Friday, March 16, 2012

Red Velvet Cake

I told my daughter that I was very excited making a red velvet cake for my own birthday.  I've been longed to bake one but miss all the chances until my turn to choose what I want for my birthday!  This 4 layer rich dark chocolate cake has been a classic which is a originated served at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria hotel.  Traditionally its red colour come from grated beetroot.  When a guest asked for the recipe, she was billed with a large amount that she decided to spread the recipe via a chain letter.

So when I first looked at the recipe, I thought I was going to prepare a scientific experiment with all this baking soda, vinegar and colouring.  I don't really like to put artificial colouring in my baking and 3 tablespoons are HUGE for me but I follow the recipe anyway.  (Thinking my kids may get hypo jumping up and down after overdose with food colouring) Then when it comes to the cooked vanilla icing part, I fail it!  I couldn't bring the magic to make white, whipped cream looking vanilla icing.  I can't afford to have a fail for my own birthday cake and my husband tells me whipped cream would be good as he just can't wait to eat it!

After all we enjoy the cake, it's red, moist and just right for me.  My daughter thinks it a bit too plain as she prefers coffee favoured cake. I decorate the cake with some sugared rose petal to add some romance!  If I'm making it again, I would cut down some colouring, use natural colouring if I can find it or use grated beetroot instead.  The cake is best served after decoration as the red colouring from the crumbs start to sip through the cream affecting the look of the cake.

Red Velvet Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food colouring
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar

For the icing:
600ml thickened cream
1/2 cup icing sugar

For the decoration:
rose petal
egg white
white sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and line two 9-inch cake pan with baking paper.  
  2. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl till light and fluffy, add in egg yolks and continue to beat for 1 minute.  Stir in cocoa powder, food colouring and vanilla to the mixture.  Combine the buttermilk and salt in another bowl, stir in to the mixture alternating with the cake flour.  Mix the baking soda with the vinegar in a bowl and blend into the batter and stir till well combined.
  3. Divide the batter into the two pans or in my case, I bake the 1st half and then bake the 2nd half later.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.  Left the cake to cool for few minutes then loosen the cake layers to cool completely at the cake rack.
  4. Meanwhile, wipe the cream till thicken with the icing sugar.  Split each layer into 2 and spread some cream in between.  Spread some cream over the top and side.  Garnish the cake with some rose petals.
  5. Sugared rose petals: use a brush to brush some egg white over both side of the petal then cover the petal with white sugar.  Lay the petal onto a plate to dry.
Source:  modified and adopted from the cookbook, Great Cakes by Country Living