Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Red Velvet Cake (with natural colouring and no saturated fat)

The final, and delicious, outcome

I posted a few days ago that I was making a Red Velvet Cake based on the recipe and science on bakecakery.com (I wanted to make it as a sheet cake like Pioneer Woman's recipe, as it would take less frosting i.e. healthier, be easier to eat i.e. hand to mouth, and hers looks so pretty.)

Some of the comments claimed that their cake was not red enough.  The author states that the acid in the lemon juice deepens the redness; I also omitted the alkaline bicarbonate of soda, leaving in the baking powder as this contains both acid and alkali which I hoped would balance itself out. There were pointers in the comments regarding the cocoa creating a browner cake and that original red velvet took less cocoa; I reduced this also, augmenting the flour to make up the solids ratio.  These experiments make a great lesson for kids without realising they are learning scientific concepts!

Oil instead of butter and eggs is not only cheaper and has less saturated fat, it always seems to help a cake keep and often improve up to a week.   The texture is usually lighter and fluffier with a moist moreish crumb.  However, when making this recipe up, I realised that without the eggs the batter was too liquid despite replacing a little of the plain flour with cornflour.

It turned out a deep red brownie-like cake, which was not unpleasant still very warm with vanilla ice cream.  Unfortunately, as it cooled, it acquired a set jelly texture and strong beetroot flavour which was not so pleasant...

So, I mashed up the science and my own recipe which gave us the gorgeous cake pictured above.

The recipe we used

For the cake:

150g cooked beetroot (I used the vac-packed ready-cooked stuff)
4 tbsp. lemon juice
250g self raising flour
30g cocoa
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
200g granulated sugar
100ml rapeseed oil
100ml milk (we used sweetened soya)

For the icing:

100g cream cheese (we used Tesco brand soya cream cheese)
50g vegetable oil spread (I like to use Pure for the neutral taste)
400g icing sugar

Puree the beetroot with the lemon juice until very smooth. Mix in the remaining cake ingredients until well amalgamated and thickened. Turn into a lined rectangular tin - I like to use a silicon baking tray.  Bake at 180C for 30 minutes.  Take out of the oven and cool in the tray on a wire rack. When completely cool, beat the icing ingredients together and spread evenly over the cake. This seems to stay best in the fridge to keep the frosting nice.

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