This is a post that’s been long pending and lying in my drafts for about 2 weeks now. Since Valentine’s. I know this is going to be one long post and therefore, kept postponing it for a time when I could sit for 1 hour with absolutely no interruption – with no “ammaaa” calls from the son (his reasons….boo-boo, pee-pee, what you doing? what is this? I want chocolate…..), no “molu” calls from the husband (where’s this? or that? what’s for dinner? come watch national Geo with me cos this episode on snakes is fabulous!! ya rite….are some of his reasons), no phone calls (“ha”!! would be the exact remark my dad would give had he been reading this…because he says…he would get through to the American President faster than what it takes to get through to me), ….you get it right? Right. It needs to be just me, the PC and the thoughts about the Red Velvet Cake 🙂 . And to get some me-time, I had to wait 2 weeks! Life is bliss 🙂
Anyways…coming back to the post. My toddler son turned the BIG 3 (ok, not so big!), the very next day of Valentines – Feb 15th. How I wish he had come out on 14th, but that boy was sooo lazy while he was inside that he wouldn’t budge all of 14th.( I have no clue where’s all the laziness gone off to, b’cos he’s so hyper-active now.). Nut!! He’s going to regret it so bad when he realises that if he hadn’t been so lazy, he would get to celebrate his birthday with the world, when the world celebrates “love”.
Everyone seems to be celebrating Valentine’s these days. The young, the old, the married, the singles (I read they celebrate love for themselves on V-day), all make a big deal about it. I have no clue why. Ok I admit I did care for it too. Not in school, because I was more tom-boyish then and could even beat up a guy, if need be (I know many friends can vouch on that!). And then like some kinda fairy tale, the thought of wanting to date a prince-like guy (hardly knew they don’t make them anymore!), I decided I need to get rid of the tom-boy self and be more lady-like. And so I did. After that, Valentine’s day was never the same :-D.
Even while me and the husband were dating, I was excited about Valentine’s day. He always did something special. And after marriage, wellll…hmm.. when they say guys change after marriage, they speak the truth! Suddenly, the husband thinks love shouldn’t be celebrated on one particular day and it’s not to be shared only with your spouse. Love should be a all-round-the-year thing and to be shared with friends and family. Perfect!! Where do ideologies pop up from after marriage, I wonder?! But I ain’t complaining. I’ve had my share of good valentine gifts and celebrations and I guess now it’s not very attractive anymore. I guess, I’m growing old too (who said age is just a number?!?!)
But then after our son, Aaron was born, we do a 2-in-1 kinda celebration. His birthday + Valentine’s day. Nothing out of the ordinary…just a simple dinner outside at some fancy restaurant. And this year, since I ventured into baking, I decided to do a 2-in-1 cake. Where, I bake the cake and we cut it on 14th night, few seconds before midnight. That way we begin cutting the cake on 14th for Valentine’s and continue to cut it as the clock strikes 12, taking us to the next day i.e. my son’s birthday.. Corny, right?!? I thought so too 😉 .
And so I was debating on what cake to bake, what shape, what frosting…when a friend posted on Google Buzz the link to a food blog where the blogger baked Red Velvet Cake :-). Voila! It was a prayer answered. I knew that’s what I was gonna make immediately because it was perfect in every way – I love Red Velvet Cupcakes and so was pretty sure I was gonna love the cake too. Plus, it’s got red which is THE color of Valentines and a color my son likes, and I could use my new heart-shaped baking pan to show my love for the husband and the son! So, I copied the instructions to a word document, printed it and like always, deleted the buzz post (I’m a clean freak – clean house, clean inbox, clean everything!). Because of which I’ve got absolutely no idea where from I took down the recipe. If ever, I get to know I will put up the link right here. .
Edited: And so I did get it finally. It’s from Sprinkle bakes and Heather, the blogger called it Heritage Red Velvet Cake.
I baked the cake over a span of 2 days – the first day I baked the cake, the next day I did the frosting and chilled it. The cake was fabulous – soft and moist. It was so good I couldn’t stop gnawing at it from the sides. I would find myself opening the fridge very often and taking a small bite from the sides I scraped n kept for the topping. You can’t just stop, trust me!!
The recipe for the Cream-Cheese frosting also I took it from the same site. But I think it was a little bit too sweet for my liking and so I loved the Red Velvet cake without the frosting, more. But I guess there’s another reason for it being so sweet. The measurement given on the site for the frosting, made frosting enough to frost and fill at least 2 Red Velvet cakes. And since I didn’t wanna waste it, I applied
enormous generous portion on each layer and on the outsides of the cake too (and still I’ve got frosting for another cake too!) So maybe too much frosting all around on the cake made me feel the frosted cake was way too sweet.
Anyways, I’ve decided I’m gonna bake this Red Velvet Cake sans frosting very often. And if incase I need to bake one with the cheese cake frosting, I’m going to reduce the sugar by about a cup and reduce the entire frosting measurement by half.
And here’s what you need to prepare this soft and fluffy cake which I’ve adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
RED VELVET CAKE
Ingredients for the Cake
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup butter (225 grams), softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoon liquid red food coloring (even Rouge color is fine 😉 )
- 1 cup buttermilk (please note butter milk is different from laban. If you google, you’ll note there are different ways to make home-made buttermilk. What I chose was to add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 cup milk).
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar
Preheat oven to 180° C and place rack in center of oven.
