It took some time, but good things take a while as a German phrase goes. I was busy – REALLY busy. But now I am getting closer to a final recipe YAY!!! Thus, I have, for the first time, baked an entire cake. And I still get my red tinge, faint, but there. However, it is not evenly distributed and appears strongest in a circle around the top of the cake. It may be the optimal temperature for the reaction? I will investigate this further and also add more raw cacao powder next time, but for now, see the cake.
I guess some people are disappointed about the low-level reddish hue (it really is just a tinge in the brown), but first of all, there is zero food colouring in it and second, it actually comes out in the photos a little less strong than in reality. On the finished decorated cake one could sort of guess better, with the contrast of the yellow icing. I have tried to take pictures in natural light, but it hasn’t helped much. Either way, I have not altered these two pictures at all and I’ve always asked my housemates for confirmation so it is a reddish-brown!
I wanted to test the two icings (#2 and #4 in Red Velvet Cake Quest IV) with more people and took the cake with two different icings (one in the middle, the other on the outside) to a gaming event. Everyone LOVED the cake, with one person feeling guilty of asking for a 3rd piece, but that’s OK – I’m pleased it was that great. I must admit, I think the wheat starch REALLY made it velvety. I honestly think this really changed the game in texture – it was so soft and velvety and soft and velvety (yeah – I know, I repeat myself, but that’s what I thought when making the crumbs). I was surprised how many people went for the cake that late as well – the game evening started at 6:30 pm and went on past 10 pm. The verdict – both icings have their fans, both are great. The roux one is a little more work, but really nice and soft and complements the soft and subtle flavours of the cake, while the cream cheese icing gives it more substance. A couple of people said both together work great! I will probably try out one more time with the changes stated below, then type down my recipe – MY version of a Red Velvet Cake!
Here now the current state of the experimental recipe, which I have changed again and it has come out really velvety (at least the crumbs I put on top felt really like velvet): I use a Rose’s White Velvet Cake base recipe, with lots of tweaks, since I want to get the without-added-food-colour ‘red’ velvet tinge going.
Ingredients for the Cake
- 100 g plain flour
- 200 g wheat starch (in Australia: wheaten cornflour)
- 360 g sugar (white)
- 7 g baking soda
- 6 tsp RAW cacao powder, NOT dutch processed
- 240 mL milk
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice (I may switch back to buttermilk and vinegar, but find the buttermilk here bitter)
- 1 vanilla bean scraping
- 170 mL oil, sunflower or other low taste
- 1 pinch of salt
- 5 egg whites
Sift and mix all dry ingredients VERY well apart from the salt. Then mix the milk with the lemon juice (to produce ‘sour milk’) and let it set for about 5 min. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with the salt until very stiff. Next, mix all the leftover liquid ingredients with the sour milk until well combined.
Alternatingly, fold a bit of liquid and a bit of sifted dry ingredients into the egg whites bit by bit until it forms a homogenous fluffy mass. Bake at 170 °C for about 50 min or until a skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool and cut into layers, cutting off the top and crumble (mine came up like a volcano, so I had to). When the icing is done, fill it between the layers and on top. Decorate with the crumbs from the volcano top (if you have one).
Sorry for the quality of the last two pictures – these ARE altered, since I did not have my camera and my mobile really hasn’t got a great camera, but it gives you an idea about the cake after cutting.
Next time, I will increase the sugar to 400 g and mix it into the liquid first. I will also add 3 more teaspoons of raw cacao powder, just to see. I will also reduce the baking soda, this time I accidentally added too much. On this cake, I have added icing #2 (Cream Hermine Icing, middle) and #4 (Cream Cheese Vanilla Slice ‘Frosting’, top of cake) of the previous experimental Red Velvet Cake Quest IV.