I have been wanting to find an excuse to make this cake since steel magnolia's, and finally an opportunity presented itself in the form of a halloween/birthday shindig! yes yes. what could be more ghoulish than cutting through pristine white icing to a blood red cake, that's right, not much!
I have spent a loooong old time googling red velvet cake recipes, well, all recipes really, but I think red v-cake has taken up a large portion of said google time. I eventually settled on the recipes posted by Smitten Kitchen, no idea how I come to choose recipes, perhaps it is the reassuring photos...? hmmm. anyhoo I forged ahead, one quick trip to the dreaded asda...who of course did not have any red food dye. I hate that stupid shop, they have no concept of stock taking. And so I braved the torrential rain that was upon brighton to run to the co-op where I bought their entire stock of red food dye, all five bottles, and returned triumphant to my kitchen.
3 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cups cocoa powder
1 1/2tsp salt
2 cups canola oil – I substituted with vegetable oil to great success!
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
6tbsp red food dye
1 1/2tsp vanilla essence
1 1/4 cup buttermilk – if you can’t get this then use regular milk and add 1tbsp lemon, leave for 10mins
2tsp baking soda
2 1/2tsp white vinegar
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
115g butter, room temperature – almost to the point of melty melty
3 cups icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 170C/350F, grease and line your cake tins. This recipe calls for 3x9” tins, but I used 2x8” then cut each in half to make a 4 layer cake If you do this then reduce the heat by 10 degrees and cook for 10-20mins longer.
2. Sift the plain flour, cocoa and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
3. Place the oil and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and blend at a medium speed until well combined.
4. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well to combine.
5. With the machine on a very low speed carefully add the red food dye then the vanilla.
6. Finally add the dry mix alternately with the butter milk in three batches; scrape the bowl down and beat again to combine.
7. Place the baking soda in a small dish and add the vinegar, stir and add immediately to the batter, beat for 10 seconds.
8. Pour the batter into your prepared cake tins and place in the centre of the oven, bake for 40-50minutes – or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
9. Carefully remove the tins to some cooling racks, leave for 20mins then turn out the cakes (I have invested in some decent sprinform pans that make this so much easier!), peel off the baking paper and leave to cool completely whilst making your frosting.
10. Place the cream cheese and butter in a mixer bowl and beat until light and fluffy and well combined. Add the sugar and vanilla. Beat on a low speed to combine, iff too soft then pop in the fridge to harden for 15mins. Add more icing sugar if you want it to be sweeter.
Frosting Tips: If you have made two big layers then slice these in half, if not then just proceed…If you have the time then it may be a good idea to chill the cake in the fridge before frosting, it is then easier to brush off the crumbs. When icing a multi-layer cake put less icing on the bottom layers, and leave a large gap at the edge of the cake as the weight of the other layers will push the frosting outwards, and we don’t want too much oooooze now do we?! I made less frosting and then covered the cake in white fondant icing, but this is up to you!