Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

What a coincidence that the Cake Slice Bakers first challenge for 2010 happens to be a Red Velvet Cake! Why you would ask me ... well I've seen so many bloggers posting about this cake or cupcake and I have yet to taste or bake it. I had in fact been meaning to add this to my "to bake list" and was somewhat pleased that it has surfaced as a challenge instead.

Usually I'm pretty good with challenges and would get it out of the way as early as possible. But I've been pretty slack over the last two months and have kinda of rush through my challenges. This particularly one is the same as well. I actually baked these cupcakes on Sunday afternoon. I was back in my hometown in Kuala Lumpur over the last 3 days to catch up with my sister. She's currently residing in Melbourne, Australia and was home for about a month and half. This would be her last weekend in Kuala Lumpur before she flies back home. It was good to catch up with her as well as spend a few days back home, not forgetting eating local food as well.

Rather than attempt a layered 9" cake, I halfed this recipe and turned out a dozen cupcakes instead. I didn't do the original pecan coconut icing and used some left over white chocolate buttercream which had been sitting in my fridge for more than a month now. I would have thought the buttercream would have gone off as it was really "old" but surprisingly it was still good. I just needed to thaw it slightly and rewhipped it. The Red Velvet cupcakes were surprisingly good, with really moist, tender crumbs. I believe the standard icing for this cake would have been cream cheese frosting but I guess if you want to deviate from it, just make sure you choose a frosting that really goes well with this cake.

Red Velvet Cake
Makes a 9" layered cake or 24 cupcakes
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)

Ingredients for the Cake:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (see note below)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp red food colouring
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cider vinegar or white vinegar

Ingredients for the Pecan Coconut Icing:
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts


1) To make the cake, heat the oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line them with waxed paper to kitchen parchment. Grease the paper and flour the pans.

2) Prepare three separate mixtures for the batter. Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl and use a fork to mix them together well. Combine the cocoa powder and the red food colouring in a small bowl, mashing and stirring them together to make a thick smooth paste. (I found it easier to add the cocoa to the dry mixture. For the food colouring I added this directly into the batter after the addition of the eggs.)

3) In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer at low speed for 1 minute until creamy and soft. Add the sugar and then beat well for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl now and then. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each one until the mixture is creamy, fluffy and smooth. Scrape the cocoa-food colouring paste into the batter and beat to mix it in evenly.

4) Add a third of the flour mixture and then about half the milk, beating the batter with a mixer at low speed. Mix only enough to make the flour or liquid disappear into the batter. Mix in another third of the flour, the rest of the milk and then the last of the flour in the same way.

5) In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar and stir well. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to quickly mix this last mixture into the red batter, folding it in gently by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.

6) Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes until the layers are spring back when touched lightly in the centre and are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans. (For cupcakes bake between 15 - 18 minutes. Check to see if ready - if not bake for another minute or 2.)

7) Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 15 minutes. Then turn them out onto the racks, remove the paper and turn top side up again to cool completely.

Method for the Coconut Pecan Icing:

1) Combine the milk and flour in a small or medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking or stirring often until the mixture thickens almost to a paste, around 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and scrape it into a small bowl to cool completely.

2) Meanwhile, beat the butter with a mixture at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar in thirds, beating well each time until the mixture is creamy and fairly smooth. Add the cooled milk and flour mixture and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides now and then to combine everything well. Using a large spoon or spatula, stir im the vanilla, coconut and pecans, mixing to combine everything well into a thick, fluffy, nubbly icing.

To Assemble:

Place one cake layer top side down on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread a third of the icing on top. Place the second layer, top side up, on top. Frost the sides and then the top of the cake with the remaining icing. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to help the icing set.

NOTE: If you can’t find buttermilk, stir 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup of milk and leave to stand for 10 minutes before using.


Rachel said...

I like that you did cupcakes.

noobcook said...

I love all the frosting u made for the cupcakes. so pretty! ^_^

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

You always deliver. :) They look amazing and moist and lovely. Your decorations are perfectly done everytime! Glad you enjoyed your time back in KL.

natalia said...

Great ! I loved the moistness too !

Chitra said...

first time here..The cake looks mouthwatering ..Pass me one plz ;)

Katie said...

I did cupcakes too! Love how you decorated them - so pretty. Your forsting looks so creamy

symphonious sweets said...

great idea to make cupcakes. very cute

homeladychef said...

Wow...interesting cup cakes! There is an award for you to grab from my blog, hop over to get it, will you?

Faye said...

Your cupcakes are soo cute! Love the piping job!

The Bahens said...

I think at least half of us made cupcakes! Yours look great!

Belle@Ooh, Look said...

I love the way you've done the tiny icing swirls, it's so elegant on the cupcakes.
PS: Your recent chicken satay recipe looks a winner; I'm going to try it!

Leslie Limon said...

I think I'm going to have to make cupcakes next time I attempt to make this recipe! Very cute cupcakes! :D

El said...

I've never red velvet cake. It looks incredibly tasty.

Monica H said...

Your cupcakes are so pretty! I love that you decorated them all differently.

bake in paris said...

I have been planning to bake red velvet cake. This great post will finally give me a kick :-)

Jo, I have something for you at:

Sawadee from Bangkok,

Dodol & Mochi said...

Oh, I've had good, good red velvet cake in my life! But never get around to do it! You've done a great job on this American classic!!


P.S. Are you gonna be back in KL on Feb 27? There'll be a food bloggers meet-up!

Ingrid said...

I love that one covered in sprinkles!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

really pretty...i love finding uses for those leftover bits and pieces!!

Jo said...

Hi all, thanks for dropping by. As I've never had red velvet cake, I really couldn't make any comparison. But I really enjoyed this cake, simple yet very moist and soft. It kept well even after 2 days in the fridge.

Hi Ju, yes I did enjoy KL and will be back during the CNY again.

Hi homeladychef, many thanks for the award. You have a great blog as well.

Hi Belle@Oh, let me know how the satay turns out.

Hi El, never had one either but I really like it. Do bake this for a taste.

Hi Kris, thanks for the award and I really do like your blog (and your fab creations) as well.

Hi Pei-Lin, wish I was back then but unfortunately not. I would have loved to join and meet other bloggers ... are u going?

Anonymous said...

These are just adorable - I love your decorations, gorgeous!

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Jo its been a long time since I dropped by... Then my visit now makes me feel and want all that you have posted.. Tempting velvet cake looks very yummy and soft!!!

pigpigscorner said...

They look lovely! Nice decor!

neyeeloh said...


I like your blog ^_^

Would like to ask if I were to bake a round cake, do I need to apply sugar syrup before applying the cream cheese frosting?

Jo said...

Hi Natasha & Anne, thanks for dropping by.

Ramya, I have not heard from you for ages. Hope all is well with you.

Hi neyeeloh, no you do not need to add a syrup to the cake before icing it with cream cheese. Some cakes may require a syrup in order to develop it's flavour with the frosting. Such cakes are best eaten a few hours later or even the next day in order for the flavours to meld together.

Dimah said...

This looks lovely and delicious!

Jan said...

I loved the frosting for the cupcakes, it looks absolutely delightful!! So pretty, great effort. Keep baking!!!

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