KILLER RED VELVET CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

For the sponges:

  • 150ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing

  • 250g plain flour

  • 1 tbsp Islands cocoa powder

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • 280g light brown soft sugar

  • Half tsp fine salt

  • 200ml buttermilk

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 15ml red food colouring gel (we used Dr Oetker – a natural liquid colouring will not work)

  • 2 large eggs

For the icing:

  • 125g pack slightly salted butter, at room temperature

  • 375g icing sugar

  • 175g tub full-fat cream cheese

  • Half tsp vanilla extract

Decoration:

  • 60g 75% Islands chocolate (grated and sprinkled on top)

METHOD:

  • Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment – if your cake tins are quite shallow, line the sides to a depth of at least 5cm.

  • Put 250g flour, 1 tbsp Islands cocoa powder, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 280g light brown soft sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix well. If there are any lumps in the sugar, squeeze these through your fingers to break them up.

  • Mix 200ml buttermilk, 150ml oil, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 100ml water and 15ml food colouring in a jug. Add 2 eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the two tins, and bake for 25-30 mins, or until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool.

  • These sponges can be made up to three days ahead and will stay moist if wrapped in cling film, or you can wrap well and freeze for up to two months.

  • To make the icing, put the butter in a large bowl and sieve in half the icing sugar. Roughly mash together with a spatula, then whizz with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the cream cheese and vanilla, sieve in the remaining icing sugar, mash together again, then blend once more with the hand mixer.

  • To assemble the cake, stick one of your sponges to a cake stand or board with a little of the cream cheese icing. Use roughly half the icing to stick the cakes together, spreading a generous amount between each layer. Pile the remaining icing on top of the assembled cake, and use a palette knife to ease it over the edges, covering the entire surface of the cake. Tidy the plate with a piece of kitchen paper. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days, but bring back to room temperature for an hour or so before eating.


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