Grease two heart-shaped cake pans (you can even use two 9″ round cake pan) and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and lightly flour the sides of the pan( if you have no parchment paper, that’s ok…just flour the entire pan then). Set aside. (I used a heart-shaped cake pan because it was Valentines)
In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Keep aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or you can use an electric hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar, untill the mixture is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat again. Add the flour mixture to the bowl alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
In a small bowl, mix the 1 1/2 tablespoon red food coloring and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder to form a paste. If there are small lumps in the cocoa, just mash it into the food with a fork. Add this to the sugar, butter and flour mixture. Mix well.
In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and cider or white vinegar and it will fizz up. Immediately, FOLD this into the cake batter and mix well. (remember not to over beat or over mix it as it’ll take out the fluffiness of the batter.)
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans and level the top of the batter with an offset spatula. Bake for 45 minutes in the pre-heated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cook in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then turn it out on wire racks and cool completely.
Your Red Velvet Cake is now ready to serve and eat! 🙂
Now if you plan to make the Cream Cheese Frosting: then you’ve got a little more work to do
Once the Red Velvet Cakes have been baked and cooled, slice both horizontally, using a serrated knife.
Cake 1 – I sliced right through the center, to make it into half. Meaning I’ve got 2 equal layers now.
Cake 2 – I cut it at a 3/4th level, meaning one layer was bigger than the other. I did this because, I wanted to give the cake a crumb coating, so that the outer portion of the cake would also be red and not the color white from the frosting. Like the below pic 🙂 ( Do read the Notes at the end of the post).
Anyways, I took the all the layers, wrapped them separately in plastic and refrigerated them , overnight (it’s best keep it for several hours in the refrigerator or else in the freezer for an hour at least.) This is done to make the spreading of the frosting much easier, or else a freshly baked cake could tear.
The next day, I took the 1/4th portion (remember I cut one cake such that one layer was 1/4th in size and the other 3/4th) and crumbled it with my fingers.. You can crumble it as fine as you want. I opted for a little lumpy, not so fine texture because it gave it more of a red-rose topping look. That’s what I thought and think still…. you tell me what do you think?? :-).
Reminder – I’ve already reduced the quantity of the cream cheese frosting to what you need for 1 cake and also the amount of sugar. So you can follow the measurements as is:
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 1 – 8 oz package (227 grams) of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. With the mixer on low, gradually pour in the confectioners’ sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. If mixture is too thick, you may add a little milk to loosen it. If it is too thin, put in the refrigerator to firm up.
To assemble : place the 3/4th size layer, top of the cake facing down onto the serving platter. Spread on top of this layer, some frosting.. Place another layer of cake on top fo the frosting and continue to frost and then place the next layer. You now have 3 layers of cake and 2 fillings (the 4th layer we’ve crumbled, right? Right!). Now, frost the sides and top of the cake.
Your frosted Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is now ready to serve and eat (oops! just realised I have no picture of the cake with the frosting all over. Sorry!)
Now if you plan to do a Crumb Coating
If you want to coat the cake with crumbs, do so when the icing is fresh and sticky. Take the crumbs and put it onto the top of the cake. Then slowly start pressing some crumbs onto the side. It’s best to do it on top of your kitchen counter where you’ve put some foil or parchment paper, so that when the crumbs fall off you can still take them and put it onto the cake. This way, we don’t lose any of the precious crumbs!
And that’s it. Your Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Red Velvet Cake Crumble coating is now ready to be served and eaten.
- Butter milk is NOT the same as Laban. Please do not substitute it with that. The buttermilk gives the cake a moist and tender crumb. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup (240 ml) of milk. Let this mixture stand 5 to 10 minutes before using.
- The Cream cheese frosting measurement given above has already been modified by me from the original. So don’t make changes to the total quantity, as you’ll need this to make one Red Velvet Cake.
- On day 1, I baked the cake, allowed it to cool, cut it into layers, and chilled it in the refrigerator. On day 2, I prepared the frosting and applied it to the cake. If you’re in a hurry, you can let the cake cool, cut into layers and place into the freezer for an hour. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.
- The color of the cake would be more red and vibrant, had I used the “RED” food coloring. But then me being the last-minute person (you already know that, by now!), realised only mid way of the preparations that I have no red color!! Disaster!! And so I called the husband and begged him to get it for me on his way home from work. And he couldn’t find Red on the store shelves, but did find ‘Rouge’ color. Now I tried to convince him to look a little deeper into the shelves for a red color that could be hiding somewhere, but you know how men are…..they all hate looking for things that are not visible on first sight!!! And since, I’ve got no one to blame other than myself for not checking if I’ve got all the ingredients before starting off, and since he was sweet enough to drop by at the store and manage to find a Rouge color… I kept quiet and used this instead.
- If you have no heart-shaped cake pan but want to bake one, then this is what you need to do: trace the bottom of the cake pan on wax paper, cut out the 9″ circle. Fold it in half and cut into a heart shape. Now, put the paper heart onto the cake and using a sharp serrated knife, trim it. Do note: if you’re baking a cake in a 9″ circle cake pan and planning to trim it to a heart shape and want to do a crumble coat, then when you slice the cake into layers, cut both the cakes horizontally into half. If you remember, the 2nd cake I didn’t cut it by half, so that the 1/4th layer I can use it for the crumble. Here now, you’re already getting the crumble pieces from the trimmings.