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Blue Velvet Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

Blue Velvet Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

Over the years red velvet has become an unfortunate paragon of "form over function" in cooking: too often it is dried out from cocoa, improperly balanced, and dyed inordinately, artificially crimson. But actually, red velvet cake can be very good. Growing up in Georgia I've had sponges that are toothsome and moist—accomplished, I think, from a fearless acid trip of buttermilk, vinegar, and cocoa, which reacts with the baking soda to create a soft, fine crumb. Contrary to popular belief, this isn't just diluted chocolate cake; it's vanilla-y, salty, almost malted in taste, like a black and white milkshake. I've used navy here for a more ominous finish, and so any disbelievers will forget that this is just a blue red velvet cake—though a small log of goat cheese in the frosting adds necessary edge to make this brooding musician-type more nuanced, purposeful, and less #basic than its prom-queen cousin from the South.

Cake:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons blue food coloring
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 cups flour, sifted
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon rice, or white, vinegar

Frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease two 7" cake rounds with butter or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and salt until pale yellow and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs, followed by the vanilla, blue food coloring, and cocoa. Alternating between the flour and buttermilk, add a bit of each until thoroughly mixed in. Lastly, in a small jug, activate the baking soda with the vinegar; then stir this into the blue mixture.

Divide the cake batter between the prepared pans and bake 30–40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: Whip together the butter, cream cheese, goat cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until the sugar granules are dissolved and the frosting is big, poofy, and white.

Frost the cooled cake by covering the bottom layer with about 1/3 of the frosting; then sandwich that layer with the top layer; and finally smear everything—top, sides, nooks and crannies—with the rest of the frosting, smoothing everything out so you have sharp edges and a clean finish.

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