Today is Edna's birthday. I brought Edna's cake into work on Friday so that she could enjoy it with everyone at work before her birthday. I asked around as to Edna's favourite cake flavour, and as it turns out, it's red velvet.
By good fortune, I had just bought Sweet and Vicious: Baking with Attitude by Libbie Summers. This book is awesome - just take a look at the video here. It has hot pink tipped pages, a sassy cover, fabulous photographs and great stories, not to mention recipes that are a little different. This book is my kind of cookbook! Libbie happened to include a recipe for Best. Ever. Red Velvet Cake, which she makes for her now husband as it is his favourite cake. Perfect!!! This had to be the cake for Edna.
Libbie says that her secret weapon in this cake is using vanilla sugar. She also says that she has cut down on the amount of sugar in the cake and frosting from the traditional red velvet recipes so that you end up with a tangy cake that is not overly sweet. Libbie's assessment of this cake was confirmed by Edna, who loved that it was not overly sweet. The only changes that I made to the recipe were that I used three quarters of a teaspoon of red gel colouring rather than using liquid colouring, and that I only made one third of the cream cheese frosting - and that was heaps to frost the double layer cake. (Note also that I never buy buttermilk - for each cup of milk add one tablespoon of lemon juice to curdle it. I also make my own cake flour by putting 2 tablespoons of cornflour in a one cup measuring cup, then fill it up with flour - and voila, cake flour.)
Here are the cakes pre-frosting:
Next comes the crumb layer of frosting:
The gel pen gave me grief by squirting unevenly - at one stage I had to scrape off the writing because it was so messy, and this unfortunately left a faint red stain in the frosting. No matter - I was happy with the overall result, and there were no complaints from Edna about it.
Here's my slice of cake which Edna kindly saved for me:
I really enjoyed this cake too - it is as smooth as silk, not overly sweet, and the tangy frosting makes a nice contrast to the cake itself. This cake is seriously yum - I can see why Libbie's husband loves it.
If you would like the recipe, I seriously recommend buying Libbie's book - it is truly fabulous, and well off the beaten track of your typical baking book.