Joanne Chen's Favorite Red Velvet Cake
To prepare the cake: MELT the chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water or in the top of a double boiler (or melt in the microwave for 20 to 25 seconds). Meanwhile, place the sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
MIX on low speed for 2 minutes. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and continue to mix on low speed scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula so everything is well incorporated.
ADD the melted chocolate to this mixture and continue to mix on low speed.
ADD the pureed beets and the food coloring. Continue to mix on low speed until everything is thoroughly combined.
DIVIDE evenly the batter between the 3 prepared pans and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when touched, or when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
REMOVE the pans from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then turn the layers out onto the rack and let cool completely.
To prepare the icing: POUR the cream into a small bowl and whip to soft peaks. Set aside in the refrigerator.
PLACE the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until soft and smooth. Add the mascarpone and continue to mix on low speed until the cheeses are well combined. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar and mix until everything is just combined. Turn off the mixer and fold in the whipped cream by hand with a spatula. Keep refrigerated until ready to assemble.
To assemble TRIM the top of each layer of cake with a serrated knife, so that it is flat. PLACE the first layer on a cake plate or serving platter and top with some of the icing. Repeat until all the layers are covered with icing, then ice the top and sides of the cake. STORE the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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