There are a few things in life that will always make me happy. Always. Number one: cake.
Actually, I REALLY like sweets in general. So, when I hear that someone isn’t a “dessert person”, I just don’t understand. How can you not like cake? Cookies? Macarons? Ice cream? Ice cream with apple pie? Brownies? Croissants?… please, stop me any time for I’ll go on, and on… (PRALINES!?)
One of these poor lost souls happens to be a great friend of mine. She just isn’t a dessert girl. I don’t get it, but since she’s an exceptional person, I’m going out of my way to understand. One of the rare deviations from this part of her otherwise lovely person is red velvet cake. She digs it. That’s acceptable. I like red velvet cake… BUT, making red velvet cake has always intimidated me. I’m not quite sure why? It may have something to do with the fact that in order to make it REALLY red, you have to use abnormal levels of red food colouring… something that gives me minor heart palpitations. That’s probably it. Plus, I think I’ve tired to make it before, and it just didn’t turn out too well.
Deep breaths. I can try again. For her. For her birthday.
In order to cope with the food colouring crisis, I’m using beet juice. Yep. Beet juice. I just can’t do it. I’m sorry. The cake didn’t turn out RED red, so if you don’t have moral complications with a fourth of a cup of red food colouring, I would definitely recommend that (I won’t even judge you!). The cake turned out looking like chocolate, with a hint of red. Probably not the look that one goes for with “red” velvet cake, but just pretend you’re eating a vegetable instead of cake… and I’m sure you’ll get over it. Quickly.
Vegan red velvet cake – what you need:
- 2 ¾ cups of all purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/4 cup of beet juice (alternatively, for a REDREDRED red velvet, use red food colouring)
Red Velvet Cake – What you do:
Preheat an oven to 180c. With vegan margarine, grease two cake pans, then dust lightly with flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
Add the coconut milk, oil, vanilla, and beet juice until blended. Add the vinegar until blended.
Evenly separate into the two prepared cake pans and tap lightly on your counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
Bake at an 180c oven for 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to sit for five minutes, and then run a knife around the edge of the cake in the pan. Turn over the cakes onto cooling racks and let them cool completely.
Now we get to the tricky part: the frosting. Ok, well… you could use the vanilla-coconut frosting from the vegan vanilla cupcakes recipe. That would work. If you’re not vegan, then I would recommend the typical cream cheese frosting vibe. Delicious. I hear that you can get vegan cream cheese, and as soon as I find this little treasure, I’ll whip some up vegan cream cheese frosting and share… but it’s extremely tricky to find these ingredients in Paris, so for now I’ll just share with you a standard cream cheese frosting recipe. Acceptable? I hope so.
This frosting comes from FoodNetwork’s Ina Garten. If you don’t know about this fantastic woman, get involved! She is great. (And this cake that the frosting is originally made for is BY FAR the best thing I have EVER baked. I recommend this recipe!)
Cream cheese frosting – What you need:
- 450 grams of confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 340 grams of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 225 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature
Cream cheese frosting – what you do:
With an electric mixer (or your biceps), mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.
In the end, everyone partied way too hard on Friday night to make it to cake-and-wine night on Saturday. But, umm, I had cake, and I had wine (along with some amazing girlfriends!)… so, I don’t realllly think you’re going to hear me complaining.
(P.S. This is beet juice… not wine.)
Baking soundtrack: Tunes to inspire your inner baker.
Medeski, Martin, & Wood – End of the World Party: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHlWOs6Ca50
Bedouin Soundclash – When the Night Feels My Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zvBD3CsI0M