Every couple of months I break down and (attempt to) bake a Red Velvet cake. Red Velvet is one of those cakes everybody seems to love, but personally I haven’t had the best experiences with it. It’s not a very common cake here in Europe, and the one time I had one (a Red Velvet cupcake from Harrods) wasn’t a terribly great experiences because there was a big chunk of baking soda in the little cake, which almost burned a hole through my tongue. If I want Red Velvet I have to make it myself, and because I don’t really want it I hardly ever bake it – except every once in a while I think: Everbody just can’t be wrong about this cake. And then I give it another shot.
This time around it actually worked, and I’m a bit of a fan of this recipe, to be honest.
I got the recipe from the Globetrotter Diaries and I altered it slightly – I didn’t use buttermilk, and I was almost out of cream cheese, so it turned into a more-butter-than-cream-cheese icing. Still really good, though! (Original recipe: here) The reason I didn’t use buttermilk is because it always goes to waste when I buy it, nobody drinks it here so I thought I’d try regular milk, and a tablespoon on vinegar to activate the baking soda. It worked really well, and I loved the texture of the cake.
Ingredients for the cake
– 2 1/2 cups of flour
– 2 teaspoons of salt
– 2 teaspoons of baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
– 1/4 cup cocoa powder
– red food coloring
– 220 grams of butter (room temp)
– 2 cups of sugar
– 3 large eggs (room temp)
– 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (OR: instead of 2 cups of regular sugar, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup of vanilla infused sugar)
– 1 cup of milk
– 1 tablespoon of vinegar (OR: 1 cup of butter milk instead of regular milk, no vinegar)
Instructions for the cake
01. Preheat your oven to 170°C and line 2 (21 cm diameter) bake tins. If (like me) you don’ t have two baking tins of the same size, bake in two goes.
02. In one bowl: sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
03. In a large bowl mix together the butter and sugar until creamy. Either use half a cup of home made vanilla-infused-sugar or add vanilla extract after you’ve creamed together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one by one, and mix well after each addition.
04. Sift in the cocoa powder, and then add your red food color. I used a paste from Wilton. Add enough so your cake’ll have a nice red color. With some food dyes the color of the cake will change after baking it.
05. Using a spatula add 1/3rd of the flour mixture, and carefully mix until incorporated (don’t over work the batter) then add 1/2 of the milk and the vinegar, then 1/3rd of the flour, the last half of the milk and vinegar and then the last 1/3rd of the flour.
06. Bake for 30 minutes and check if it’s ready by inserting the end of a small fork/spoon, if it comes out without any batter on your cake’s done. Cool it down completely before assembling.
Cream cheese icing
220 grams of soft butter
680 grams of cream cheese
3 cups of icing sugar
Beat the butter with a hand mixer until creamy, add the cream cheese and beat well. Add the sugar little by little until it’s incorporated into a smooth icing.
With a bread knife, carefully cut the top of your cake so it’s level. (You can use the scraps to make cake balls.) Put one of the cakes down, cut-top up and add a layer of cream cheese icing on top. Layer the second cake on top cut-top down (that way it’ll be less likely that you’ll get crumbs on your icing on top of the cake. Cover the rest of the cake with the icing. Here’s a tip from the Globetrotters diaries website for if there are too many red crumbles in your white icing.
If you get some red crumbs into your white frosting, do an initial layer of frosting and put the cake into the refrigerator until the frosting hardens. Then add another layer over the first one and your red crumbs will be covered.