Red Velvet Birthday Cake

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (fresh!)
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon table salt
7 large eggs , 2 whole, 5 separated into whites and yolks (at room temp)
2/3 cup water (room temp)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or better yet Vanilla Bean Paste )
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. Adjust rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees (300 if convenction oven). Whisk sugar, flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt together in large bowl, 4 quart or larger is best. Whisk in two whole eggs, five egg yolks (remember separating them), water, oil, extracts, and food coloring until batter is smooth.

  2. Pour reserved egg whites into large bowl; beat at medium speed with electric mixer until foamy. This is going to take you about a minute. Add cream of tartar, increase speed to medium-high, then beat whites until very thick and stiff. 8-9 minutes with your hand-held mixer and 5 to 7 minutes in a stand mixer. With large rubber spatula, fold whites into batter.

  3. Pour batter into large tube pan (9-inch diameter, 16-cup capacity). Gently rap the pan against countertop a few times to rupture any large air pockets so you don't get those great depressions in the cake as they collapse. If using two-piece pan, grasp on both sides with your hands while firmly pressing down on the tube with thumbs to keep batter from seeping underneath pan during this rapping process. Wipe off any batter that may have dripped or splashed onto inside walls of pan with paper towel.

  4. Bake cake until wire cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Immediately turn cake upside down to cool. If pan does not have prongs around rim for elevating cake, invert pan over bottle (old wine bottle works great) or a funnel, inserted through tube. Let cake hang until completely cold.

  5. To unmold the cake from the pan you will turn the pan upright. Run a frosting spatula or thin knife around pan's circumference between cake and pan wall, always pressing against the pan so you don't cut into the cake. Use your cake tester to loosen the cake from tube.

  6. If the cake is being made ahead it can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature two days or refrigerated for four days.

  7. Frost as you desire.

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