Red velvet cake

Red velvet cake

USA

By
From
80 Cakes Around the World
Makes
17cm cake
Photographer
Jean Cazals

When red velvet cake was invented, the vibrant colour came from the acidity of the vinegar reacting with the buttermilk and the anthocyanins in the cocoa powder. Today's cocoa powders are alkalised, which means you need to add some red food colouring to achieve a really strong shade of red. It's said that the Adams Extract Company invented a version of this cake using its liquid red colouring to help boost falling sales during the Great Depression. Regardless of who came up with the modern recipe, it is currently enjoying a revival and I urge you to give it a go. It's really simple to make and the mixture can be used for cupcakes too.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
220g plain flour
260g caster sugar, plus a little extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 medium egg
40ml buttermilk
130ml vegetable oil
40g good-quality ready-made custard
1 tablespoon liquid red food colouring

Cream cheese frosting

Quantity Ingredient
300g cream cheese
75g icing sugar
75ml double cream, whipped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 35cm x 25cm Swiss roll tin and line the base with baking parchment. Grease the paper again.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into a large bowl, then repeat. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, buttermilk, oil, custard and red colouring together. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Use a hand whisk to combine them to a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared tin and level with a spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently with your finger and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a sheet of baking parchment dusted with a little caster sugar.
  3. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together for 1 minute, using an electric mixer. Add the cream and vanilla and beat for another minute, until smooth and creamy.
  4. To assemble the cake, you will need a 17cm heart template or a 17.5cm round template. Using the template and a small, sharp knife, cut 3 heart or round shapes from the sponge. Keep the trimmings.
  5. Place one piece of sponge on a cake card and, using a palette knife or spatula, spread with a thick layer of the frosting. Top with the next layer of sponge, making sure they are aligned, and spread with more frosting. Add the next layer of sponge and press down gently to level the top. Using a palette knife, mask the outside of the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Put the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up, then cover with the remaining frosting.
  6. Blitz the cake trimmings to crumbs in a food processor, using the pulse setting. Press the crumbs on to the cake to cover it completely.
Tags:
Baking
cake
cakes
Claire Clark
80 Cakes Around the World
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