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For the love of Cake

I really like cake. I love cake. I love making cake, I love eating cake and I love looking at pretty cakes – although not necessarily in that order (the love of eating cake is first). One of my favourite shows, Chasing Life, came back on tv the other night. It’s a great show but has the downside of making me cry nearly every week. So I thought it pertinent to have something comforting to stuff my face with while I drowned in my tears, which came in the closing scenes of the episode. I had few ingredients to in the house to make something and I didn’t think to buy some chocolate for myself. So I jumped on the interwebs and looked for a recipe for a mugcake – you know, those cakes you cook in microwave? Long story short, I made one, I ate it, I soaked up my tears with it. Ever since then, I’ve been wanting a real cake. As great as the mugcake was, it just wasn’t the same as eating a crumby cake covered in icing.

So I thought what better way to soothe my cake cravings than a Red Velvet cake, smothered in smooth cream cheese icing. Nothing beats red velvet, and the smell of that chocolatey goodness wafting from the oven as it bakes, makes the whole baking/eating experience even more heavenly. I topped it off with some strawberries and blackberries that were (thankfully) on special at my local supermarket. Berries on top are optional, but they work really well in balancing out the sweetness of the cake – and the best thing is that with most berries being quite tart, you can use whatever happens to be your favourite. Cherries would work just as well.

The recipe below is for one cake layer. As the mixture isn’t one that rises a whole lot, I doubled the recipe for the cake batter and the cream cheese icing, and made two cakes so that I finished up with a double layer cake. But you could definitely just make the one cake and slice it in half (I’m terrible at that though, hence the making of two cakes).

Finally, if you love love and you’re into Valentines Day, this cake would be great as a dessert on the upcoming festival of love. But you don’t need to have a significant other to share it with – make it for yourself and revel in the fact that you don’t have to share it with anyone. Because really, it’s pretty damn tasty and the more for yourself, the better (although I’d recommend going with the single cake option otherwise you might die of cake).

Recipe – Prep time about 30 minutes, baking time 40 minutes (depending on your oven). Serves as many people as you will allow to eat it. IMG_6288

  • 1 ¼ cups plain flour
  • ½teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 60ml red food colouring
  • 60g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

Cream cheese icing

  • 250g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 60g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 150˚C fan forced (170˚C if using a conventional oven). Grease and line a 25cm springform cake tin.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside
  3. In a small bowl, mix food colouring and cocoa powder until it forms a smooth paste.
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the egg, then add the vanilla and the red cocoa paste. Make sure you scrape the bowl down frequently with a spatula to make sure that everything is mixed in properly. Add one-third of the flour mixture, beat well and then beat in half the buttermilk. Beat in another third of the flour, then the rest of the buttermilk. End with the rest of the flour mixture and beat well until combined, making sure that you are still regularly scraping down the bowl.
  6. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine.
  7. Spoon cake mixture into cake tin and bake in oven for around 40 minutes. Cooking time will vary between ovens, but cake will be cooked when a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  8. Once cooked, leave to stand in tin for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool completely on a cake rack.
  9. Icing. With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  10. Reduce the speed to low and blend in icing sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. Then ice cake as desired!





  1. Pingback: Book Review – ‘The Violet Bakery Cookbook’ by Claire Ptak | bitsnbooks

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