Red Velvet Valentine’s Cake

valentines red velvet bundt cake beetroot and hand decorated chocolate hearts

Continuing in what has become an annual tradition, what would valentine’s day be without a red velvet cake?

This year I decided to mix it up (no pun intended) and try a different recipe – red velvet cake made with… beetroot! The colour is a great natural alternative to the normally used red food colouring, and the texture of the beetroot makes the cake lovely and moist. The recipe I used is this one from All Recipes.

I’ll be honest I’m not a massive beetroot fan, so have never cooked with it before. So I nearly fell at the first hurdle, the ingredients list, of boiled and grated beetroot! A few googles later and I gave it about 20 minutes boiling, before cooling and grating. It was easier than it sounded although a little messy 🙂

grating beetroot for red velvet valentines cake

The rest of the recipe was really easy to follow, and filled up by bundt tin perfectly.

Once baked, the cake smelt amazing although I was a little disappointed by the lack of, well, red-ness! Maybe it could have done with less cocoa?

chocolate bundt cake perfectly moulded

But if you can’t paint a cake red on valentine’s day, then when can you? I applied a light glaze all over, using a couple of drops of red food colouring, 2 tablespoons of icing sugar, and enough water to make a light paste. Much more satisfyingly red!

red glazed bundt cake velvet valentines chocolate and vanilla

To ice, there really was no question. Red velvet cake without cream cheese icing is like… valentine’s day without red velvet cake 🙂
I made my cream cheese icing thick and plentiful, drizzling it all over the top of the bundt.

cream cheese frosting oozing on red velvet valentines cake

To finish, I used a thin silicon mould to create some hearts out of dark chocolate and red candy melts. These ones were actually Renshaw Colour Melts – I like these ones as they don’t taste as artificial as some of the others.

moulded chocolate hearts red candy colour melts and dark

moulded chocolate hearts on red velvet valentines bundt cake chocolate hearts and cream cheese icing frosting on valentines red velvet beetroot bundt cake

Adorned with hearts – et voila, my red velvet cake masterpiece!

valentines red velvet bundt cake made with beetroot natural colours one of five a day

Happy valentine’s day ❤ x

Valentine’s Day Hidden Heart Design Red Velvet Bundt Cake

red roses with velvet bundt cake hidden heart design

Valentine’s Day in our house always has one thing on the menu – red velvet cake. Since the first Red Velvet Cake I made for Rob 3 years ago when we’d just started dating, we’ve evolved through a chocolate-layered Love Cake 2 years back, and last years Red Velvet Ombre Cake. It’s clear then that no ordinary cake is going to cut it!

This year I wanted to embrace one of my own loves – bundt cakes – with something new I’ve been wanting to try for a while, a hidden design.

The basic bundt batter is quite simple, I mixed it up as a whole, using what I needed to create the vanilla hearts, before adding the red colouring and cocoa for the red velvet outer.

Ingredients

225g butter
325g white sugar
6 eggs
380g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
325 ml buttermilk (or 315ml normal milk mixed with 10ml lemon juice)
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

25g cocoa powder
Red gel food colouring
10ml milk

Method:

– Cream together the butter and sugar
– Beat in the eggs one at a time, with a little flour, then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla essence.
– Sieve the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture
– Use as much mixture as needed and bake the hidden design centre first
– Add the cocoa, remaining milk and sufficient food colouring to the remaining batter for the red velvet outer

I made my hearts in a silicon mould – you could bake a sheet cake and cut them from this if you don’t have a tin of the shape you want to use as your design. Baking time is dependent on what shape and size of mould you use, mine took about 20 minutes at 180. They should be slightly under-baked as opposed to over-done. Wait until nearly cool before continuing.

heart shape sponge cake for hidden design cake

I then trimmed off the edges of the heart cakes, to make them fit into the round design of the bundt.

hidden heart shape bundt cake trimming csskes for centre

Making sure the bundt tin was well greased, I put in a bottom layer of the red velvet mixture, before carefully layering in the heart cakes.

valentines hidden heart bundt cake layering up shapes into red velvet batter

A final layer of red velvet covered up the hidden design, before baking at 180 for around 45 minutes, until cooked through.

red velvet batter in bundt tin hidden heart design cake for valentines day

Fresh out of the oven and a beautiful red colour!

freshly baked red velvet bundt secret hidden heart design for valentines day recipe

To top a red velvet cake there really is only one choice in my book – cream cheese frosting!

To top this cake I used 75g cream cheese, 25g butter and 200g icing sugar, well-mixed and lavished over the top:

dripping cream cheese icing on red velvet cake

And to finish – a little hint to the inside – I used plunger cutters to create red heart sprinkles from some coloured fondant icing, letting them air-dry before use so the colour didn’t run into the icing.

red fondant heart sprinkles plunger cutter valentines recipe

valentines day love cake heart fondant sprinkles on cream cheese icing

All finished and ready to cut!

valentines day red velvet hidden heart design bundt cake with fondant shapes and cream cheese icing

Rob was out when I finished baking, so I left the cake out on the table with suitable embellishment – like he wouldn’t know it was for him!

red velvet bundt love cake and rose hidden heart design valentines day gift ideas love you chalkboard sign gift message valentines day red velvet hidden heart design bundt cake recipe

I asked Rob the next morning if he’d tried the cake when he got in. Yes he said. A big slice he said. And the inside…? Erm, just red and white cake, he said? What! Surely not! All that hard work wasted?

