Thursday, 25 April 2013

Red Velvet Cake

As promised, here is the post with recipe for the Red Velvet cake I made for Littletree’s birthday.

Of course, being me, I refuse to use red food dye, so I figured I could do it with beetroot. Really longtime readers might remember that I used to make candy for Littletree from beetroots (and later blueberries) and unrefined sugar (recipe HERE), but I didn’t want to go for my usual ‘ah, I’ll just make it up as I go along and she’ll be right’ random recipe, so I asked the internet to find me someone with experience who’d done an all-natural red velvet cake with beetroot before.

My awesome friend Rose T came up with this brilliant recipe on Sophistimom blog, so that seemed like a good start.

It looked pretty simple, and was almost all ingredients I already had to hand, so off we went…

I roasted beetroots the night before and let them cool.

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I blended said roasted beetroots in my trusty food processor with the 1/4 cup of lemon juice and a spoonful of vinegar. But my measurements aren’t too accurate, since we moved and I can’t find my measuring cups, so I’m just eyeballing it.

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Then away with the food processer and out to a mixing bowl and my trusty, vintage SwiftWhip beater to cream a 250 gram block of butter (because I can’t get my head around American recipes that call for a “stick” of butter), and a whole tub of cream cheese. Again, I don’t know ounces, so I just put in the whole tub. I think it was 200g. The little bit less cream cheese cancels out the little bit extra butter. At least, it does in my book.

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Also, creaming cream cheese and butter is hard work with an old-fashioned hand beater. But worth it. Once it was sort of soft enough, got into creaming in 2 1/3 cups sugar. Again with the using a juice cup and kind of guessing, but it turned out that I used the precise amount of sugar that was left in the jar. Then I cried because there was no sugar left for my coffee.

Once the sugar is creamed in, slowly add in four eggs. This is to make the batter easier to beat, and we nurse our blisters and wonder why we struggled through the creaming of butter and sugar. Also add in a sploosh of vanilla extract (I make my own, soaking organic vanilla beans in alcohol).

Then comes the silly part: where you need to use a second mixing bowl. I usually cheat on this bit and just bodge it all into the one bowl, because I loathe and detest washing up. But I have an indentured person now to do the dishes, and it was to be a special cake for Littletree’s birthday.

So I sifted 2 cups unbleached flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (there was some debate on the internet as to how much cocoa to use, so I made something up), and 1 1/2 teaspoons himalayan salt into a mixing bowl, and slowly added it in to the wet batter. Then I stirred in the beetroot puree, and we were good to go!

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Nice and red!

Grease and line three 8” cake pans… um, I don’t know how big 8” is, and I only have two round springform pans of indeterminate size, so I greased and lined those and called it good. Now, given that the recipe was for a three layer cake, and I only had two pans, I just kind of guessed at dividing the batter into thirds, put the first two in the oven, and then did the third one in a re-used pan.

Turned out on a rack to cool while I whipped up cream cheese frosting (two tubs of cream cheese, all the icing sugar I had (which turned out to be somewhat less than the recommended four cups), another whole packet of raw, organic, local butter (yay! I found a dairy just up the road selling unprocessed butter and cream!), 3 dollops of cream and a splash each of vanilla and almond extracts. Blend well.

The fun part was schmearing frosting between all the layers and covering the cake… you know, because I had to keep testing to make sure the frosting tasted good.

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Once I’d done the cake, I suddenly remembered that Littletree had requested chocolate-dipped strawberries to go on top, but I’d totally forgotten. Standard fall-back plan: grate some chocolate on top of the frosting, and call it art.

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The cake was a huge success of epic proportions; it looked awesome – sufficiently red; tasted great – rich and tangy; and the kids gobbled it up!

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So much nom!

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  1. Yum! This looks amazing! I too detest food colouring so this is terrific! I haven't eaten a red velvet cake in ages because of that! Someday I will find time to bakes cakes again!

    1. try this recipe Jenn, it's great... I'm sure you'll have time when the boys are grown up.


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