Southern Red Velvet Cake

a.k.a. Bleeding Armadillo Cake

Red Velvet Cake Photo by Carroll Pellegrinelli
Red Velvet Cake. Red Velvet Cake Photo by Carroll Pellegrinelli

1/2 cup shortening or 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 (1-ounce) bottles red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour or 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream Cheese Icing - see below
Garnish: chopped pecans, lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour 3 8-inch cake pans.

Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Stir in food coloring and vanilla, blending well. Combine flour, salt, and cocoa; set aside. Combine buttermilk, vinegar, and soda in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. (Mixture will bubble.) Add flour mixture to shortening mixture, alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes; pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 25 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 (8) ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 box (1/2 pound) plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a mixer, blend all of the ingredients together until smooth and creamy.

Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top of cake. Garnish with chopped pecans.

Bleeding Armadillo Cake
One of my all-time favorite movies is Steel Magnolias. It's an excellent feel-good chick flick. The movie begins with Julia Roberts' character getting married to a Louisiana lawyer who is from an "outdoorsy" family i.e. they like to hunt and fish.

Demonstrating this family trait is the groom's cake. It's a "Bleeding Armadillo" cake. A red velvet cake shaped like an armadillo with gray icing. Several years ago I mentioned this cake in one of my blogs, and someone sent me this photo. I'm sorry I was never able to get the directions for making an armadillo-shaped cake. For those of you cleaver ones out there, I think you'll be able to figure it out just by looking at the photo.

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