thecookingchook

The personal stories and adventures of a nerdy food lover.

What is this they call Red Velvet cake?

I’ve noticed that there have been a lot of blog posts about red velvet cake lately. Apparently, this cake is the bomb. If this is true, then why have I never eaten such tasty cake before? What is this they call Red Velvet cake? Like a true researcher, I turned to Google. I had to find out what this cake is and how I could get my mitts on some. Wikipedia had a very succinct description of what this cake was all about.

A red velvet cake is a popular cake with a dark red, bright red or red-brown color. It is traditionally prepared as a layer cake topped with cream cheese icing, and sometimes cookie dough filling. The reddish colour is achieved by adding red food colouring.

OK – sounds appealing. Now to find me a recipe! Whilst trawling through the 50 bijillion recipes out there for red velvet cake, this one got my attention: Unforgettable Red Velvet Cake. I found this recipe on the blog Epicuriously, and its author, Maria, tells the tale of when she first discovered red velvet cake and her mission to find a recipe to replicate the cake that she became hooked on. Maria’s story immediately resonated with me because it sounds like something I would do; eat something totally scrumptious, then make it a mission to find the perfect recipe to replicate it at home. Looks like I found me a recipe! The one thing I noticed with Maria’s recipe that I hadn’t seen with the many others I found, was that the icing had white chocolate mixed in with the cream cheese. Even more reason to use this recipe if you ask me! Coincidently, Valentine’s Day was coming up when I found this recipe, so I bookmarked it to make my partner a cake for Valentine’s Day. I also ended up with enough batter left over to make ten cupcakes which I ended up sharing with my work colleagues the next day. So, what did I think of this cake? It was pretty good! The combination of the chocolately cake with the cream cheese icing is really nice and it’s not overly sweet either, so you could easily eat a few slices and not feel like you’re about to blast off into space on a sugar high. This recipe definitely deserves a place on my favourites list. I used two heart-shaped tins in this instance, but if you’re using round cake tins, this recipe will allow you to make a two-tiered cake for 10-12 people.

Unforgettable Red Velvet Cake
2½ cups sifted plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
30ml red food colouring (I used Queen’s Pillar Box Red food colouring)
115g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups caster sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

White chocolate cream cheese frosting
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
180g white cooking chocolate, broken into small pieces

Preheat oven to 180°C (fan forced). Grease two 22cm cake tins with softened butter and line base and sides with baking paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the food colouring and cocoa powder to form a smooth paste and set aside.

Cocoa paste

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes (setting 4 on the KitchenAid). Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl as you go.

Beat butter and sugar Add eggs one at a timeAdd the cocoa paste

Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well (setting 1 on the KitchenAid), then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then the remainder of the buttermilk. Beat in the remaining flour until well combined, once again, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula after addition of ingredients.

Add one third flour Add half buttermilk

In a tall glass, mix the vinegar and baking soda together. Add the vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir through quickly until combined.

Mix vinegar and baking soda Mix it all together

Divide the batter equally between the two tins. I took Maria’s advice and used scales to weigh how much batter I poured into the tins, to make sure the batter was split equally. Chuck the tins into the oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool the cake in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack top side down, and allow to cool completely before icing.

Divide batter between tins Cool on wire rack top side down

To make the icing, melt the white chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally with a metal spoon. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Once melted set aside to cool slightly.

Melt white chocolate

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attached, beat the butter until pale yellow (setting 4 on the KitchenAid). If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer. Scrape the butter into another bowl and set aside. Chuck in the cream cheese, vanilla, and salt into the mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed (setting 6 on the KitchenAid) for about three minutes, until the mixture becomes light and smooth.

Beat butter Beat cream cheese mixture

Slowly add the melted white chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and beat until the mixture is well combined.  Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula at least once. Add the butter and mix until just combined. Divide the icing into two equal portions.

Add white chocolate

Place the first layer of cake in the centre of whatever you are using to serve the cake, bottom side down. Take a portion of icing and scrape it out into the centre of the first layer. Working from the middle with a spatula, spread the icing towards the edges of the cake, leaving a one centimetre border – this will allow the icing to spread to the edges as the next layer of cake is placed on top without spilling over the sides.

Icing on first layer

Centre the next layer of cake and gently lay it on top of the first layer, top side down and gently press – this will push the icing to the edge of the cake. Keep an eye on how hard you’re pressing to ensure the icing doesn’t spill over the edges. Take the next portion of icing and scrape it out onto the centre of the top layer and gently spread the icing to the edges of the cake. I scattered some pink sprinkles over the top for decoration. The cake is best stored in the fridge. However, it is best eaten at room temperature. Just take the cake out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

Icing on top layer with sprinkles Happy Valentine's Day

Note: Because this was the first time I had made red velvet cake, I didn’t make any amendments to Maria’a recipe. Click here, to access the original recipe. If you have left-over batter or would rather make cupcakes instead of a single cake, follow the recipe as you would for making the cake, then spoon the batter equally into a lined muffin pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. This recipe can make 20-24 cupcakes and there enough icing to go along with too.

