Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Recipe: Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Who doesn't love red velvet cake? I see it more as a vehicle for eating cream cheese frosting but the moist dense buttermilk cake is a real hit and stays fresh for several days in the fridge.

Red Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups Plain (all purpose) flour
1 1/2 cups Caster (bakers) sugar
1 tspn baking soda
1 tspn fine salt
1 tspn cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups Canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tbspn red food coloring (1 ounce)
1 tspn white or white wine vinegar
1 tspn vanilla extract
oil / butter for the cake tin
Maraschino cherries for decorating

Cream Cheese frosting:

500g (2 packets) Cream cheese
4 cups Icing (Confectioners) sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (equivalent to 2 sticks)
2 tspn lemon juice


  • Preheat your oven to 180C (350F)
  • Oil a large cake tin or two layer tins and then dust with flour
  • In a large jug or bowl beat the eggs and then add the other liquid ingredients - buttermilk, oil, food colouring, vinegar and vanilla

  • Into a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and cocoa
  • Into a mixer on low alternate the dry and wet ingredients - 1 cup at a time
  • Mix on a medium speed until well combined
  • Spoon the mixture into the tin and then smooth the top with a spatula
  • Place the tin into the middle of the oven and cook for 30 -35 mins until the middle springs back
  • If you are dividing the mixture between two tins then rotate the tins after 15 mins
  • Once cooked move the cake to a cooling rack
  • After 10 mins remove the cake from the tin and turn back onto the cooling rack
  • Once the cake is cooled (and not before!) make the frosting, if you premake the frosting it will lose its consistency and if you try to frost a warm cake it will melt
  • Cut the cake in half and leave open to ensure it is cool on the inside while you prepare the frosting
  • De-stem and cut your Maraschino cherries in half, leave soaking on paper towel to remove as much of the syrup before you decorate the cake. Syrupy cherries will leak red food colouring onto your beautiful cake and ruin the look of the frosting.
  • Let the cream cheese and butter reach room temperature so that they are easy to mix
  • Place in a stand mixer and cream the butter until it is pale in colour 
  • Add the cream cheese, you may want to add this one half brick at a time
  • Then add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time on low (so you don't spray fine sugar all over the kitchen!)
  • Once all the cream cheese is incorporated add the lemon juice - or if you prefer you can use vanilla instead but I find lemon brings out the tang of the buttermilk in the cake
  • Leave the icing on a medium speed for 4-5 minutes, this will make it light and fluffy and should increase the size of the frosting by about 50%
  • Transfer the bottom half of  your cake to a stand or platter and cover the layer with frosting, around 1/2 - 1 cup should provide a thick central layer of frosting
  • Carefully place the top half of your cake over the bottom
  • Frost all over the top and sides of the cake - use a cake spatula and a turning decorator if you have them
  • Once frosted add your drained Maraschino cherries and any birthday candles or candy decorations

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