This weekend we are celebrating one of our best friend’s birthday by throwing him a surprise 30th birthday party. To celebrate, I decided to make one of his favourite cakes – Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. The irony here is that he is lactose intolerant so I’m not sure how he’s gonna survive this cake but I guess we all make sacrifices just to have something delicious 🙂
I’ve only made Red Velvet Cake once before and it was a loooongg time ago and since there will be approximately 20 people there to eat this cake, I wanted to make this cake tastes good! As mentioned in my previous blog post about Red Velvet Cookies, I found an amazing recipe by Sally. When I read all the rave reviews on her site I had to try it and it was honestly such a moist and soft cake.
I was a bit worried that the cake would turn out bitter as I’ve read online lots of people had bitter cake due to all the red food coloring that went into making this cake red. However, I used Wilton’s Red (No Taste) food coloring and it turned out perfectly fine.
Plus with the Cream Cheese Frosting, you would barely notice it anyways.
I think what made this cake so moist and soft was the following:
Lots of oil – this recipe calls for about a cup of vegetable oil. Yes it seems like a lot but you need a lot of fat in order to keep the cake moist
Beating the egg white separately – By separating the egg whites and whisking them separately into stiff peak and then incorporating into the cake batter, this helped lift the cake by introducing more air. The result is a fluffier cake!
Using buttermilk – I’m not 100% sure I understand why buttermilk makes everything tastes better especially when it comes to baking… even in my Fluffy Blueberry Pancakerecipe, it was a total game changer. I think the fact that the acidity of the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda helps create more lift in the cake.
For anyone that’s afraid to try this recipe, don’t! You can’t go wrong. For full recipe, see below
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, room temperature and separated
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Gel red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
Cream Cheese Frosting
16 ounces (450g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoon milk/cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease two 8-inch cake pans (3 inch tall) and line the bottom with round parchment paper. This will help the cake come out easily after its done baking. Grease the sides of the pan as well. This recipe will make a 4 layer 8-inch cake.
First, let’s make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.
Add the oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and vinegar and beat on high for 2 minutes. (Set the egg whites aside.) Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat in your desired amount of food coloring just until combined. I used 1-2 teaspoons of gel food coloring.
Using a hand mixer, whisk the 4 egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into cake batter. The batter will be slightly thick.
Divide batter between cake pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It is best to set a timer for less than the recommended bake time to prevent overbaking as each oven has a different temperature setting and cake pans retain heat differently.
Remove cakes from the oven and cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling or the frosting will melt!
Make the frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth and pale in color. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream/milk, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium speed and beat for 3 minutes until completely combined and creamy. Frosting should be a spreadable consistency (like spreading soft butter on toast).
Assemble and frost: Using a large serrated knife or cake leveler, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard or crumble over finished cake. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer repeat until all layers have been frosted. I always use an icing spatula and bench scraper for the frosting.
Refrigerate cake for at least 60 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake hold its shape when cutting.
Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days. Frosted cake or unfrosted cake layers can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before decorating/serving.