I made this red velvet cake yesterday when I came home and before I went out to dinner. Usually when I make desserts, I try to have as much time as possible on my hands, to do things right and at my own pace. But after a tiring day (and week), all I wanted was some red velvety goodness, and I didn’t wanna think that much about it. And when I looked up recipes I figured it was just cake and some frosting after all. And it is just that, a regular cake – although red – and some frosting. Nothing to shy away from.
A red velvet cake is different from your regular cake from multiple of reasons. The use of buttermilk, first of all, adds depth and structure thanks to it tangy flavoring. Buttermilk is also known to help tenderize the gluten in cakes or muffins batters, resulting in softer textures and more body in baked goods. Because you can use it for practically anything : cakes, cupcakes, pancakes, muffins, scones.. It gives a richness and softness that is sometimes lost with milk. And for a red velvet recipe, using baking soda is mandatory if you’re using buttermilk. It will be activated thanks to the acid in buttermilk, and will have a higher effect than regular baking powder in this particular recipe. You can of course use baking powder if you can’t find baking soda (sold in pharmacies) but it’s better if you do. Also the use of cocoa powder, as in the original recipe, is what makes a red velvet cake, well, red velvet. If you use melted chocolate it’ll become a chocolate cake with red food dye. Which isn’t what we’re here for.
So yes, red velvet cake is not just a red cake. It has velvet in its name for a reason. Or must I say, reasons, as all cited above. But enough talking and let’s move on to the recipe.
- 400 g plain flour
- 50 g cocoa powder (unsweetened if you can find some, but it’s okay if you can’t, just use less sugar)
- 115 g butter
- 2 eggs
- 20 cl vegetable oil
- 200 g white sugar
- 25 cl buttermilk
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 3 tsp red coloring (I used liquid coloring)
- 400 g cream cheese (you can use Philadelphia, St Moret, Jebli..)
- 100 g butter
- 200 g powdered sugar (pour little by little see if you can add less, all depends on your taste)
- Put the oven at 180°C and line up your baking pan with parchment paper on the bottom and butter on the sides.
- Beat the butter (at room temperature so it’s easier to mix) with the sugar until it’s all smooth.
- Add the eggs one by one and beat until combined.
- While still whisking, add the vinegar, oil, buttermilk, and finally the red food coloring.
- When everything is combined and thick, add all the dry ingredients that you previously mixed together (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt), at once and whisk away.
- Pour your batter into your round baking pan, and put it in the oven for 25 to 30 min.
- Put a toothpick inside your cake to see if it comes out clean. If it does, take it out and allow it to cool completely before removing it from the pan and putting it on your plate.
- I took out the little dome on top to have a flat cake, but you can keep it if you wish to cut your cake in half to have two tiers.
- I put my cake in the fridge so it could continue holding together while I made the frosting.
- Beat the cream cheese with the room temperature butter and the powdered sugar until all combined and creamy.
- Take out your cake from the fridge and smother it with cream. Really, use a metal flat spatula and cream that baby away. I left the sides a little uncovered to have a a little naked cake effect.
- And I finally used the crumbs from the removed dome to decorate the top of my cake. You can also just decorate the sides or the top edges of your cack. Or even use the remaining frosting to pipe up some shapes on top. Do whatever you like, it’s your red velvet cake, it’s up to you to see how you like it.