IIf ever a cake deserved description, it’s red velvet: a dramatic flounce of soft, crimson sponge cake and snowy frosting that tends to make more of an impression on the eyes than on the palate. But when done right, this delicately cocoa-flavored southern classic is more than just a pretty face.
Preperation 40 minutes
to cook 35 minutes
Makes 1 big cake
575g plain flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 tsp fine salt
450g butter, at room temperature
450 g white powdered sugar
5 large eggs, beaten
385 ml buttermilk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Artificial red dye (see step 1)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of cider vinegar or white wine
For the icing
285g of sugar
350 ml milk
250g butter, softened
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
25g pecans, to serve (optional)
1 A note about color
The color of this cake is often attributed to the reaction between the acidic cocoa and alkaline leavening agents, or the “red” brown sugar used in some recipes, but in reality you will need to invest in an artificial food coloring that is stable during baking ( the most common “natural” type discoloration when heated). It is easily found online or in specialty stores, but leave it aside if you prefer your velvet brown.
2 Prepare the cake pan (s)
Start by greasing three sandwich or cake molds 23 cm in diameter and line them with baking paper. (If you only have one or two such molds, you can bake the dough in batches, but to ensure the best rising, put everything in the oven as quickly as possible.) Heat the oven to 200C (180C) fan) / 390F / gas 5.
3 Prepare the base of the cake
Sift through the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt – especially worth it with this cake, as that’s what gives it that characteristic soft, fine texture – and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl or mixer until they are really light and fluffy, periodically scraping the sides of the bowl: this will take about five minutes with electric beaters, longer with a spoon. drink.
4 Incorporate the eggs
Add the eggs to the butter mixture a little at a time, beating each addition to make sure it has been absorbed into the batter before pouring the next one, and scrape the bowl evenly as you go. If the dough threatens to curdle at any point, add a spoonful of the flour mixture before adding more eggs.
5 Finish the base
Pour the buttermilk into a jar and add the vanilla and just enough food coloring to make it bright red (don’t be shy).
Using a large metal spoon, gently fold a third of the flour mixture into the dough, then stir in half of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat, then finish with the last flour mixture and fold until you have a uniform colored dough.
6 Cook, then cool
Stir the baking soda into the vinegar, then add this mixture to the dough as well. Divide the dough between the molds and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the top is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove, let cool for five minutes, then unmold the cakes on one or more racks and let cool completely.
7 start on the icing
Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Combine the sugar and flour in a large saucepan and gradually incorporate the milk until you obtain a smooth dough.
Stirring regularly, slowly bring to a boil, then cook, still stirring, for five to 10 minutes, until the mixture has the consistency of heavy custard. Let cool completely before proceeding to the next step.
8 Finish the icing
Beat a quarter of the butter in the cooled custard mixture until well incorporated, then add the rest with the vanilla and a good pinch of salt.
Keep beating until the frosting has a light texture and is well whipped (you can make the frosting ahead of time, but bring it to room temperature before using, to make it easier to spread).
9 Assemble the cake
Put a cake on a board or plate and spread the top with frosting. Put the second cake on top and repeat, then do the same with the third cake, remembering to give yourself enough frosting to cover the sides as well as the top. Decorate with pecans, if using them. It is best to eat the cake as fresh as possible, but if it is not served immediately, store it in a cool place until ready to serve.