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43 thoughts on “What is this they call Red Velvet cake?

  1. What’d you think of red velvet? As pretty as it looks I personally think red velvet cake is a little overrated. It’s just chocolate cake with red food coloring! Still delicious though 🙂 And I love the heart pans, so perfect for valentine’s day!

    • This is the first time I’ve eaten and made the cake, so a bit hard to form an opinion on just one cake. I’m going to reserve full judgement until I try some more cakes (an excuse to eat more cake really). I like the combo of chocolate cake with cream cheese icing which is a bit different from the usual butter and icing sugar.

  2. Looks scruptious and romantic too 🙂

  3. Red velvet cake is the only cake I’ve seen that contains vinegar / acid (from the buttermilk). I think it gives it a softer chocolate flavour. However, there are a lot of “red velvet cake” recipes around that just add food colouring and call it a day (which is cheating, if you ask me).

    And, (fun fact time!) it originally didn’t contain any food colouring at all, the cake was red because of a reaction between the buttermilk and “dutch processed” cocoa.

    Buuut mostly I just like it because it’s a fun colour.

  4. A good red velvet is a thing of beauty. A bad… Ehhh… Not so much. This recipe looks pretty good and straight forward. I may need to make this. I used to have a recipe hidden somewhere for red velvet whoopee pies. Mmmm.

  5. This cake looks delicious! I have never eaten red velvet cake either, and I think its time I make myself one and see what all the fuss is about 😉

  6. I finally found a recipe I like, and I REALLY want to try this icing for it! Thanks for sharing.

    • You’re welcome, thanks for stopping by and checking out my post. The white chocolate was definitely a good addition to the icing. Maria from Epicuriously has done a great job with this recipe!

  7. I’ve never tried Red Velvet – purely because I can’t get my head around the red food coloring. I’m a bit of a purist – its cocoa or chocolate for me. Our staple chocolate cake? From the back of the Bourneville Cocoa packet circa the 1960s or 70″s. Affectionately known as the volcano cake . Incredibly moist and chocolate-y.

  8. I have also tried a red velvet cake once and yes, I think I would prefer to try it without adding the colouring & just call it chocolate velvet cake! Apart from the fact that the colouring I had here was just rubbish (so it wasn’t very red) – I don’t like the thought of having all that artificial colouring in it anyway.

  9. looks delicious. I love rv cakes. I think it is just nice sometimes to have something a little different. Its kinda indulgent looking, no?

  10. Pingback: Brown velvet is for cupcakes, red is for wine | cupcaketravels

  11. I like that is matches your red KitchenAid mix master!

  12. Hi, Thanks for visiting our blog 🙂

    Red velvet is one of my ALL TIME favourite cakes but I haven’t tried to make it. You should also look into blue velvet cake. It’s pretty similar – I’ve only found it in one place in LA called Susina and it was SO yummy.

  13. You know, I’ve never found one that tasted as good as it looked. They always taste dry to me. I’ve also heard of using beet juice instead of red coloring–worth a try, huh? Your cake looks pretty!

    • I watched this cake like a hawk in the last 10 minutes of baking because I’ve read these cakes can end up dry. I think I’ll try the beet juice because I don’t really like the idea of adding do much artificial colouring. Thanks for the tip, and thank you for stopping by and checking out my post!

  14. That Girl Siobhan on said:

    Personally, I like Alton Brown’s recipe for red velvet, but I think I might have to try this one because it looks perfect!

  15. Your cake looks beautiful! Once I learned that red velvet cake is just red because of lots of food coloring, I lost interest. I’m not sure why it’s so popular just because of the color, especially when the trend seems towards more natural foods these days. It is very pretty though, and I LOVE cream cheese icing. I would be happier to eat cake-colored cake though 😉

    • Thank you! There is A LOT of food colouring in this cake, and I would leave it out next time I make it because it’s not really necessary. It does have a very unique taste though, which I really like and of course, the white chocolate cream cheese icing is pretty special 🙂

  16. Wow your Valentines Day version looks amazing! Especially cos it’s heart-shaped =) Thanks for trying out the recipe – I’m honoured and completely chuffed!

  17. Your heart shaped cake look lovely! I actually had a slice of the nicest Red Velvet cake I have ever tried just yesterday- it was bought from the Hummingbird Bakery in London: http://hummingbirdbakery.com/order/red-velvet-cake/
    They had got the hint of chocolate just right and was incredibly moist…has completely converted me!

  18. Where are you from that you have never heard of red velvet cake? It’s so popular in Canada!

  19. I personally think red velvet cakes are over rated…and the use of potentially dangerous food color for the sake of just having a red cake is not my thing. However, as overrated as it may be, I off course tried baking the few versions of the red devil many times but replaced food color using all natural ingredients and I thought they tasted delicious. I have all natural red velvet cupcake and red velvet cheesecake recipe on my blog. You are welcome to checkout if you like.

  20. Love red velvet cake but love cream cheese frosting more 😉 I’ve never added white chocolate, however. I’ll have to give that a try!

  21. Pingback: A dedication through macarons | thecookingchook

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