I intended to make a Red Velvet Cake so that I could join in the Cooking with Teeny party over at Rattlebridge Farm last Friday, but someone pressed the fast forward button on my life a few weeks ago and has yet to remove their finger.
Despite missing the party, I was still determined to make the cake. You see, I’ve never made a Red Velvet Cake before, nor have I tasted one that was actually homemade. Red Velvet cake is only just catching on over here in England (I know, I can’t believe it either) so the only thing red velvet I have ever tasted was a few bites of the Red Velvet Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory in Boston.
I had planned to use the gorgeous traditional Red Velvet Cake recipe in A Teeny Bit of Trouble but I never seemed to have the time I needed to devote to it. As if by magic, I came across a recipe for Red Velvet Cake that seemed too good to be true. It involved literally putting all the ingredients in a mixer bowl and turning the mixer on – kind of like a cake mix, but with more ingredients. I had my doubts about how well it would turn out but desperate times call for desperate measures, so I gave it a try. (I did not add the food colouring with all the other ingredients. Instead I added it after they were combined, so I could have more control over the exact colour of the batter.)
Traditional frosting for red velvet cake is a rather detailed endeavour, involving a stove top, and I really did not have the time for that either so I decided to use a cream cheese frosting. My main reason for this was speed, but it was also meant as an homage to the aforementioned Red Velvet Cheesecake.
Oh my, it was good. I asked a number of people to sample it, and everyone loved it. The cake was feather-light and tasted like it had way more than the two eggs it contains in it. The icing worked well too. So if you want to make a homemade cake and don’t have much time to do it in, this is the cake for you.
Red Velvet Cake
Slightly adapted from The Betty Crocker Cookbook
For the cake:
2½ cups plain (all purpose) flour
1½ cups granulated or caster (superfine granulated) sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
(I used Green & Blacks Cocoa Powder)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ounce red food colouring or use frosting colouring
2 eggs (at room temperature)
For the frosting:
½ cup butter at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature (I used Philadelphia)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 1½ cups icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
Heat oven to 350ºF (170ºC or 160ºC for a fan oven). Grease and flour or line two eight inch round cake tins.
Put all the ingredients, in order, except the food colouring, in a large electric mixer bowl. Beat on low speed until the ingredients are combined, scraping the bowl so that everything mixes together well. Beat on medium speed for two minutes. Gradually add the food colouring until you get a nice red colour. I used red frosting colouring, which is a paste, and I used just under a teaspoon.
Divide between the two cake pans and bake for 25 to 35 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre of each cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool the cakes for ten minutes before removing from their pans and allowing to cool completely.
To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese together in the electric mixer. Add the vanilla and mix in. Gradually add the icing sugar, a bit at a time until you get a nice consistency for spreading. (I find I normally use just over one cup.)
Frost the cake when it has cooled completely. Store the cake in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.