Monday 28 January 2013

Red Velvet Cake

"I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness, and to have the patience that love demands. To speak when words are needed, and to share the silence when they're not. To agree to disagree on red velvet cake, and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home." 
- quote from the movie 'The vow '
Vivid and vibrant, this dramatic red cake with clouds of snowy white icing has always mesmerized me. Just the very name of the cake 'Red Velvet Cake', rolling off your tongue echoes its characteristic soft smoothy silkiness. 
With my parents celebrating their 46th Marriage Anniversary, I thought of no other cake, but this classic to be perfect to commemorate their years of togetherness. 
Searching the net I got a zilliion results, making me realize how popular the cake is. There were varied versions of the cake, some using butter and some others using oil. Some called for coffee, some for barely any cocoa and others a lot more. Though delicious in flavor, I have always found butter cakes to be a bit heavy, so I settled in for a recipe that used oil. For my recipe, I just read through various recipes and then decided to go with my instincts. Also, instead of the classic cream-cheese icing, (as it is difficult to get cream cheese in our vicinity) I used a half and half mix of hung curd and whipped cream. It worked really well for me and to an extent had the same tangy flavor and the consistency as the cream cheese. Moreover, the kids loved it!!
Scouring through the web, it was interesting to learn the history surrounding the origins of this popular cake. Perhaps the most interesting tale surrounding the origins involves the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City where the Red Velvet Cake was a popular dessert .It is believed that a lady who was a patron of this hotel requested the chef for the recipe, he sent it to her along with a bill of $350. She was so furious by this that she mailed the recipe out to hundreds of people in the form of chain-letter.That is why this cake is also known as Waldorf-Astoria Cake. Also, the popularity grew significantly after the film Steel Magnolias featured a red velvet armadillo groom’s cake in 1989. 
I think the controversies and legend attached to this cake, makes it even more interesting to try it out. My quest to find out "what makes this decadent cake so great" finally ended here with this recipe. 
The cake turned out perfectly moist and crumbly and the sweet-tangy icing perfectly complimented the cake. Cutting the cake almost takes your breath away, watching the devilish red color of the cake shine through underneath - a striking contrast to the angel - like white icing. 
The classic red and white combination of the cake makes it a popular choice to make at Christmas or Valentine day or just about any other day, you want to turn into a special one.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup buttermilk 
1 tbsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp red color.
For the icing:
500 gms hung curd 
500 gms whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350C. Prepare a 9" round tin, greasing and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs and the oil till well mixed.
Add in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla essence and red color. Mix at medium speed for 1-2 minutes till well combined.
(You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let this mixture stand 5 to 10 minutes before using)
Add the dry ingredients slowly and mix till fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into a prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely.

Once the cake has been cooled, keep it in the refrigerator or freezer before icing for an extra hour. This makes spreading the icing  much easier as the cake is quite soft and crumbly and tends to break when you spread the icing on the cake. In fact, you can even bake the cake the day before you need it and place it in the fridge overnight to firm up.

Once the cake has cooled completely, carefully cut the cake horizontally into two halves. 
Combine the hung curd and whipped cream till well mixed. 
(To make the hung curd, take two 500 gms cartons of store-bought yogurt. ( I used Mother Dairy.) Tie the yogurt tightly in a muslin cloth and leave it to hang for 6-7 hours till the water is drained out completely.)
Place the lower half  of the cake on a serving plate and generously spoon a thick layer of icing on it.
Cover with the other half. Next, cover the top and the sides of the cake with the remaining icing. Decorate with piped swirls and silver balls.
                                                                                                    Come live with me and be my love,

                                                                   And we will some new pleasures prove,
                                                           Of golden sands and crystal brooks,
                                                         With silken lines and silver hooks
                                                                        - John Donne


  1. hi thats was really lovely cake...lov ur deco....frst time here ...happi to follow u..glad if u do the same!

  2. Thanks Subhie for your lovely comments and thanks for the follow too!! would love to stop by your space too!!

  3. beautiful cake, mukta... have been following you for quite some time and love the way u do the recipes... :)

  4. Thanks Rafeeda !! I am so glad that you like my recipes!!

  5. Oh I am in the UK now and we have a oven here. I think I can make this. I will make sure I try.

  6. Sure! And do let me know how it turned out!

  7. lovely quote... lovely pic of the parents... and red velvet can never go wrong!

  8. Thanks Swati! Yes indeed the cake was absolutely delicious!!