One of my friends, Hollie, asked me if I would be willing to make them a cake for her Mum’s 50th birthday party. She showed me a photo of the sort of cake she had in mind – a square 2 tiered cake covered in fondant. I haven’t used fondant before and I didn’t want to experiment with a cake for such a special occasion. I wanted to find a cake that I thought I would be able to do well but that still had a bit of a wow factor. I saw this cake on a blog I have featured before called Sunday Baking (http://www.sundaybaking.co.uk/really-easy-chocolate-rainbow-smarties-cake/) and thought it looked really pretty. I showed it to Hollie and she said it would be perfect. We started talking about it more and she asked if I could make a red velvet cake instead of the chocolate cake in the recipe. She also asked if I could use white chocolate fingers instead of the milk chocolate fingers. Challenge accepted!
I started looking for red velvet cake recipes – there were so many to choose from! I have a twitter account set up so I can tweet about food and talk to other people with the same interests (@Curlyscooking). I tweeted asking if anyone had a recipe they had used and would recommend. Food Network UK tweeted me back with an Anna Olsen recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/recipes/red-velvet-cake.html-2) which looked really good, so I decided to use it.
I hadn’t made a red velvet cake before (ignoring the red velvet cake balls) so I wanted to try it out before I made it for Hollie’s Mum’s party. Also, Hollie hadn’t tried red velvet cake before so it was important that she actually liked it and thought her Mum would too. The cake is very dense with a subtle chocolate taste which makes it different to any cake I have eaten before. Hollie really liked it so that was the cake sorted!
It does take some time, but I think I was definitely able to create some wow factor.
For the cake:
190g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp red food colouring gel
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line two 20cm loose bottomed cake tins – I used round tins but the original recipe used square tins
- Beat the butter until smooth and then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat again
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add this to the creamed mixture alternating with the buttermilk – start and end by adding the flour
- Add the colouring and vinegar to the cake and then divide the mix evenly between the two tins
- Bake for 35-40 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean
- Cool the cakes in their tins for 20 mins and then cool completely on a wire rack
For the icing:
190g unsalted butter, at room temperature
340g cream cheese, at room temperature
450g icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Beat the butter until light and fluffy and then add the cream cheese. Mix until smooth
- Add the icing sugar in stages, making sure it is all mixed in before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla
- Put one of the cakes on your serving plate and spread with a generous amount of the icing. Place the other cake on top and spread this with the icing. I start with the top and then spread the icing on the sides
- You can leave the cake as it is, but if you want to decorate it like I did line the sides of the cake with fingers making sure there aren’t any gaps. Tie with ribbon
- Carefully starting in the centre, place the smarties in rings using a different colour smartie for each ring. Don’t worry too much about making it even, as you go you get the hang of it
- Make sure you keep it in the fridge
The original recipe says to stir the gel colouring into the vinegar and then add it to the mix. I did this the first time I made the cake and somehow I got the colouring everywhere when pouring it into the mixer. It stained my work surface which made me panic because my landlords are very strict and would shout at me (for those of you that don’t know, my parents are my landlords!). A little bit of Cif worked wonders and my work surface is now stain free but to avoid this happening to you, just put the colouring and vinegar straight into the mixer and don’t faff around mixing them beforehand.