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Sweetheart Red Cake

"This red velvet cake has become a family favorite since I first found the recipe," writes Jeannette Beauchemin from her home in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. "But we are all watching our fat intake, and it would be wonderful to enjoy this dessert without feeling too much guilt. Can your experts redo it?" Our home economists are happy to oblige.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 35 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking cocoa
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pink gel food coloring


  • Coat two 9-in. round baking pans with cooking spray and flour. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar for 2 minutes or until crumbly. Add egg and egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the applesauce, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For frosting, in a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, egg whites, water and cream of tartar. With a portable mixer, beat mixture on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating on low speed over low heat until frosting reaches 160°, about 8-10 minutes. Pour into the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer; add vanilla. Beat on high speed until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 7 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup frosting; tint pink. Spread remaining frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Pipe pink hearts over top of cake.

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