A few weeks ago, we celebrated my sister Shelby's 18th birthday, an occasion which obviously called for an awesome cake. Shelby chose red velvet, which I was excited about because it's one type of cake I've never made and have been wanting to try for a while. So, I consulted Bakerella, my go-to resource for cakes, and found a great recipe.
For those of you who are not familiar with red velvet cake, it's a type of chocolate cake made with cocoa powder and lots of red food dye, which gives it its signature crimson color. Red velvet cake is traditionally paired with cream cheese frosting.
A few months ago, I had noticed a beautiful cake on foodgawker that caught my eye because it was covered completely in icing roses. I had been itching to try the technique ever since and it seemed like the perfect way to make the cake really special. Most icing roses are made using buttercream frosting because it is less creamy than cream cheese frosting and tends to hold its shape better, but I scoured All Recipes for a cream cheese frosting recipe that was recommended for piping and found one that seemed promising.
Overall, I was extremely pleased with the results. The cake was amazing. It was incredibly moist and the perfect shade of red. The frosting was deliciously creamy, but still managed to hold its shape, and making icing roses turned out to be really simple. All you really need is a pastry bag equipped with a large open star tip. I found the instructions on how to make icing roses slightly confusing, so I decided to include a quick video tutorial on how to assemble a pastry bag and make the roses, see below. I hope this is helpful!
|Happy Birthday, Shelbs!|
Thanks to my mom and Shelby for all the baking and photography help.
Red Velvet Rose Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 cups oil, I used canola
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz. red food coloring
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Large pastry bag
1M tip (or any other large open star tip)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and whisk until blended. Set aside.
Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Mix with a wire whisk until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high until completely combined, about one minute.
Divide batter equally among the two cake pans (I like to pour all my batter into measuring cups to see how much I have and then divide it exactly, but obviously not necessary). Drop pans onto the counter from about 3-inches up to release any air bubbles. Repeat twice.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
To remove cakes from pans, first, run a knife around the perimeter of each cake to separate it from the pan. Place a layer of plastic wrap on top and a wire rack on top of the plastic wrap. Holding the pan and rack together, flip so that the cake comes out of the pan onto the rack. Jiggle the pan to loosen the cake and remove. Wrap cake in plastic to retain moisture.
Allow cakes to cool completely on wire racks. While you are waiting, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix. Gradually mix in the confectioner's sugar. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes prior to using. Keep any frosting you are not using covered in the fridge.
Place one of the cakes on the plate or platter you intend to use. Using a large serrated knife, level off the top of the cake so that it is entirely flat (note: if you already have a flat cake ignore this step). Apply a layer of icing to the top of the first cake. This will be the icing between your two layers, so with that in mind apply more or less icing depending on how much frosting you like.
Place the second cake on top of the first, making sure the two are properly aligned. Then, apply the crumb layer. A crumb layer is a thin layer of frosting you apply to a cake to hold in the crumbs, so that the final product is beautiful and crumb-free. Wait for the crumb layer to dry before applying the icing roses.
|Apply a crumb layer to lock in any stray crumbs for a beautiful, flawless final product|
To apply the icing roses, assemble the pastry bag, fill with frosting and make the roses as directed in the tutorial video below. Do not put too much frosting in the pastry bag at a time, as your hands will warm it and it will not hold its shape well, aka sad droopy looking roses.
Icing Roses Tutorial from Casey North on Vimeo.
Begin with the circumference of the cake. Start in the center of the rose. Apply constant firm pressure on the pastry bag and begin to loop around the center point tightly. Try to finish each rose in the same place, e.g. at the bottom of the cake. You will do a different number of rotations around the center depending on the size you want your rose to be. I did two rotations.
If you're unhappy with how a rose turns out, just scrape it off, smooth the icing and start over again. I suggest playing around with the roses on a sheet of wax/parchment paper before starting to work on the cake.
When you're done with the circumference, repeat the process on the top of the cake. I recommend placing the first rose in the center of the cake and working out in a circular fashion. If you are left with some dead space when you finish. Try filling the space with a swoop of frosting going in the same direction as the nearest rose.
Refrigerate the cake as soon as finished to ensure the roses hold their shape. If refrigerated, this cake is good for several days after it's made.
Source: adapted from Bakerella (cake), All Recipes (frosting) & I Am Baker (icing roses)