I've been getting a lot of response to my red velvet post, so I thought I'd post an update about them. Last night I made them, but I didn't use Paula Deen's recipe, opting instead for this Rachael Ray recipe (ugh Rachael Ray) that I modified slightly. I switched recipes because the latter contains an entire half-cup of buttermilk versus the former's two tablespoons, which I feel is absolutely critical in red velvet. I also made the following modifications: I used an entire stick of butter in the batter, an extra half-teaspoon of baking soda, and I added an extra cup of flour. The batter should be thick enough to keep peaks when whipped. I also piped nickel-sized swirls of batter onto the cookie sheet to make bite-size sammiches. I baked them just till they were firm to the touch on top, about 5 minutes, but it depends on size.For the filling, I used an entirely different recipe, opting for Tartlette's Cream Cheese Italian Buttercream:
1 1/2 sticks (170 gr) butter at room temperature
4 oz (120gr) cream cheese, softened
3 egg whites
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 Tb water
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste or 1/2 vanilla bean split open
In the bowl of stand mixer, whip the egg whites until they have soft peaks. In the meantime, combine 2 Tb water with the sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan and bring the syrup to 250F. Slowly add the sugar syrup to the egg whites. If you use hand beaters, this is even easier and there is less hot syrup splatter on the side of your bowl and in the whisk attachment of the stand mixer. Continue to whip until the meringue is completely cooled. Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. The mass might curdle but no panic, continue to whip until it all comes together. Add the cream cheese, the same way, a little at a time until everything is smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, or paste or bean.
They came out perfectly, and taste just like little concentrated bites of red velvet cake.