Red Velvet Cake has a long and somewhat controversial history. From what i understand, back in the day it was purely known as Velvet Cake due to its super soft consistency. Some people say that the subtle hint of Cocoa, a red Cocoa, unalkalinised and in combination with acidity caused a slight red appearance- hence red velvet cake. Other people say that during the depression in the US, a food colouring company popularised the Red Velvet Cake using food colouring in order to sell lots of said food colouring.
I really don’t like food colouring, especially red. Red Velvet Cake needs several TABLESPOONS of the nasty stuff to get it red. How can that be good for you? So I found this recipe that used Beetroot for the redness. It won’t go quite as red as with food colouring obviously, but it’s pretty close. It’s quite novel using Beetroot in a cake, you couldn’t even pick it in there 🙂
I have tried this recipe with Canned Beetroot too, but oven roasted Beetroot if far superior in colour.
I have made this recipe as both cupcakes and as a layer cake. I recommend it as cupcakes, as the glossy baked outside of the cake is much redder than the inside and it looks more like red velvet this way. However it’s hard to go past a good old multi-layer cream cheese frosted Red Velvet Cake, and let’s be honest- it’s all about the cream cheese frosting anyway, right?
Cake Flour: If you have it, great. If not, it’s very easy to substitute. Basically for every 1 Cup of Plain flour you want to remove 2 Tablespoons, and replace this with 2 Tablespoons of Cornflour. Cake flour gives the super soft and smoothness to this cake.
I recommend triple sifting the flour in this recipe to get it as light and fluffy and velvety as possible 🙂
Make sure you do not cut the cake into horizontal layers until it is thoroughly chilled, or even lightly frozen. This will help prevent crumbling when cutting, and also prevent crumbing into the frosting.
In Australia’s heat, the Cream Cheese frosting may start to melt after beating for so long. Place it into the refrigerator to chill again before frosting the cake. Serve this cake chilled.
To use this recipe as cupcakes (12-16 minutes). As one large 9 inch cake (1 hr 20 mins approx), 2x20cm Sponge tins (50-60 mins approx).
- 3 Medium Beetroot
- 170 grams Unsalted Butter
- 3/4 cup Buttermilk (or add 1 1/2 Tablespoons Vinegar to the same amount of Milk)
- 2 teaspoons White Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups Sifted Plain Flour (Sifted before measuring) (then remove 4 Tablespoons of this)
- 4 Tablespoons Cornflour
- 3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder (Hersheys has a nice red colour)- do not use any extra
- 1 1/8 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Bi-Carb of Soda
- 1 3/4 Cup White Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 500 grams Cream Cheese
- 115 grams Unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
- 720 grams Pure Icing Sugar, sifted
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius, Fan Forced.
- Cut stems off the beetroot, wash thoroughly. Wrap each one in aluminium foil and bake in oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a skewer goes in without resistance.
- Once cooled, remove the skins and cut off any undesirable parts of the beetroot which may give an earthy flavour.
- Process, blend or use a stab mixer to make a puree. You will need 250 mls (1 cup) of this. Make the puree as fine as possible.
- Also with the oven at 160 degrees Celsius, Fan Forced, grease and line the bases of two 20cm sponge tins with baking paper.
- Stir the Beetroot Puree, Buttermilk, Vinegar and Vanilla together until smooth.
- In a large bowl, sift the Flour, Cornflour, Cocoa, Baking Powder, Salt and Bi-Carb together. Sift twice more. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides between each addition. Beat until fully incorporated and mixture is pale and creamy.
- Alternate beating in the beetroot mixture and the flour mixture in several stages, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake for 45-55 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean, this is really dependent on your oven. If making cupcakes- 12-16 minutes.
- Wait 5 minutes before removing cakes from tins, removing paper lining and leaving to cool.
- Wait until properly cooled before icing.
- Beat the Butter and Cream cheese together until smooth.
- Add the Salt and Vanilla. Beat at low speed and slowly add the sifted Pure Icing Sugar gradually, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Once fully incorporated beat on high for about 7 minutes until frosting is very white in colour and stiff. If too stiff, add a tablespoon or two of milk.
- Refrigerate until chilled.
- Place one layer of CHILLED cake on a plate. Trim off any dome to make it flat. Spread just over 1/3 of the frosting over the first layer.
- Place second layer on top and spread over the rest of the frosting, using a flat, round ended knife, spread the frosting over the top and sides being careful not to overwork and refrigerate until very cold.
- If you're game, you can make four layers for this cake.