Nothing says happy birthday quite like a cake and nothing makes my heart sing more than a cake with layers. Imagine my delight at a cake with layers and food colouring! Before I even conceived making this red velvet cake for a colleague's birthday, I'd been wanting to make red velvet cupcakes and fell in love with Nigella Lawson's recipe in her book 'Kitchen'.
The maiden baking of these beauties took place to commiserate the resignation of a colleague. Cake makes everything better! Rich, chocolately cake and cream cheese icing. Need I say more? If you'd like to try these lovely morsels and you don't have Nigella's book, the recipe is here.
With another colleagues birthday approaching, I took heed when she exclaimed over the delights of red velvet. As delightful as cupcakes are, especially these ones, a full-sized cake seems in order for a birthday so I just had to combine these two ideas, didn't I? Plus I got to make layers, so everyone was happy.
Red Velvet Layer Cake
Inspired by a recipe from The Australian Women's Weekly book Afternoon Tea
125g butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp red food colouring
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1.Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two 22cm round cake tins.
2.Beat butter, vanilla, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.
3.Stir in sifted flours, cocoa and the combined buttermilk and food colouring, in two batches.
4.Combine vinegar and bicarbonate soda, allow it to fizz, and then fold into the cake mixture.
5.Divide the mixture into two pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Once cool, wrap cakes or place in a plastic container and freeze for half an hour (or refridgerate for a couple of hours - this helps reduce crumbling when you cut the cakes).
6. Make cream cheese icing (below).
7. Cut cakes in half horizontally. Spread one-fifth of cream cheese icing between each layer, saving two-fifths to spread over the top and sides.
Cream cheese icing
250g cream cheese
60g butter, at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
300ml thickened cream
Beat cream cheese and butter until well combined, then add sugar and vanilla until smooth. Finally, beat in the cream.