Since starting AllKinds, I never thought for a second that I would be bringing you a specialty from my brother. Nick first made this cake around 5 years ago on Christmas day and it was a total hit. This year it was brought back by popular demand. The recipe comes from the Joy of Baking website and he does it really, really well. Probably because he never strays from the recipe which is something the rest of us get a bit too cocky with. But still, he knows exactly what he’s doing, even if he does sometimes play dumb/helpless in the kitchen. Nick’s domestic ineptitude is a running joke between us, but I know what his game is – for he is the king of managing expectations. At one point I said ‘this recipe asks for buttermilk’ and Nick replied a little too quickly, ‘yeah one cup of milk and one tablespoon vinegar’. Smarter than he lets on…
Anyway, here are some visuals. Whoever put this cake together has done it really well. The cakes rise beautifully without drying out and the cream cheese icing has mascarpone in it to make it rich without any sourness. Tip: before making the cake, come to terms with the amount of food colouring you’ll have to use. It is loads. It will stain your whole life if you’re not careful.
It was well executed, especially considering Nick had my sister, Nish, and myself hovering around trying to help/bother him when he was making the icing. This had its benefits – my sister came up with idea to dye the desiccated coconut red before garnishing…it makes the cake look much more lively and kinda resembles crumbs of the red cake itself, which are often used for decorating red velvet cakes and similar desserts. We did this by mixing 2 teaspoons of red food colouring into 2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut.
The recipe originally said to cut the cakes to make four layers…none of us could be bothered.
Apologies for the super average cut-open photo. We didn’t think about photos beforehand, we just smashed it. Some of us had numerous pieces in one sitting.
~ Ingredients ~
Red Velvet Cake:
- 2 1/2 cups (250 grams) sifted cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk – milk + 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream Cheese Icing:
- 1 – 8 ounce (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 – 8 ounce (227 grams) tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup (115 grams) confectioners’ (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted
- 1 1/2 (360 ml) cups cold heavy whipping cream (double cream)
~ Method ~
Red Velvet Cake:
- Preheat oven to 170C, with the rack in the centre of the oven. Grease and line two 23cm cake pans. In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt and cocoa powder.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
- In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
- In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.
- Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 -30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight). (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)
Cream Cheese Icing:
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add theheavy cream*(See Note)and whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.
- Place one cake on a serving platter, top of the cake facing down. Spread the cake layer with a layer of icing. Place the other layer of cake on top of the icing, then ice the top and sides of the cake. Can garnish the cake with desiccated or shredded coconut.
Serves 10 – 12 people.
Note: You must use a brand of heavy cream that whips very easily to stiff peaks. If you are using a brand of heavy cream that does not whip easily to stiff peaks then whip the heavy cream separately to stiff peaks and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.