Sunday, 13 February 2011

Red Velvet Cake

There is a cake I have been wanting to make ever since I passed the Hummingbird bakery in London a couple of years ago. I'm not sure whether it is the name or it's signature colour that has lured me into wanting to make it. The famous cake I am talking about is of course the one and only Red Velvet Cake.
I have seen several chefs recreating this beauty, from Nigella Lawson to the recently model turned chef Lorraine Pascall. This cake is pretty much a simple chocolate sponge cake but it is dyed a garish red colour, hence giving it its proud name. Various recipes will use different ingredients and different amounts of cocoa, but I find that the majority simply use eggs, butter,
sugar, cocoa as well as buttermilk. Now for
those unfamiliar with what buttermilk is, it is simply a dairy drink which you can easily buy from all supermarkets. If you can't find it you can substitute it for a mixture of yogurt and milk or simply add a little vinger or lemon juice to milk and leave it to stand for 5 minutes.
Now, once you see the amount of red food colouring that is called for in this recipe please don't be alarmed. Yes it does call for a half a bottle of food colouring but I can assure you that unlike when you add large amounts of colouring to icing it makes it go a funny taste, in this cake the only give away that you have used the food colouring is its garish red.
Seeing as it is Valentine's Day tomorrow I felt this would be the best time to make a love coloured cake and then decorate it further with Love Hearts, just to make those commitment free days even sweeter!


115g butter
300g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g flour
2 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tbsp lemon juice)
2 tbsp red food colouring
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1) Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy, then stir in the vanilla.
2) Add the eggs one at a time, making sure that the egg is fully combined into the mixture before adding the next.
3) In a separate bowl sift the flour, cocoa and salt and in another bowl combine the buttermilk with the food colouring.
4) Alternatively add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the butter mixture, begining and ending with the flour.
5) In a little bowl combine the soda with the vinegar, let it fizz and then mix into the batter.
6) You can pour this into a larger 23 cm round tin or into two smaller tins, grease the tins before pouring in the batter.
7) Bake at 180C/gas 4, for 25-30 mins if using the smaller tins, or 50-60 mins when using the larger tin, a skewer inserted should come out clean.

I used a simple butter cream frosting made from beating 280g icing sugar with 140g softened butter along with 3 tbsp milk and 1 tsp vanilla essence.