This was a triple layered Red velvet cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting, which I made for the 17 year old daughter of my friend.
Are you wondering what John Donne and Red velvet cakes have in common? Nothing really!
I did not find an obscure recipe book in the dusty archives of the National Library of Singapore (ok, I don’t think the NLS would even be permitted to be dusty) that had a fabulous recipe for an American RV cake, written by John Donne in the spare moments when he wasn’t writing metaphysical poetry. So what’s the connection?
As a passionate baker, while I have my favourite tried-and-tested recipes, I love reading cookbooks and food blogs. And I love trying out something from each of them. Each blog that I read inspires me to create something new! So, no woman is an island. Our cooking and baking would be very static and monotonous if we didn’t have constant influences and reinventions.
I’ve always balked at making RV cakes, wondering what those quantities of red food colouring do to your insides!
Enter my lovely friend Jacquee of isugarcoatit. From Jacquee, I first heard about cocoa rouge. From Rosie of Sweetapolita I borrowed a recipe for her perfectly perfected RV cake, and from Rachel of Loving Home Made her delicious white chocolate and cream cheese frosting.
These three ladies helped me create a wonderful RV cake with red cocoa powder in place of copious amounts of red food colouring, with an almost cheesecake-like filling and frosting. Absolutely to die for!
So here goes.
For the Cake:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons Guittard’s cocoa rouge /red cocoa powder
3-4 drops red gel paste
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups buttermilk, warm
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans, line with parchment rounds, and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugars, and red gel paste on medium-high speed until lighter in color and slightly increased in volume, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Add the salt to the dry ingredients after sifting, and whisk dry ingredients. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated, or finish by hand gently. Fold in mayonnaise.
In a small cup or bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda until it fizzes, then quickly add the batter and whisk until blended.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. This ensures even layers. Smooth with small offset palette knife, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Try not to over-bake.
Let pans cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks, gently, peeling away parchment rounds. Let cool completely.
Frosting and Filling:
300g white chocolate
1 pkg cream cheese
1 cup butter, softened
Melt the white chocolate carefully over a bowl of boiling water or in the microwave. Beat the cream cheese, add the softened butter and mix well.
Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and beat well until fully incorporated.
Sandwich the three cakes together with the icing and then cover the top and sides with the remainder. Decorate the top as you wish!
And as for John Donne, he knew what he was talking about almost 4 centuries ago….
No Man Is An Island
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.