IIf ever a cake deserved the spectacular description, it is red velvet: a spectacular ruffle of soft crimson sponge and snowy frosting that tends to impress the eyes more than the palate. But when done right, this delicate cocoa-flavored southern classic is so much more than just a pretty face.
Homework 40 min
Cook 35 min
Make 1 large cake
575 g all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
450 g butter, at room temperature
450 g white powdered sugar
5 large eggs, defeated
385 ml of buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Artificial red dye (see step 1)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon cider or white wine vinegar
For the icing
285 g sugar
50 g of flour
350 ml milk
250g butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
25g walnuts, to serve (optional)
1 A note about color
The color of this cake is often attributed to the reaction between acidic cocoa and alkaline leavening agents, or the “red” brown sugar used in some recipes, but in reality, you will need to invest in baking resistant artificial food coloring ( The most common “natural” type discolors when heated). This can easily be found online or in specialty stores, but leave it out if you prefer your velvety brown.
2 Prepare the cake pan (s)
Start by greasing three 9-inch diameter sandwich or cake pans and lining them with parchment paper. (If you only have one or two such cans, you can bake the dough in batches, but to ensure the best rise, pop it into the oven as quickly as possible.) Heat the oven to 200 ° C (180 ° C fan) / 390 ° F / gas 5.
3 Prepare the cake base
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt – this is especially recommended with this cake, because it is what gives it that characteristic smooth and fine texture – and reserve.
Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl or food mixer until really light and fluffy, periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl – this will take about five minutes with electric beaters, longer with a wooden spoon.
4 Stir in the eggs
Add the eggs to the butter mixture little by little, beating in each addition to make sure it’s absorbed into the batter before pouring in the next, and scrape the bowl regularly as you go. If the dough threatens to curdle at any point, mix in a tablespoon of the flour mixture before adding more egg.
5 Finish the base
Pour the buttermilk into a pitcher and mix in the vanilla and enough food coloring to turn it bright red (don’t be shy).
Using a large metal spoon, gently fold one-third of the flour mixture into the batter, then fold the buttermilk mixture in half. Repeat, then finish with the last of the flour mixture and fold until you have a dough of uniform color.
6 Bake, then cool
Add the baking soda to the vinegar and then add this mixture to the batter as well. Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove, cool for five minutes, then unmold the cakes on a wire rack or wire racks and allow to cool completely.
7 Start with the icing
Meanwhile, make the frosting. Combine the sugar and flour in a large skillet and gradually add the milk until you have a smooth paste.
Stir regularly, bring to a slow boil, then cook, stirring continuously, for five to 10 minutes, until the mixture is the consistency of a thick custard. Let cool completely before proceeding to the next step.
8 Finish the icing
Beat a quarter of the butter into the cooled custard mixture until well incorporated, then add the rest with the vanilla and a good pinch of salt.
Continue beating until the frosting is light and well-whipped in texture (you can make the frosting ahead of time, but bring it to room temperature before using to make it easier to spread).
9 Assemble the cake
Place a cake on a board or plate and spread the top with frosting. Put the second cake on top and repeat, then do the same with the third cake, remembering to give yourself enough frosting to cover both the sides and the top. Garnish with walnuts, if using. It is best to eat the cake as fresh as possible, but if it is not served immediately, store it in a cool place until serving time.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism