When I asked Mr O what he wanted for his birthday he said he didn’t want any presents he just wanted me to bake him a cake. This is pretty unusual since Mr O doesn’t really like cake but being a big fan of baking and a big fan of Mr O I couldn’t say no. He specifically requested a red velvet cake so I turned to my most trusty baking book, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and made this slightly wonky but still tasty three layer cake. There is something so pretty about the bright red sponge with the white cream cheese icing. Oh… and I did get him some other presents too. The cake was just the cherry on the top.
Red velvet cake
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
For the cake
150g butter at room temperature
300g caster sugar
2 large eggs
20g cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring (a whole small bottle, the cochineal variety gives the best colour)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
For the icing
50g butter, softened
300g icing sugar
125g full fat cream cheese
Red sprinkles to decorate
Preheat your oven to 180 C and grease and line three 19cm cake tins.
Using an electric mixer beat together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at time beating well after each addition.
In a separate small bowl mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla and red food colouring to form a paste. Add the paste to the butter mixture and mix well.
Sift together the flour and salt in a separate bowl and then add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two additions alternating with the buttermilk and mixing well after each addition.
Mix the vinegar with the bicarbonate of soda (be careful, it will bubble up). Add to the cake butter and mix to incorporate.
Divide the batter between the three tins evenly and smooth the top. Bake the cakes in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tins for 20 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the icing beat together the butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer until you achieve a sandy consistency. Add the cream cheese a little at a time and beat until light and fluffy. Spread the icing between the cake layers and on top and sandwich together to form a three layer cake. Top with sprinkles if using.