Red velvet cake is usually a red, mahogany, or red-brown colored layer cake. It is layered with cream cheese icing or cooked roux frosting. The cake is commonly served on holidays, especially for Christmas or Valentine’s Day in the United States.
However, as an Italian, I am allowed to make exceptions because my husband likes it a lot – so, I make red velvet cake for birthday and anniversaries. And if you also enjoy eating red velvet cake, then you got to try this basic, simple recipe for red velvet cake:
- 250g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 50 grams’ cocoa powder
- 240 ml vegetable or canola oil
- 270 grams golden granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ tablespoons red food coloring (I recommend organic)
- 240 ml buttermilk
- ¼ tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 90 ml freshly brewed coffee, cooled
- 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 300 grams full-fat cream cheese
- 400 grams icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line 3 by 8-inch sandwich tins or 2 by 8-inch springform cake tins, if you have them.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa, and ½ teaspoon of fine salt. Leave to one side.
- Next, using an electric mixer, whisk together the oil and granulated sugar until pale (3 minutes).
- Apply the eggs, one at a time, and then add the vanilla extract and the red food coloring.
- Spoon in ⅓ of the flour mixture, and combine together. Whisk together the buttermilk and cooled coffee, and add ½ of it to the mixing bowl. Whisk it in, then beat in ½ the remaining flour.
- Pour the white wine vinegar into the rest of the buttermilk and place it into the cake mixture. Mix it in well and then finish by adding in the last of the flour.
- Mix everything together well, then spread the mixture between the tins. Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, or just until cooked through and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. (In case the cakes are a little domed, this is fine, slice off the excess sponge and save it for decorating later).
- To make the cream cheese frosting:
- Cut the butter and apply it into a bowl. Whisk using an electric mixer until creamy and very pale (2 minutes). Sift the icing sugar into the bowl in three stages, whisking it well in between just until smooth.
- Use a sieve to drain any excess liquid off the cream cheese. When all the icing sugar has been combined, spoon a large tablespoon cream cheese into the bowl and mix it in. Apply ½ of the remaining cream cheese, mix it in for 30 seconds, and then add the remaining cream cheese. Whisk vigorously for 1-2 minutes. It will look like liquid at first, and after it will come together and appear whipped and light. Make sure not to whisk the icing too much though, because it will end up runny again. Next, spoon into a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up a little bit.
- Dot a teaspoonful cream cheese icing on the chosen cake stand and top with 1 of the cakes. Next, dollop a few large spoonfuls of icing into the mid of the cake and spread it to the edges.
- Keep going till the sponges have been layered up. Finally, decorate with the remaining icing. Slice and serve. Keep the leftovers in the fridge.