Cakes & Bakes: Natural red velvet layer cake

Slice of home-made natural red velvet layer cake | H is for Home #recipe #cake #redvelvet

I’ve made & posted a version of red velvet cake on the blog before. Today, I’ve used an alternative recipe to produce a natural red velvet layer cake.

Ziplock bags of un-Dutched cacao powder and beetroot powder | H is for Home

I’ve done a lot of research into getting that bright red colour naturally. Beetroot powder instead of red food colouring and un-dutched cocoa powder instead of the usual alkalised type found more usually in the shops.

Plain flour, un-Dutched cacao powder and beetroot powder | H is for Home

You see, this cake is all about chemistry. It’s the pH magic that’s created when the acid of the non-alkaline cocoa powder, the buttermilk and the vinegar are introduced to the bicarbonate of soda. As an aside, our local supermarket was out of buttermilk so I had to make my own. It’s really simple and a good tip to remember. Add a tablespoonful of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup (235ml/8⅓fl oz) of milk, allow to stand for 5 minutes – there’s your home-made buttermilk!

Natural red velvet layer cake batter in cake tins | H is for Home Cooked natural red velvet layer cakes in cake tins | H is for Home

The cake wasn’t the radioactive shade of red that you get when using food colouring. I think I’d add a little bit more beetroot powder next time to get a slightly redder shade however – my natural red velvet recipe is work in progress! Some people comment on an ‘earthy’ taste to their cake when using beetroot, but I can’t say I noticed any. A delicious taste was detected that’s for sure!

Home-made natural red velvet layer cake | H is for Home

Click here to save this recipe to Pinterest!

Natural red velvet layer cake
For the cake
  1. 200g/7oz unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  2. 420g/15oz plain flour
  3. 75g/2¾oz cocoa powder
  4. 50g/1¾oz beetroot powder
  5. 375g/13oz golden caster sugar
  6. 3 eggs, beaten
  7. 1½tsp vanilla extract
  8. 335ml/11¾ fl oz buttermilk
  9. 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  10. 1½tsp white distilled vinegar
For the frosting
  1. 75g/2¾oz unsalted butter, slightly softened
  2. 450g/1lb icing sugar
  3. 190g/6¾oz full-fat cream cheese, chilled
  4. 1tsp vanilla extractHome-made natural red velvet layer cake ingredients
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For the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease 4 x 20cm sandwich tins and line with baking parchment
  3. Combine the flour, cocoa and beetroot powder in a large bowl and set aside
  4. In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together
  5. Slowly whisk in the beaten eggs, then the vanilla extract
  6. Start adding the flour mixture to the butter mixture in batches, whisking well but slowly after each addition
  7. Add the buttermilk and stir until smooth
  8. Working quickly, combine the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in a small bowl, then fold it into the cake mixture
  9. Once incorporated, divide the batter between the prepared cake tins
  10. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean
  11. Remove and cool slightly in the tin before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely
  12. Trim the cakes so they're level
For the frosting
  1. Rub the butter into the icing sugar to resemble fine breadcrumbs
  2. Add the chilled cream cheese and beat until smooth
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract
  4. Fit a large piping bag with a plain nozzle and fill with the frosting
  5. Place the first cake on a cake stand or plate and pipe large pearls of frosting on the top, starting at the outside and working your way inwards
  6. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat until all the layers are lined up and the top is fully decorated with frosting
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Yellow layer cake with buttercream icing

Slice of home-made yellow layer cake | H is for Home

Our neighbours have gone on holiday this week and have asked me to look after their chickens again. They have about twice as many chickens as they did last time… so that means twice as many eggs every day.

Separated eggs | H is for Home

I’ve been looking into recipes where you use lots of just yolks and just whites – as I don’t like to waste half the eggs. I found a couple of recipes by Rose Levy Beranbaum that fit the bill. I’ll be attempting her favourite yellow layer cake this week.

Flour, butter & sugar in a food mixer bowl | H is for Home

I decided to make the yolks-only cake first as I discovered, on my online travels, that egg whites can be easily and successfully frozen for use at a later date. Yolks take a little more effort. The yellow layer cake I made today – as you’ve probably deduced – uses just egg yolks.

Yellow layer cake batter in an orange vintage Kenwood food mixer | H is for Home

It also uses bleached cake flour, something you don’t tend to find in supermarkets here in the UK. I took a lengthy detour on the website of Rose’s Devon-based friend, Kate Coldrick, who shows you in great detail how to make your own substitute.

Yellow layer cake batter in a round baking tin | H is for Home Yellow layer cake cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

I followed both Rose’s and Kate’s instructions almost to the letter, hoping that I’d produce a cake like never before.

Yellow layer cake sliced in half horizontally | H is for Home Yellow layer cake with buttercream icing in the centre and on the top | H is for Home

The sponge was light & airy and the texture was crumbly. I teamed it with a vanilla buttercream icing which complements, not overpowers the flavour.

Detail of a yellow layer cake with buttercream icing | H is for home

Stay tuned next week Thursday for my egg white recipe! Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Yellow layer cake recipe | H is for Home

Yellow layer cake with buttercream icing
Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
For the cake
  1. 4 large egg yolks
  2. 160g/5½oz sour cream
  3. 1½tsp vanilla extract
  4. 200g/7oz bleached cake flour*
  5. ½tsp baking powder
  6. ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  7. 200g/7oz caster sugar
  8. ¼tsp salt
  9. 170g/6oz butter, softened
For the icing
  1. 250g/9oz butter, softened
  2. ½tsp vanilla extract
  3. 300g/10½oz icing sugar
  4. 1tbsp milk
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For the cake
  1. Grease a 23cm/9-inch spring-form cake tin then line it with parchment paper
  2. 20 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, lightly combine the yolks, about ¼ of the sour cream and the vanilla
  4. In a stand mixer bowl, with paddle attachment, combine the cake flour, caster sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt
  5. Mix on a low speed for 30 seconds to blend
  6. Add the butter and the remaining sour cream and mix on a low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened
  7. Increase to medium speed, or high speed if using a hand held mixer and beat for 1 minute to aerate and develop the structure
  8. Scrape down the sides
  9. Gradually add the egg mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition until fully incorporated
  10. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes away clean and it springs back when pressed lightly in the centre
  11. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes
  12. Loosen the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula, and remove the sides of the spring-form tin
  13. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and flip it again onto a second rack it so that the top faces up
  14. Allow to cool completely before slicing in half horizontally and icing the middle and top
For the icing
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and vanilla essence
  2. Blend in the icing sugar, a quarter at a time, beating well after each addition
  3. Beat in the milk and continue mixing until light and fluffy
  4. Keep the icing covered until ready to use
Notes
  1. *If like me you're based in the UK and find it hard to find bleached cake flour in the shops, have a look at Kate Coldrick's meticulous method to make your own version
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Adapted from The Baking Bible
Adapted from The Baking Bible
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/