine a tad less tooth-aching sweet so next time I’d cut the sugar down to 1 and 1/2 boxes.  Also, the recipe was supposed to make a three-layer cake but that was way too much for two tiny girls. We ended up cutting it down to a two-layer cake and had plenty of cupcakes left over. I should warn you that the cream cheese frosting is extremely addicting.

Dark Chocolate Red Velvet Cake
The recipe is from “All Cakes Considered” by Melissa Gray and if sweet cakes are your thing, try this recipe out. I imagine it would make for a wonderful birthday cake as it was pretty easy to frost. I had some stability issues but that might have been from the heat in my kitchen.

Dark Chocolate Red Velvet Cake

Dark Chocolate Red Velvet Cake
Origin: All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray
Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 to 45 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour to chill


For the cake:
● 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
● 1 1/4 cup sugar
● 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
● 6 large eggs
● 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
● 3 cups all-purpose flour
● 1/4 tsp baking soda
● 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
● 1/2 tsp baking powder
● 1 cup sour cream
● 1/2 oz. red food coloring

For the Frosting:
● 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
● 2-8 oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
● 2-16 oz. boxes of confectioners sugar
● 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Position a rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Butter cake pans, or line pans with parchment paper to prevent the cake bottoms from sticking to the pan. (I did both, just in case.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed, then gradually add the sugars, beating well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until blended.

In a separate bowl, dry whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa, and baking powder together.

Add 1 cup of the floured cocoa mixture and 1/3 cup of the sour cream alternating and beating well after each addition. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides. Repeat until all the sour cream has been blended in. Start adding the butter/egg mixture to the flour mixture slowly until it has all been blended together.

Add the food coloring and beat well. Use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir up the batter at the bottom (this ensures that your cake is a uniform colored rather than marbled). Beat again to mix well.

Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Keep an eye on the cake during those last ten minutes. Depending on your oven temperature, your cake might be done sooner than expected.

Cool layers completely in pans on wire racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature. Let cakes cool completely. (I put mine in the fridge for an hour to cool down faster.)

To make the frosting:
Cream the butter and cream cheese together at medium speed until blended. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix until just incorporated.

Using long serrated knife, trim off rounded tops of cakes to make level; brush off any loose crumbs. Transfer 1 cake to platter, trimmed side up. Drop half of frosting (about 1 1/2 cups) by spoonfuls atop cake. Spread frosting evenly to edges of cake. Top with second cake, trimmed side down. Drop remaining frosting by spoonfuls onto top of cake, spreading frosting down the sides of cake. Sprinkle with your decorations, if you want. Let cake stand at room temperature 1 hour to allow frosting to set slightly.

Cake can be made and frosted 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let cake stand at room temperature at least 2 hours before serving.

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June 28, 2010 - 8:06 am

Maddie - I’m impressed by your frosting and decorating skills. All my attempts to apply icing smoothly onto cake layers fail — and I don’t want to recap what happened the last time I put sprinkles on the sides. Once the moving craziness subsides, you’ll have to post a tutorial! :)

June 28, 2010 - 8:58 am

codfish - I totally feel for you, Amanda. Moving is so hard… and I’ve never had to move across the country! If there’s anything I can do for you over on this side of the country, please don’t hesitate… :)

June 28, 2010 - 9:30 am

Emily @ Darby O'Shea - Warning: Red Velvet Purist here. a *real* red velvet cake is leavened with vinegar & baking soda and involves at least a little buttermilk. Try this one:

It’s not too sweet and, being a red velvet cake, it doesn’t have a pronounced chocolate flavor. Don’t let the over-sweetness of that cake turn you off of the King of Cakes forever!

Yours is BEAUTIFUL, by the way.

June 28, 2010 - 2:21 pm

Linda - So much fun making this with you girl! I am glad we got to bake considering that’s how we met.

And don’t be sad about moving. Like I said, it’s NY-effing-C! It will be amazing! xo

June 28, 2010 - 5:26 pm

Amanda - You are so freaking sweet. I literally can’t wait to meet you. The only thing I can ask of you is to keep me company when I get to the East Coast. And show me around :)

June 28, 2010 - 5:26 pm

Amanda - love you girly!

June 28, 2010 - 8:33 pm

Tracy - I can’t believe it’s almost July either! My birthday is at the end of summer…maybe you can make a cake in NY and dedicate it to me, virtually?

this cake looks like heaven…and I’d still eat the hell out of it. Even if it’s too sweet! xo

June 29, 2010 - 8:55 am

Kate (Southern Belle Simple) - Hiya lady,

I’m a huge fan of your blog and have been following for awhile. This cake looks to die for and of course you added those precious sprinkles to push it right over the top! Hope you are having a great summer! xoxo

-Kate S.

June 29, 2010 - 11:47 am

nicole - Gorgeous. Can I have a piece right now pretty please? Also: deep breathes! Moving away is hard, but you are off on an amazing adventure. And California will be here :)

June 29, 2010 - 2:35 pm

Eva - I love these cakes, they are like skinny jeans, they never really go out of style…I feel your pain, I have days like that all the time in my office & moving it wretched…but at least your moving somewhere very exciting!!

June 30, 2010 - 3:26 pm

Amanda - that’s what I keep reminding myself!

June 30, 2010 - 3:27 pm

Amanda - If I focus on the adventure, I’m good to go. But my heart breaks a little when I think of leaving this golden coast and my fam/friends behind. But, every hard decision leads to change and I think I’m ready for it :)

June 30, 2010 - 3:27 pm

Amanda - Kate, the sprinkles were a must!

June 30, 2010 - 3:28 pm

Amanda - We should meet up again for brunch/cake and celebrate your birthday! Plus, then we can gossip about True Blood. haha…

July 3, 2010 - 3:14 pm

Felicia Sullivan - Your photography never ceases to amaze me. Can’t wait until you’re on the right coast ;)

July 5, 2010 - 6:38 pm

Amanda - thanks lady!

July 7, 2010 - 3:24 pm

redmenace - This cake is beyond gorgeous. It makes me realize I shouldn’t even bother to try and make a cake. I couldn’t come close. However, for the sake of the culinary world and all its lovely treats, I am pleased you made this masterpiece!

Wonderful blog. Where are you moving?!

July 9, 2010 - 11:36 am

Jenny - Just found your site. It’s awesome and that’s truly the prettiest red velvet cake I’ve seen.


July 15, 2010 - 10:32 am

Dana Slatkin - This cake is gorgeous! What I really want to know is, _how_ did you get those sprinkles so evenly and nicely applied?!!!

September 26, 2010 - 8:02 am

Robin - I am just about to make this cake so did a web search on it first to see what was out there and found your blog. I’ve been baking my way through the Erin Mann All Cake’s Considered Book, which I got for Christmas last year. I didn’t know how to bake (or even cook) so I’ve been using it as a primer and have learned a lot. HOWEVER, one of the things I learned along the way was that Erin likes things SWEET. So I routinely cut the sugar/powdered sugar in her recipes. Hope mine turns out as well as yours.

September 26, 2010 - 12:37 pm

Amanda - Be careful when cutting out some of the sugar in the cake because it adds moisture to the cake. Feel free to cut the powdered sugar down. I always find icing too sweet anyways. Have fun!

November 14, 2010 - 5:12 pm

Erin Mann - To clarify, I did not write the cookbook mentioned above. The author of “All Cakes Considered” is Melissa Gray. I am working on a baking project where I bake one cake every week using recipes from her book. I blog about my experiences

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