This deep red vanilla cake with a light taste of chocolate, topped with cream cheese frosting is certainly a showstopper. I made this sweet treat recently for my husband’s birthday and it did’t hang around long!The buttermilk in this recipe makes it so incredibly moist and light.
Red velvet cake is also known as devil’s food cake as it’s so luxurious and rich it must be sinful! Personally I don’t know about that but helping yourself to a piece of this delicious cake , with luxurious creamy frosting lavishly spread between each layer is sure to put you into your own little piece of heaven.
120g unsalted butter at room temperature
300g caster sugar
20g cocoa powder
4 tbsp red food colouring (I found that 40g of Dr Oetker Gel Food Colouring in Bright Red worked well)
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp white wine vinegar
For the icing:
600g icing sugar, sifted
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g cream cheese, cold
Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
Put the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy and well mixed. You can use an electric mixer for this, in which case, use it on the medium speed setting. Once it’s all mixed together, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Then slowly pour in half the buttermilk.
Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added then beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Now fold in the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar and beat until well mixed. (I like to add a small pinch of salt as it brings out the flavour of the cake, I promise it doesn’t taste salty at all!)
Meanwhile, make the icing by beating the icing sugar the remaining 20g of the unsalted butter together until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat it until it is light and fluffy. Do not over-beat, as it can quickly become runny.
Spoon the mixture equally between three 20-cm cake tins and bake for 25 minutes and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. When the cakes are cooled, sandwich the layers together using the cream cheese icing, and top with the remaining icing.
I like to decorate my red velvet cakes with gypsophila, berries, freeze dried raspberry crumb and a gentle dusting of icing sugar.
Tip: With the food colouring, I’ve heard that there are a few around that work well. Just make sure that you avoid any ‘natural’ colours and check it is bake stable otherwise it will turn brown when cooked.