On closer inspection it was very clear he’d just been too keen to eat it. And the heart shape looked just perfect running through ❤ Mission accomplished!

hidden heart design red velvet and vanilla bundt cake valentines day recipe cream cheese icing

 

White Chocolate and Brownie Cheesecake

white chocolate and brownie cheesecake recipe and method indulgent desserts valentines

This recipe has actually be lurking for about 3 months now, such is the busy period it’s been. A scrappy post-it in my kitchen and a whole heap of photos later, the impending Valentine’s Day spurred me to get blogging and try and recall what on earth went on.

I’d made this absolute delight of a cheescake (January dieters please look away now), as a treat for Rob while I was away working. It would be equally as great for Valentine’s Day, for which I now have to think of another show-stopping bake. Answers on a postcard please!

The brownies were a simple re-incarnation of my 3 ingredient Nutella brownies, fudgy, quick, and easy, they were perfectly resilient to being re-baked and refrigerated. And the best news was that I didn’t use a whole batch, so there were plenty left over for sampling 🙂

Recipe

1 batch Nutella Brownies

200g digestive biscuits
50g dark chocolate
75g butter

300g cream cheese
200g white chocolate
405g tin of condensed milk (unsweetened, the chocolate has enough sugar)
1 egg

Method

– Crush the biscuits / blend them to find crumbs in a food processor. Melt the dark chocolate and butter, and mix well. – Press into the bottom of a high-sided 8-10 inch springform pan, and bake at 180 degrees for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

chocolate brownie cheesecake base crushed biscuits

– In a large bowl (stand mixer is great if you have one), gently mix the cream cheese and condensed milk.
– Melt the white chocolate over a low heat, and slowly add to the cheese mixture, stirring continually. Finally add the egg and mix through.

white chocolate cheesecake recipe pouring into stand mixed batter and creamy mix

– Pour approx. one centimetre of the batter onto the biscuit base, and position the brownies around the surface.

white chocolate and brownie cheesecake recipe setting hearts into batter

– Bake for 5-6 minutes at 180 degrees, until the cheesecake layer is set enough to hold the brownies in place.- Carefully fill up the tin with the remaining cheesecake mix, being careful not to splash or cover the brownies.

white chocolate and brownie cheesecake assembled ready to cook

– Return to the oven for a further 20-25 minutes, until the top is set (you can touch it with your finger without any mix sticking); the middle should still be wobbly.
– Remove from the oven, cool, and refrigerate in the tin for a minimum of 12 hours (overnight)

The finishing dark chocolate swirl is by no means necessary, but adds a great finish and hides any blips where the cheesecake mixture might have splashed onto the brownies. I melted about 25g into a small piping bag and covered the whole cake in swirls.

triple chocolate cheese cake white milk and dark nutella brownies recipe and valentines ideas

white chocolate and brownie cheese cake crunchy biscuit base topped with dark chocolate swirls

heart chocolate nutella brownie under dark chocolate swirl set in white chocolate cheesecake valentines ideas

white chocolate cheesecake with heart shaped nutella brownies

As it’s been baked this cheesecake will keep for up to a week in the fridge – if it lasts that long, not with slices this size that’s for sure!

white chocolate and brownie cheesecake sliced topped with dark chocolate swirls crunchy biscuit base

The finished cheesecake had great contrasting textures, all brought together with a silky chocolate flavour. The crunchy base, chewy brownies, and creamy cheesecake make for an indulgent bite every time!

 

Red Velvet Valentines Ombre Cake

red velvet ombre valentines cake present vanilla and chocolate with cream cheese icing heart sugar sprinkle topping

Happy Valentines Day! We have agreed not to do presents this year (it is going to be a costly enough 2013 as it is, watch this space…) but of course I couldn’t shy away from the valentines cake tradition! Rob would be broken-hearted if there wasn’t a red velvet surprise waiting for him. Last years was an epic 3 layer chocolate-fondant-covered Love Cake, and two years ago a gigantic heart-shaped red velvet cake.

This year I decided to go somewhat on-trend, and something I’ve wanted to try for a while, ombre. For those not in the know this is basically just a layered cake, with colours graduated throughout. Generally a light coloured layer at the top, with colour building layer-by-layer to a deep hue on the bottom layer. Simple.

Although there are some great red velvet recipes out there, with their buttermilk, vinegar etc, I chose to stick with a simple vanilla sponge, that I know well, so I could easily add the ombre effects.

As I didn’t want a huge cake on my hands (Rob may disagree!), I used 1.5x the mixture for a normal victoria sponge. I.e.: 150g butter, 150g sugar, 3 eggs, 150g SR flour and a splash of vanilla essence.

