For my husband’s birthday, I decided to bake him a red velvet cake which is considered my first attempt at professional cake decorating. It is also the first patisserie-standard choice of cake I ever considered making. It is a big risk because I’m no expert in baking so anything could go wrong. Normally I only make simple desserts like brownies and muffins so I really had to research and study cake-making techniques, in the hope of producing a cake that not only tastes good but looks good and of course one that will impress the birthday boy.
Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 bottle 28g red food colouring
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350 deg C. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Mix food colouring and cocoa powder in a small bowl to form a paste. Set aside.
4. Using a cake mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy for about 3 mins. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in the red coloured vanilla paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go.
5. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then add in 1/2 of the buttermilk.
6. Beat in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then remaining half of buttermilk. Add in last 1/3 of the flour mixture & combine.
7. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda till it fizzes. Add to cake batter immediately and whisk well to combine.
8. Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool both cakes completely using a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
500g (or 2 blocks) of Philadelphia cream cheese
113g (or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 2/3 cups icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
raspberries & blueberries for decoration
1. Using a cake mixer, blend cream cheese and butter till smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in icing sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. If you prefer a stiffer frosting, you can add more sugar to your preference.
2. Use as frosting on cake immediately.
3. Decorate top of cake with berries of your choice.
It really wasn’t as bad as I thought. Though I was a little flustered in the kitchen as I didn’t have a complete set of essential tools and equipment, I managed to pull it off with whatever resources I could find. The decorating of the cake took me a long while as I had to re-spread the frosting a couple of times but I’m sure this is something that practice makes perfect.
The sponge was a beautiful shade of deep red (I don’t like the bright blood red colour of those sold outside because it looks so artificial) and was dense and moist. The cream cheese frosting had a good balance of savoury cheese and sweet sugar and complemented the cake perfectly. The berries highlighted the creaminess of the frosting, making it taste rich and sharp at the same time. Their sour sweet flavours simply stimulate your taste buds and whet your appetite.
This cake is quite big and can serve 10-12 people. Give it a try and see if you’d like it as much as we enjoyed it! =)