Today, I wanted to write about a request I had to bake and decorate a birthday cake for a very special friend of mine at the weekend. She wanted me to bake her a Red Velvet Cake which I haven’t baked in a long time – as it is not a cake I have eaten very often myself because it never appealed to me. However, I think I am now converted and it is my fave cake by far. (Although a cake I am baking later may change my mind – I am thinking Blueberry, Chocolate and Almond Pound Cake). Don’t know why but it appeals to me but it covers two of the Foodie Calendars Days that I wanted to create something for this week – “Pick Blueberries Day” and “National Chocolate and Almonds Day”.

Red Velvet Cupcake

Back to the Red Velvet Cake though and my decisions along the way to what I eventually created are quite interesting. I know from my trial bakes for this type of cake what the ingredients are and that the resultant cake when baked is quite savoury or rather not too sweet but this probably due to the presence of the vinegar, salt and buttermilk rather than a reduction in sugar as my final recipe was based on a standard cake recipe which I use a lot but then added the extra ingredients in relation to the quantities of the recipe used.

My first trial bake tasted rather more chocolatey than I wanted so I reduced the cocoa in the second trial batch and they were redder in colour and a lovely contrast to the white chocolate and cream cheese buttercream. I stuck with the cream cheese ingredient as I love it when it is used as the topping for a Carrot Cake. The topping kept the moisture in the cake sponge.

Red Velvet Birthday Cake with matching Cupcakes

The Birthday Cake consisted of a 4 tiered, 6 inch round sponge which was sandwiched together with the buttercream and a drizzle of raspberry sauce in between each layer. To accompany the cake I made 8 cupcakes for the children to enjoy at her tea party. I decided to add raspberry sauce into the mix as my friend whose birthday it was mentioned that she had eaten Red Velvet Cake with Raspberry Sauce before and I thought it sounded quite nice so I wanted to give it a go.

After having a slice of the birthday cake it was deliciously moist which I think was due to the raspberry sauce soaking into the sponge layers. The cake was not too sweet and the yummy sweets added to the effect. I think the sponges could have been a bit more red in colour so next time I will add a teaspoon more of the red food gel. (I used food gel instead of the food liquid colours as they do not change the texture of the sponge as much).

Red Velvet Birthday Cake sliced into showing the layers.

This type of cake is definitely a celebration cake rather than an every day cake which originated in the USA. My husband suggested using beetroot in the recipe to help with the red colour of the sponge but this is something I will have to try in the future. Beetroot was used in the recipe when there was rationing  during the war. The beetroot helps to keep the cake moist as well as improving the red colour of the cake. I have made a chocolate cake before using beetroot as the main ingredient and it is amazing what a versatile root vegetable beetroot is – not just for salads!! The vinegar and buttermilk are ingredients in this cake to bring out the red colour more and help the cake retain the redness when baked. As you can see there are lots of ways to improve the red colour of Red Velvet Cake and the different ingredients are needed to help with this important part of this cake.

I made a White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting as it is something a bit more special than basic vanilla butterceram and as this was a birthday cake I needed it to be special. Marshmallow Fluff woiuld be a nice frosting to use with this sponge as it would keep the sponge layers nice and airy in texture.

Tomorrow is a baking day – I hope but if I don’t get round to baking I will be sharing a recipe for the Ploughman Scones that I baked last week as they were delicious and are really worth baking.