This week’s guest blog is a recipe for Red Velvet Cake from Pixie Hall Cakes to help you share the love this Valentine’s Day.
Excuse me, has anyone seen January? I’m sure it was around here somewhere but suddenly, all I can see is February. I’m really not sure how this has happened but I’m sure there’s nothing I can do about it so I’ll just enjoy the fact that it’s getting closer to spring and the days are getting longer.
I was quite lucky with the scheduling of this post actually as it meant I could make something special for Valentine’s day. I’m sure lots of you will be going out for a fancy dinner with your partners or have something else special planned. For those of you that are cooking a meal to share at home, I have the perfect dessert for you to make.
This red velvet cake is quick and easy to put together and looks fantastic. It also happens to be delicious! Red velvet is a traditional American cake and is a vanilla cake with a hint of cocoa and a fair bit of red colouring. Classically, the chemical reaction from vinegar and buttermilk mixing with the cocoa has helped to enhance the red colour of the cake and keep it fluffy and moist. The cake is filled and covered in a delicious cream cheese frosting which complements the sweetness of the cake with its natural tangy flavour.
I have experimented with red colouring in my quest for a beautiful red velvet and I have found that supermarket food colouring labeled as “natural” will not make your cake the show stopping red that you want. Your cake will be a reddish brown and, while still tasting delicious, will lack the wow factor of a brighter hued treat. You should look for concentrated paste colours or the traditional liquid colours for best results.
You can buy buttermilk in supermarkets but I don’t tend to bother. You can substitute the buttermilk with plain yogurt or mix 1tbsp lemon juice into 235ml milk and set aside to curdle before adding to the cake.
Red Velvet Cake
340g plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
350ml oil (sunflower or other flavourless oil)
1 tbsp vinegar (white vinegar or cider vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla
Red colouring (the amount you use depends on the brand and how red you want the cake)
For the frosting:
200g softened butter
60g caster sugar
400g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 23cm round tin.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda with a whisk to ensure it is combined well.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and colouring together until smooth.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth and uniformly coloured.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45-55 minutes or until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool.
To make the frosting, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and beat again.
When the cake is cool, slice it in half and spread some of the frosting evenly on one half, place the other half on top and then smooth the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
To make the decoration I cut a heart shape out of a piece of paper and used it as a stencil, pouring red sugar sprinkles onto the frosting. They should keep the shape of the heart well and remain in place as you remove the paper.
Slice and enjoy with your loved ones.
Linds Hall runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.
Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography