I just made this cake for a family friend's party, and as an experienced baker I personally don't recommend using this specific recipe if you're a beginner. For someone who knows very little about baking cakes or never uses anything but a box mix and felt like trying something new, it's very easy to follow the directions to the letter and end up with a mess.
I made the following alterations and had excellent results: Added 2 extra tablespoons of cocoa powder, because I like plenty of chocolate. Only used 1 bottle of food dye. Replaced the shortening with vegetable oil for convenience. Used less baking soda and added about 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, as well as removed the vinegar as it wasn't necessary. Also, MIX THE VANILLA IN WITH THE OIL AND SUGAR, NOT THE BUTTERMILK. And finally, the frosting will work fine the way it is as long as the butter and sugar are creamed thoroughly and you beat everything together with an electric mixer (makes it fluffy).
I decorated the cake with more cocoa powder and chocolate shaving, but I honestly don't know what the 'traditional' topping is as this is my first time making red velvet cake. Either way, the cake turned out lovely and I'll make it again if requested :)
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I just made this cake for a family friend's party, and as an experienced baker I personally...