Feb 6, 2011

Red Velvet Cake with Orange Zest Cream Cheese Frosting.

Years behind trend, I finally baked my first Red Velvet cake for my Mum in Law's birthday. I finally get what the hype is all about. It was so moist and had a lovely slight tang from the vinegar and cream cheese frosting. The colour also makes it look 'festive'. And OMG the frosting! I couldn't resist licking the frosting off the bowl. I used a light cream cheese and it was the first cream cheese frosting my cheese hating husband ate voluntarily. He even took seconds!

There are so many variations of this recipe- with or without buttermilk, with or without vinegar, with or without chocolate. I adapted many recipes and used all 3. I wish I had skipped the cocoa or used a better quality because the slight hint of chocolate that is meant to be there, didn't  come through and it messed up the vibrant red colour it could have been. If you are using cocoa powder, use a premium quality, or skip it.  I assembled the layers and frosting at my MIL's place and forgot to bring my camera, which explains the phone pictures. Also, I suck at prettifying, so ignore the sloppy frosting work. I frosted the top and the sides were frosted by my MIL's blacksmith friend. Now you know why the cake looks like it suffers from multiple personality disorder.

We forgot to buy candles and used a horrific flower candle contraption we found at my MIL's place. Formed like a lotus, it had petal candle holders, the centre shot out a mini fountain of flame and played music! Classy! ;)

To make one 9 inch layer cake, you will need
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red food colouring
  • Vegetable-oil to coat pans.

  1. Preheat oven to 150 Celcius. Spray two baking pans with cooking spray and line with wax paper. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat sugar and vegetable oil till well blended. Add in eggs one at a time. Add vinegar and vanilla. With an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately till flour is blended. Add food colouring. Beat to combine.
  3. Divide batter among pans; each pan will be about half full. Tap pans on counter to remove bubbles. Bake for  40 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Let them cool.
  4. To assemble- invert cake layers upside down. Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting. Let it cool, so this frosting acts as a layer to apply more frosting. To frost the top and sides of the cake, work from the center toward and over the edge, making sure to coat evenly.
    For Orange Zest Cream Cheese frosting
    • 226 grams cream cheese at room temperature
    • 226 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
    • 450grams confectioner's sugar, sifted
    • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Zest of one Orange.
    Place sugar in a bowl and add orange zest, vanilla extract and blend. ( It is important that you do this step first, otherwise the zest tends to clump instead of distributing evenly *talking from experience*) Add in cream cheese and butter. With a hand-held electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add pecans on low speed to combine. If too soft, chill until slightly stiff, about 10 minutes, before using. Tip: if you frosting is feels too runny, add some lemon juice so the cheese curdles again.

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