Red velvet, originally a classic southern-American recipe, is a superb chocolate cake alternative, something a little different and is perfect for the festive season. Here we share Georgina Hayden's "fail-safe" recipe.
RED VELVET CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING
Serves 12 to 16
250g plain flour 1 ¼ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda 40g cocoa powder 240ml vegetable oil (or any flavourless oil) 300g golden granulated sugar 2 large free-range eggs 2 tablespoons red food colouring ½ tablespoon good quality vanilla extract 100ml freshly brewed coffee, cooled 240ml buttermilk ½ tablespoon white wine vinegar 175g unsalted butter, at room temperature 400g icing sugar 300g full-fat cream cheese
1- Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350F/gas 4. Grease 3 x 8” sandwich tins and line the bases.
2- Sift the flour, ½ teaspoon of fine salt, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa into a large bowl and leave to one side.
3- Pour the oil into the bowl of a freestanding mixer and add the granulated sugar. Gently beat together for a couple of minutes, until pale.
4- Add the eggs, beating them in one at a time, and then mix in the red food colouring and vanilla extract.
5- Spoon in ⅓ of the sifted flour mixture, and mix together. Mix together the cooled coffee and buttermilk, and add half to the mixing bowl. Beat it in, then beat in half the remaining flour.
6- Stir the white wine vinegar into the remaining buttermilk and pour it into the cake mixture. Beat it in well and finish by folding in the last of the flour.
7- Beat everything together well, then evenly divide between the tins. Bake in the oven for around 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. (If your cakes are a little domed, that’s great, slice off the excess sponge and keep it for decorating later).
8- To make the cream cheese frosting, cut the butter into chunks and place into the bowl of the freestanding mixer (or use a mixing bowl and electric whisk), and beat with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes until very pale and creamy. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl in 3 stages, beating it well in between until smooth.
9- Drain any excess liquid off the cream cheese – I spoon it into a sieve to drain it completely. When all the icing sugar has been incorporated, spoon a large tablespoon of the cream cheese into the bowl and beat it in, scraping the mixture off of the sides as you go. Add half of the remaining cream cheese, beat it in for 30 seconds, scrape the sides of the bowl again and add the remaining cream cheese.
10- Beat rigorously for a minute or two. It’ll look like liquid at first, then it’ll come together and appear light and whipped. Be careful not to beat the icing too much though, otherwise it will end up runny again. Spoon into a bowl and pop into the fridge for half an hour to firm up a little.
11- Dot a teaspoonful of the cream cheese icing onto your chosen cake stand or board and top with one of the cakes. Dollop a couple of large spoonfuls of icing into the middle of the cake and evenly spread it to the edges, leaving a bit of a border, as it’ll ooze a little when you place the next sponge on top.
12- Keep going until all the sponges have been layered up and finish by decorating with the remaining icing. I like to have a scant layer around the outside, so that you see all the layers through, but apply it as thickly as you like (make extra if you want to finish it with a piped pattern).
13- Decorate by crumbling up any offcuts of the sponge, then sprinkle around the top edge of the cake.Or add some fresh fruits.
Model: Ginebra Canas
Recipe: Georgina Hayden from Jamie Oliver's team
Ginebra wears: Custom made Ginny Jumper (custom made), Esther Black headband, Miranda headband, Esther headband in natural