Velvet love

The first time I tried Red Velvet cake was at Elma’s in Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi. And since then, I have been an ardent lover of this delicacy. The most unique element of this cake is its Cream Cheese frosting. I have never quite seen this kind of frosting complimenting any other cake.

For those of you, who still don’t know what I am talking about, should look at the pictures. The Red Velvet cake has a bold red colour; thanks to Beetroot, its main ingredient. It is mostly topped with Cream Cheese frosting. Though there are many stories about its origin, some say it comes from South America while some say that North Americans baked it first! This rich and delicious cake is equally popular in Canada and is now making its way to the East. India is one such South Asian country where it is quickly garnering followers.

Although I have had this yummy sweet grub from quite a lot of places, it is difficult to get its trademark taste right. Unfortunately, it is not possible for me to exactly explain its taste but I’ll tell you this – It completely satisfies your taste buds. It is so soft that, if baked well, melts in your mouth. The frosting, however, is the best part. The cake and frosting go hand-in-hand and make this an unforgettable ‘Red Velvet’ experience.

Though I’m more of a foodie, I’ll share an easy-to-make recipe from a website. Have a dekho!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and place rack in centre of oven. Butter two – 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.

3. In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Just look at the frosting. It’s heavenly!

4. In a measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

5. In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

6. Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 -30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight). This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.

7. Next, in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the “heavy cream” and whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency. Remember that the cream whips easily to stiff peaks. If that doesn’t happen, then whip the heavy cream separately to stiff peaks and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.

8. With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half, horizontally. You will now have four cake layers. Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Can garnish the cake with sweetened or unsweetened coconut.

Serves 10 – 12 people.

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