Sunday, 30 September 2012

Red velvet cake

At the recent Cake and Bake Show at Earls Court, I purchased a bottle of Lorann’s red velvet bakery emulsion.  I’ve always liked the look of red velvet cakes but was totally turned off by the amount of food colouring they require (I’ve seen recipes requiring 50 or even 60ml of colouring – yuck!)...and I could always taste it in the finished cake.  This product claimed to produce the required colour with only a single tablespoon.

I find my tastes change over time, so it’s important to revisit things I haven’t liked in the past.  Cream cheese frosting is a good example – although I’ve always loved cheesecake, oddly, cream cheese frosting left me cold.  I revisited it recently and enjoyed here it is again!  My eatership (male, except for me) all said – independently of each other – how much they preferred this frosting to buttercream.  I think it’s because it is less sugary and has a sharp tang.  That said, I have the sweetest tooth in the world and I liked it too!

I think my cakes are red enough to look like a red velvet but without looking radioactive.  The sponge with a light cocoa flavour was nice and worked well with the creamy, tangy frosting.

The cake will also work made in two thicker layers but there is something so pretty about a three layer cake when cut into slices – maybe it’s the more even distribution of sponge and frosting?


For the sponges:
120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
300g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
300g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
230g buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Lorann red velvet emulsion – or your preferred red colouring
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting:
180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
450g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia


Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C /375°F/Gas mark 5.

Line three 20cm loose bottomed sandwich tins with baking paper.  If you don’t have three you can either bake in batches, or use a 20cm round springform tin as the third tin.

Beat together the butter and caster sugar until really smooth and slightly whipped – it won’t go really light and fluffy because of the ratios involved.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Weigh out the flour and cocoa and beat a third into the batter.

Beat in half the buttermilk, followed by a further third of the flour/cocoa.

Repeat so that all the flour, cocoa and buttermilk is incorporated.

Beat in the vanilla and red velvet emulsion.

In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, which will fizz rather dramatically, and add to the batter.

Spoon the batter into the three cake tins – you can weigh them if you want them to be identical, but I did it by eye.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the sponges comes out clean.  Mine took 23 minutes.

Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack, remove the paper and leave to cool.

Now make the frosting: beat together the butter and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl (I used my kitchenaid).

Beat in the vanilla extract.

Beat in the cream cheese, adding it a spoonful at a time, until your frosting is smooth and well combined.

Use just under half the frosting to sandwich together the three layers of sponge.

Use the ‘bigger half’ of the frosting to cover the top and sides. 

Refrigerate until you wish to serve, ideally removing from the fridge about 30 minutes beforehand.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Kate@whatkatebaked said...

What yummy looking bake- and so prettily layered! I've only attempted one or two Red Velvets and they have turned out to be more Pink Velvets because I wasn't terribly generous with the food colouring, but this product works a treat!

Soo said...

Beautiful cake!

My mom made a truly yummy carrot cake and frosted it with shocking amounts of cream cheese frosting. Well, shocking to strangers, the perfect amount to me. :)

Caroline said...

That looks great - did using the specialist red food colour fix the problem of tasting food colour in the final cake? I agree about the three layer thing - I always think they look so gorgeous and the ratio of cake to filling is good because you can always get a bite of frosting with a bite of cake. Double layer cakes tend to have thicker cake so you don't always get frosting with the cake - tragedy!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Caroline

No icky food dye taste at all - just lightly cocoa'd it should be!

Happy baking

Samantha Elliott said...

Mmmmmn! I can taste it's gorgeousness from here. Though I made some of your stout and mascarpone cakes on Friday and they are lushiousness on a plate!

Stephanie Muzzall said...

Wow! it looks fabulous! I hadn't even heard of cake emulsion, it looks very interesting I will have to have a google and get some for myself.

Thanks for sharing.

Cakeyboi said...

I love the frosting - it looks so professional. I make my red velvet cake without chocolate - an old Marha recipe. Perhaps I should try this one?

Janine said...

Looks delicious! Another way to use less colouring is to ue gel food colouring, which gives a stronger flavour and you only need a few drops. It's available in mot supermarkets now, too.

Miss C Flash said...

Lovely combination of red sponges with white icing. i use red food paste as this requires only 1/2 tea spoon for an intense colouring x

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

Beautiful as always! I always struggle with the food colouring aspect too. Definitely prettier with the three layers :)

Gloria said...

What lovely and delicious Cake, I loved!

Cakelaw said...

I have never heard of red velvet emulsion before, but it's a great idea! Nothing worse than the tinny taste of food colouring. Yum! Glad you gave cream cheese frosting another chance.

Jacqueline said...

I was excited to see the cake cut into. I never fancied the cake myself because of the same horror of how much food colouring was in it, so this emulsion is perfect! Beautiful cake CC xx

fallen from flavour said...

i'd not heard of red velvet emulsion - your triple layer cake looks very statuesque. and i imagine it tastes wonderful.

Kit @ i-lostinausten said...

Lovely layer cake with beautiful color 'RED'! Looks so moist & tempting with those yummy frosting! YUM! :)

Louise Dolding said...

This emulsion is so good to know about, I have made red velvet cake on so many occasions and it just seemed so toxic putting so much colour in! Not to mention the time when I baked red velvet with a natural food colouring - the cakes were orange and tasted of beetroot! This looks really fab :)x

Jo said...

Impressive cake! I must admit the amount of food colouring in red velvet cake always worries me so this colour paste sounds perfect. Great colour in your photographs too. When I made red velvet cupcakes last year I found the red really difficult to photograph.

Susie @ Fold in the Flour said...

This does look lovely. I'm glad the colouring worked out. I love cream cheese frosting - I think the tang definitely helps counteract too much sweetness. I find it tends to pipe brilliantly, too, so sometimes use 1/3 cream cheese to 2/3 butter in a frosting rather than just butter. Anyways, looks gorgeous and I would love to try a slice! :)

Choclette said...

Your red velvet looks spectacular and perfectly red too. I'm so tempted to make one as I do like the texture, but I'm not a fan of artificial colours, so haven't made it yet. It looks really good against the white icing.

Nicola said...

I love red velvet cakes and yours looks so wonderful! Absolutely stunning :-)

Nicola said...

I love red velvet cakes and yours looks so wonderful! Absolutely stunning :-)

Laura loves cakes said...

Love the sound of that red velvet emulsion...I'm also rather loathe to add that much food colouring but this sounds like it does the trick and your red velvet looks delicious! :-)