*Please excuse the colors in the pictures. The sun kept coming in and out.
**If you’re wondering why the top of the cake is bare and not that smooth, that’s because it is yet to be dressed! You’ll know why in a couple of days. :3
I’ve never really liked Red Velvet.
The truth is, Red Velvet and I have never really gotten along together. Our relationship has always been rocky. The first time I attempted to make a Red Velvet cake was 4 years ago for Father’s Day. The cake was huge and yummy and definitely velvety in taste, but red? Not so much. It was half maroon and half brown (grrrh).
The next time, I attempted red velvet cupcakes. This time the cakes were perfect, but the frosting was too runny. So runny that I literally just dunked the cupcakes in it, like a donut being dunked to glaze it. My dream of a thick, lush cream cheesy frosting was still a dream.
This one. This time, I can proudly say that this is in fact one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. It is soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess. The crumbly texture along with the smooth creamy frosting makes for one hell of a cake.
Need more evidence than just my word? My up-nosed brother, the pickiest eater of all, asked for more cake again and again. AND he liked my frosting! He never compliments my frosting! Or anything for that matter! (The memory of his compliments still makes me giddy).
It was a two layered, 9 inched beauty. It rose majestically, light and airy, and sprinkled the world with fairy dust (not really).
Enough with me being a parrot about my wonderful cake, now for the educational part:
Red Food Coloring:
I used liquid food color. But you can use whatever you can find. I’ve listed a few points here about each of the choices.
Gel food color:
Not available in any shops here in Pakistan. Can be bought online, bit pricy though.
Gives the best results.
Use a whole 1-ounce bottle.
Liquid Food Color:
Available in some supermarkets here in Pakistan.
Results are meh. Doesn’t give that bright of a color.
Use an entire bottle to get the right shade of red, around 2-3 Tablespoon.
Powdered Food Color:
Available in almost all supermarkets in Pakistan.
Least desired result.
Can be harmful if used in large quantities.
You’ll need around 2 teaspoons for this size of cake.
Mix it in the buttermilk before adding into the cake mix.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
For the perfect cream cheese frosting you need to use THIS…brick-style cream cheese:
NOT THIS…cream cheese spread:
BUT, the brick form is rarely available and I have been blessed only twice with it.
So, the cream cheese “spread” can be used instead. BUT (warning) it leads to a very runny frosting which is not pipe-able at all. So you need to adjust the ratios accordingly.
Instead of the classic cream cheese frosting made with butter, I decided to make the much lighter and fluffier whipped cream cheese frosting. I, personally am not a huge fan of tons and tons of frosting slathered on my cake. A thin layer does just fine. You can see in the pictures, the frosting is just enough to hold the two layers together, and to cover the entire thing without any crumbs showing.
The whipped cream cheese frosting is very easy to put together and compliments the red velvet purrrfectly. You need to first whip your cream till stiff peaks form. (You know why I love autumn most? Because I can whip my cream. Yayyy. And it doesn’t turn into a gloppy mess.) Peaks form. I’ll be making a lot of whipped cream recipes these few months, making the most of the cold.
Anyhow, whip the cream. In another bowl beat your cream cheese, I used Puck’s cream cheese spread, with icing sugar. Then “gently” fold in the whipped cream. Chill for a bit to firm it up a bit. And voila! You’ve got your heaven of a frosting. It’s smooth, and velvety, not cloyingly sweet like buttercream. It’s light and spreads like a dream.
Butter and Oil:
This recipe does not use a copious amount of oil, because there’s butter in there too. Butter adds flavor. Oil helps keep the cake moist. Yes, you need them both! No substituting or eliminating!
And that’s pretty much all you need to know to make the perfect red velvet (and the recipe of course!). Now that you know everything you need to know, you know what you have to do… It’s the perfect weather for baking. Make this, and enjoy with friends and family. Or just yourself, with a nice cuppa tea.
Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
· 2 3/4 cups (365g) all-purpose flour
· 1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder
· 1 tsp baking soda
· 1/4 tsp salt
· 2 cups (403g) granulated sugar
· 3/4 cup (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
· 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
· 3 large eggs
· 2 large egg yolks
· 1 oz liquid red food coloring
· 1 1/3 cups buttermilk1
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 1 1/2 tsp vinegar
· 8 oz cream cheese, softened
· 1 pack, or 1 ½ cup heavy cream
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 1 cup powdered icing sugar
For the cake:
·Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease 2 3-inch round baking pans, then line bottom of each with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment, set aside.
In a bowl add flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Mix together. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat together sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Mix in vegetable oil. Blend in eggs one at a time, mixing just until combined after each addition. Mix in egg yolks then red food coloring.
In a liquid measuring cup, measure out buttermilk then whisk in vanilla extract and vinegar. Working in three separate, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture alternating with 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture and mixing just until combined after each addition. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is incorporated. Divide mixture evenly among two prepared baking pans. Spread into an even layer and bake in preheated oven 26 – 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in cake pan 10 minutes then run knife around edges of cake to loosen and invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Once cool, frost with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting. Store cake in an airtight container in refrigerator.
For the frosting:
In a bowl whip the cream on high till stiff peaks form.
In another bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until combined. Then, gently fold in the whipped cream till fully combined. Keep chilled till ready to use.
To make homemade buttermilk: Take 1 Tbsp + 1/4 tsp vinegar in a measuring jug. Add enough milk to make 1 1/3 cup. Let it sit for 15 mins at room temperature. Stir and then use.
*If using salted butter, omit salt.
*Cake can be made in 9-inch cake pans too.
*To whip cream, chill the blow and beaters in the freezer an hour before whipping. Also make sure the cream is cold. The colder the cream, the faster it whips.