Monday, January 21, 2008

Red Velvet Cake (Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr)

I have always wanted to try this cake, and I couldn't find it anywhere. The colour has always fascinated and titillated me - is there a flavor associated with it (raspberry, strawberry?), how do they get that amazing red colour? So, I decided to make the cake. This recipe is a fairly easy one, although if you want to make a three layered cake as I did it is best to have three 9 inch round pans handy. The cake itself is a dense, rich cake. The icing is insanely buttery (read the ingredients list..), but it is a fascinating cake, and fun to make!

Ingredients: Cake
1/4 cup red food colouring
2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (softened in the microwave for around 15 sec.)
1.5 cups sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1.25 cups cake flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. baking soda
Ingredients: Icing
2 cups milk
3/8 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups (4 sticks (!!!!)) unsalted butter, cold
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Method: Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Grease and flour 3 9 inch round bake tins, and line with parchment paper

3. In a small bowl whisk together the red food colouring, cocoa powder and the vanilla extract. Make sure there are no lumps of cocoa left.

4. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream the sugar and butter (add together and mix) until it is a light cream colour and fluffy (5-7 min).

5. Add the eggs , one at a time. Mix between the additions.

6. Add the flour in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk. Making sure that you mix well, and scrape the sides before each addition.

7. Add the salt. Then incorporate the cocoa/red food colouring into the batter. Mix thoroughly.

8. In a small bowl mix together the baking soda and vinegar - add to the batter and mix well.

9. Divide the batter between the three pans, and place in the oven.

10. Bake for 20-25 (check at 15) until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean.

11. Let cakes cool in the pans for 5-10min. Then remove from the pans and let cool on a wire rack until room temp.
Method: Icing
1. In a medium saucepan mix together the milk and flour.

2. Whisk over medium heat until it is smooth and thick.

3. Let this cool for around 40 min.

4. When it is cool, remove the skin from the top.

5. In the 40 min the flour/milk mixture is cooling place the butter and sugar in a bowl and using an electric mixer beat until fluffy (4-5min).

6. Add the vanilla extract to the butter and sugar and mix once more.

7. In thirds, mix in the cool milk/flour mixture (with the skin removed) into the butter mixture and beat between additions.
Method: Assembly
1. Choose the thickest cake for the base of the cake, and ice the top of this with the icing.

2. Place another layer of cake on top, and ice this.

3. Finally add the third cake on top of this and then add 1/3 - 1/2 the remainder of the icing in the middle of this cake.

4. With an icing implement (be it a spatula or a butter knife) spread a thin layer of icing around the entire cake.

5. Refrigerate for 30-45 min, so that the icing sets.

6. Add the remainder of the icing, and decorate as desired.

Recipe from "The Buttercup Bake Shop Cookbook" by Jennifer Appel pp. 91, 118


Carrie said...

This looks great!

rhid said...


Anonymous said...

By how much would the recipe differ if I only wanted to make a two-layer cake? This sounds fun and easy, and was wondering what the measurements for a two-layer one would be.

rhid said...

I would use the same amount for a two layers. It'll make nice thick layers which is what you want!


I also have a recipe later in the blog that is pretty fantastic. I don't remember this one brilliantly well, but I did play around with the other one to make sure that it worked:
I says cupcakes - but it will work for a two layer cake as well.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! It looks and sounds so amazing - I'm so excited to make it! It'll be later on in the month though, for my birthday :D

I think I am going to stick with the original recipe - nice, thick layers do indeed sound like what I would want! Thanks.