Portillo’s-Stye Red Velvet Cake

Portillo’s is a (mostly) Chicagoland company known for their Italian beef sammiches, hot dogs, tamales, and, mebbe a bit surprisingly, their chocolate cake. I have it on good authority that their milk shakes are also quite good.

The thing about the cake, though, it is deep and rich and wicked moist.

The thing about Chicagoland, there is someone somewhere who’s great-aunt’s nephew’s second cousin’s sister-in-law’s

ex worked at some point for Portillo’s and was happy to share the secret of the amazing cake – which was a Betty Crocker Super Moist cake mix and mayonnaise.

No lies, this is one fine cake; and when a good friend’s son asked for a buzzyfoods red velvet cake for his birthday gathering, I knew just what I was gonna do…

Cake Pan Coating:
•1 tbsp shortening
•1 tbsp flour
•1 tbsp canola oil

•1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist Red Velvet (or Devil’s Food) cake mix
•3 eggs
•1 cup ice cold water
•1 cup mayonnaise

Cream Cheese Frosting:
•8 oz cream cheese, softened
•1/4 cup heavy cream
•6 tbsp cocoa
•2 tsp vanilla
•A bit of freshly ground black pepper
•5 cups confectioners’ sugar
•3 or 4 tbsp hot coffee/espresso

Note: you only really need to use the Cake Pan Coating if you are making a layer or Bundt cake that you will be potting out of the cake pan. If you are planning to do that, simply combine the coating ingredients together in a small bowl with a fork, then brush evenly over your cake pan(s). The cake will pop out like a treat.

My cake was traveling, so I stuck to a 13×9 pan and applied cooking spray.

Heat your oven to 350º.

Add the cake ingredients to a large bowl and mix according to the directions on the package. Just remember, you do not need to add oil or anything other than I have listed above. The cake will turn out fine.

Turn the cake batter out into your prepared pan(s) and bake according to the instructions on the back of the box.

Remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool completely on a rack.

Once the cake is completely cooled, whip the softened cream cheese together with the heavy cream until fluffy, then beat in the cocoa, vanilla, and black pepper.

Add the confectioners’ sugar, slowly, allowing each cup to become well and truly worked into the frosting.

Pour the espresso by tablespoons into the frosting and mix until blended. Add additional espresso until the frosting is the consistency you want it to be; but recall that this cake is stored in the fridge, so the big chill well set up the frosting as well.

Note: I realize the red velvet normally has vanilla frosting, but Henri asked for chocolate, and it was his birthday, so…

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