For me, the inspiration to bake usually stems from an upcoming occasion, a sudden craving or from leafing through recipe books but the motivating factor behind this cake was a little different. Following the recent purchase of a Nordic Ware Party Bundt Tin, I was eager to give its classic curves and pronounced ridges a whirl.
Pair this with a perpetual itching to celebrate any and all occasions and a Valentine’s Red Velvet Bundt seemed like the obvious outcome. Forgoing passé hearts and indulgent lashings of chocolate ganache, this cake bucks the tired V-day clichés in favour of freeze-dried raspberries, a smooth cream cheese icing and delicate marriage of cocoa and vanilla.
Starting with Bon Appetit’s red velvet cake, I shunned the recipe’s intended layer cake format to utilise my newfound Bundt potential. Seeking icing that would cascade down its crevices, I replaced Bon Appetit’s thick frosting with a thinner icing by Erren’s Kitchen.
The resulting cake was fluffy and not-too-sweet, offset beautifully by a rich icing and tart freeze-dried raspberries. As the Bon Appetit cake was intended to rise in two 9-inch round cake tins, the Bundt rose dramatically and had to be levelled significantly to avoid rolling around on the board.
An equal ratio of cream cheese and butter made for a deep, velvety frosting that beautifully contrasts the cake’s slight crumble. This results in a very balanced flavour profile, which (fair warning) may have you going back for seconds or even thirds.
When it comes to any red velvet cake, the million-dollar question is always colour related: does the cake have that infamous red hue? In this case, the Bundt had a discernibly rouge tint but an extra splash of food colouring wouldn’t have gone astray.
Where the original recipe called for a full tablespoon of red food colouring, I was modest in my approach an instead used 12 drops. If you are looking for a vibrant red cake, I would recommend going the whole nine yards and upping the ante on the dye.
– 315 g sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
– 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– ½ tsp salt
– 225 g buttermilk, room temperature
– 12 drops red gel food colouring
– 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 150 g sugar
– 113 g unsalted butter, softened
– 2 large eggs, room temperature
– 155 g icing sugar
– 125 g butter, softened
– 125 g cream cheese, softened
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 4 Tbsp hot water
– 1/3 cup freeze-dried raspberries
1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Generously grease a 24 cm Bundt pan.
3. Triple sift the sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl.
4. Whisk buttermilk, food colouring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend.
5. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended.
6. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
7. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.
8. Bake for 32 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
10. In a clean bowl of an electric standing mixer, beat together the softened butter and cream cheese until smooth.
11. Add the sifted icing sugar ½ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
12. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of hot water, mix until combined and the water no longer seems separate from the butter and cream cheese mixture.
13. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition, until a custard consistency is achieved. The icing should pour easily but should not be thin or runny.
14. Slowly pour the cream cheese icing over the red velvet cake, allowing it to run between the ridges and top with crumbled freeze-dried raspberries.
Photography by Ben Neale.