I looked on the Cake Central Forum and saw a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum that members were swearing by - so decided to give it a try. It's an unusual red velvet recipe, as it doesn't have soda and vinegar like most recipes do. I didn't use all of the recommended red food coloring, which apparently I didn't need. Verdict on this cake -- like all of the other Beranbaum recipes I've tried, it's gotta great soft, delicate crumb, nice subtle flavor....but too dry for me. I don't know, some people may love it....but if I'm gonna eat cake, I want it to be moist and flavorful and vibrant. This was not it.
So in a panic, I tried another recipe. It was a toss between Cake Man Raven's recipe, or Martha Stewart's recipe (which also is very similar to Paula Deen's recipe)... Ultimately I decided to do Martha's which is all oil and contains soda and vinegar. Verdict - WOWSA!!!! yummy. yummy all on it's own without frosting. Moist, zingy, flavorful. Yeah. don't need a cake mix anymore. The only thing is that it's not as red. But I used gelpaste (1/4 tsp for half recipe, versus 1 1/2 Tbsp of the McCormick red food coloring in the other recipe) - but whatever, I'm sure I can add the other red food coloring if I have to have it that red.
Martha's cupcake is on the left, Rose's is on the right. I'll post recipes later.