I was recently asked if I could make a red velvet cake with black icing and not one to turn down a challenge, I accepted.
It was for a friend of mine’s blog (Death & the Maiden) and I used cream cheese frosting, black on the outside and white inside to give a good colour contrast.
To make sure the colour is really vibrant, and the food colouring doesn’t add too much liquid to the cake mix, use a colour paste (I used an entire pot of red and black) which you can buy from a cake supply shop (or Amazon).
This one was with an 8 inch cake tin…
250g self raising flour
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
75g cocoa powder
1tsp white wine vinegar
1tsp baking powder
One small tube of red food colouring paste
For the icing:
125g unsalted butter, very soft
125g full fat cream cheese
500g icing sugar
Small pot of black colouring paste
How to make…
Preheat the oven to 190C/180 fan/Gas 4 and line two 8inch cake tins with parchment paper.
Mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and doubled in size, around three minutes with an electric whisker or five without.
If using an electric mixer make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly so all the ingredients are well mixed in. Add in the eggs one at a time (if the mixture curdles throw in a tablespoon of the flour inbetween eggs) until the mixture is completely combined. Then add the vinegar.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into the mixture and carry on stirring until everything is combined. As you’re mixing, slowly pour in the buttercream, and when the entire mixture is combined, pour into the two baking tins.
Try and make the tins as equal as possible and then bash the tins a few times on a hard surface to remove any air bubbles.
Next pop them into the oven for 25-30 minutes. The sponges are done once they spring back when you gently press them, or a sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
While you’re waiting for the cakes to cool make your icing. Beat together the butter and cream cheese for a minute and then add the icing sugar.
The icing needs to be thick – like soft butter – and the longer you beat it for the smoother it will become, around five minutes with an electric mixer.
Set aside enough icing for the middle of the cake (around three large tablespoons) and then add the food colouring (you may need to throw in a tablespoon of milk if it looks too thick).
When the cakes are cold, pile them on top of one another, with the white icing in the middle and then cover the entire cake with the black buttercream in a thin layer. Pop this into the fridge for an hour and then cover the cake with another layer of buttercream.
If you’re short on time you can skip this stage but it will make the final cake look a lot better and smoother.
When the cake is covered, use a spatula to smooth the sides and cover up any bits where the cake is peeking through.
Set aside until you need it, before serving pile on whatever you fancy, or you could leave it plain.