A while ago, I mentioned that I planned to experiment with red velvet cake. It's one of my favorite cakes as of late. I haven't figured out exactly why I like red velvet so much, but I think it's the sinful red color, mild chocolate flavor, and most importantly, the icing....combined, it's the perfection in a cake. Oh, and the brown sugar cream cheese icing in this recipe is the "icing on the cake".
So, I experimented by making different variations of the cake...one using just butter, one with a combo of oil/butter, and another with shortening. I thought the one with shortening had the best overall texture, so that's the recipe I'll provide. The best flavor was yielded by using all butter, but you are sacrificing some texture. The one with combo oil/butter was a little too fluffy for my taste. Whatever method you choose, as long as you make the cream cheese icing, you're set :) There are some who don't like the cream cheese flavor in icing, but I think it makes this cake.
After I narrowed down the best recipe, I made it for Neil's graduation. He recently got his MBA from GW in December, and got to walk this past weekend (May 15). He seemed to thoroughly enjoy the final graduation cake and all the cupcakes from my "experiments".