Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Cakes (iii) - Red Velvet Cake

Today's the day, so grab your keys, pull on your boots and get out there and VOTE! It's a lovely day, so there really are no excuses. Next up, in alphabetical order, in my election cake countdown is Labour. Will they stay or will they go? I think we all know the likely answer to that one. If you will be sorry to see them go, you can make this cake to take your mind off your woes and pray for a better result next time. If you'll be happy to see the back of them, you can make this cake and eat it in giant bites as some kind of symbolic statement. And, needless to say, if the political colour of any of this week's cakes puts you off but you like the sound of the flavour, make it anyway! You can always bung some different coloured icing on top if you want to. Remember, people, these are cakes, not rosettes, and blueberry cupcakes are still delicious regardless. On with this week's quest. Here goes the red team's cake:

Red Velvet Cake
Preheat the oven to 180 C (160 C Fan) and grease and line two 8" sandwich tins.

6 oz/ 150 g of soft, unsalted butter
12 oz/ 300 g caster sugar
3 large eggs, separated
A generous glug of vanilla
10 oz/ 250 g plain flour
1 oz/ 25 g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 oz/ 50 g good quality cocoa
250 ml buttermilk
pinch of salt
1 tsp white wine or cider vinegar
3 tbsp liquid red food colouring or 1 tsp of red paste dye (I only had enough liquid dye for 2tbsp, so my cake in the picture isn't quite as red as it should be)

for the icing

8 oz/ 200 g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
8 oz/ 200 g soft, unsalted butter
2 lb/ 800 g icing sugar, sifted
A generous few splashes of vanilla extract.

  • Whisk the egg whites and salt together until stiff peaks form and set aside for later.
  • Using the same whisk (this order of things is purely to minimise on washing up), beat the butter together until pale and fluffy. A large bowl is advisable here if using an electric whisk, to prevent spraying the contents all over your kitchen. An electric whisk is also advisable for the un-beefy of arms, as this cake requires a lot of whisk action.
  • Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition, followed by the vanilla extract.
  • Mix together the red food colouring and buttermilk. This should be a very vibrant colour, so if your's isn't, add more colouring until it is.
  • Mix about a third of the red buttermilk into the sugar, butter and eggs and sift over a third of the dry ingredients NOT INCLUDING the bicarbonate of soda and whisk again.
  • Mix in another third of the buttermilk, then another third of the sifted dry ingredients and repeat until everything is mixed up well.
  • Fold in the whisked egg whites until thoroughly combined.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. It will fizz up. Fold this into the cake mixture and pour into your two prepared sandwich tins.
  • Bake on the centre shelf of your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave the cakes to cool in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning them out.
  • When completely cool, sandwich the cakes together with half the icing and spread the rest over the top and sides of the cake. You can, if you wish, cut each cake horizontally across, with filling in between each to make extra layers for an even more stylish and greedy cake.
for the icing
  • Whisk the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy and add the vanilla and whisk again.
  • Sift over the icing sugar in batches, whisking between each addition, until it's all combined and silky smooth.
  • Taste for vanilla and whisk in some extra if you feel it needs it.
  • Slice both cakes horizontally (if you just want to make a sandwich cake, leave out this step and reduce the quanity of icing by half) and stack them together with a layer of icing in between.
  • Cover the top and sides with icing and it's ready to serve.
Photo to come...

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