I had a piece of red velvet cake at work this week that had me dreaming of making it all week. Enter Sunday, the day of the week when I usually bake. Unfortunately the red velvet cake wasn’t to be – the recipe I followed for the sponge had far too much cocoa in it for the red colour in it to show up (I will leave the food dye out of the recipe for this reason although it is visible on the photos). In the end though it doesn’t really matter to me what colour my cake ended up; the cake was delicious and had a lovely texture. If you like a chocolate cake that isn’t too heavy on the cocoa then this may be the recipe for you.
To make this you will need
For the sponge
175g unsalted butter
450g caster sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp cider vinegar
For the frosting
500g icing sugar
Anything you wish to decorate the cake with
This is actually a good cake to make if you don’t have much kitchen equipment. I mixed this entirely by hand. I reckon baking by hand occasionally is well worth it. You use up enough calories that you can justify the first slice of cake!
Preheat the oven to 180°C 3 cake tins and line with baking parchment. I have 2 cake tins so I just did my baking in 2 batches. Beat the butter for a minute or so, until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and cream both together.
Scrape down the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the cocoa and the vanilla extract.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then add to the butter mixture in three stages, alternating with the buttermilk. Make sure you mix everything thoroughly so no lumps of flour remain and the mixture is smooth.
Put the bicarbonate of soda and cider vinegar in a small bowl mix well until it bubbles. Add this to the cake batter mix in well. If there is any remaining bicarbonate of soda use 2 teaspoons of water to lift this from the bowl. Spoon the mixture into the tins and level the top of the batter.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes. After 30 minutes, cover the top of the cake with foil (this prevents the top of the cake from burning. Test the cake after 45 minutes; when it is cooked, a knife or skewer inserted in the centre will come out clean. Remove the foil and leave to cool on a wire rack for around 30 minutes. Remove from the tin and leave until completely cool before decorating. If you try to decorate while the cakes are still warm everything will slide around and it makes everything more difficult to decorate. Trust me, as an impatient person I have done this many times before.
To make the frosting, beat the butter until soft. Add the mascarpone and beat to combine. Add the icing sugar and beat again. The more you beat this, the creamier the icing will be. Set aside at room temperature until you’re ready to use it.
Use a pallet knife or a butter knife to decorate.