I mixed the basic sponge up in one big bowl, then divided into 4 smaller ones to start the colouring:

vanilla sponge cake mix divided into four glass bowls recipe

First up, cocoa. Leaving the first bowl plain, I added 1/2 teaspoon to the second bowl, a full teaspoon to the third, and a well-heaped teaspoon (probably about 1 1/2 teaspoons) to the last.

ombre cake cocoa powder mixing chocolate batter into for bowls

And then, the red food colouring. I use Home2Bake, which I get from Asda, the little pot lasts for ages (even with the amount of baking I do!) and always gives a good strong colour.

Again I added nothing to the first bowl, the second had just a little dab (using a cocktail stick), the third a good swirl, and the fourth as much as the cocktail stick could pick up in one splodge!

ombre cake red velvet colouring the batters into graduated layers gel food colour instructions

I baked the cakes in normal round victoria sponge tins (I think mine were 7 inches). As they were a little thinner than a normal sponge they took around 9 – 10 minutes in my fan oven, at 180 degrees. As I then had to take a break to make dinner, I had to hide the cakes away from Rob, so left them to cool dotted around my crockery cupboard!

ombre cake four layers cooling in crockery cupboard red velvet chocolate

To fill and top I used a rich cream cheese icing. I tried to follow the pink whisk‘s recipe, but found it really very runny. In the end I used the 70g butter, 250g tub of cream cheese, and 700-800g icing sugar. This was far too much icing and I’d definitely halve it if making again!

First layer:

layering ombre cake with cream cheese frosting icing turntable for ease instructions

And the finished stack:

red velvet ombre cake layers graduated colour filled with cream cheese icing valentines present

Next step was to cover the entire outside of the cake in the frosting, so that the layers would only be revealed once a slice was cut. This was more tricky than it sounds! The cream cheese frosting doesn’t hold well in place (it needs to be kept cold, difficult while working with it), and the cake went a bit leaning-tower, but only on one side…

cake covered in cream cheese icing ombre slightly wonky

Nevertheless I was glad it was all covered, and hurriedly stuck it in the fridge to cool and set before the cream cheese slid any further. I checked back the next day and it was definitely looking more solid!

As the inside was so complex, I wanted to keep the topping simple. Using some left over, thinned down icing, I painted a heart on the top…

valentines cake painting heart in icing to be covered in shimmer sugar

… and covered with red shimmer sugar, coaxing into place as well as possible.

red velvet ombre valentines cake heart shimmer sugar topping cream cheese icing

Well the outside didn’t look too bad after all the cream cheese issues – but as they say, the proof of the pudding…

red velvet ombre valentines heart cake slice pink champagne glasses (2)

Hoorah! The layers looked fab! And perfect with the cream cheese frosting.

red velvet ombre cake candles background cream cheese frosting

Of course Rob loved it (I haven’t yet made a cake he didn’t!) and went back for 2 generous slices.

Happy Valentines everyone! ❤ x

valentines day flowers and red velvet ombre cake cream cheese frosting

Love Cake <3

As promised – valentines 2012 and another heart themed cake to better last years.

Rob had requested red velvet cake again, so I couldn’t disappoint. To make it extra special I decided to go for a triple layer approach – red velvet, chocolate, and red velvet again!

I stacked them up, filled and covered with the most heavenly white chocolate buttercream: a wicked combination of melted white chocolate, icing sugar and butter, all beaten until sweet, smooth and very sticky!

As it was going under a fondant layer looks didn’t matter at this point… it was just a case of getting as much icing as possible, and getting it to stay put! I left it for a little while in the cold kitchen to set a bit before continuing, so the layers didn’t start sliding all over the place.

Final step before decorating – yummy chocolate fondant. I bought this ready-made as trying to colour fondant is difficult enough, let alone adding a flavour.

A tip I learned online somewhere – use a piece of string or similar to measure up the side of your cake, across the top, and down the other side. This will tell you how large you need to roll the fondant out to before placing it on the cake.

Another tip to get the fondant shiny and clear – mine was covered in icing sugar and obviously needed smoothing down. I took a pastry brush and dipped it in a little water, then painted very lightly all over the whole cake. This blended in both the folds of the fondant, and also all the white icing sugar.

Final step – decorating! I wanted to go for something simple but effective, so mixed up some red fondant (it wasn’t worth buying a whole pack of red just for this little bit, so I used white with plenty of red colouring), and also invested in a pack of mixed chocolate hearts.

A cookie cutter or too later, some normal icing used as glue and tada – my creation was complete!

Rob was of course delighted, and after a delicious 3 course meal (this being the 4th course!) it took centre-table, flanked by obligatory champagne 🙂

And when we cut into the cake, it was everything I’d hoped – sumptuous, vivid layers, encompassed on all sides by the white chocolate buttercream. A true chocoaholics cake!

Sweets For My Sweet

As it’s nearing that time of year again, I wanted to share my sweet treat from Valentines 2011.

I made this cake for Rob, and to this day he still claims it’s the best cake he’s ever tasted (he ate the WHOLE thing to himself, save for a tiny slice which I was allowed!)

And, to my credit, I think it is my most proudest baking effort to date as well.

So here we are: Valentines Red Velvet Cake.

All the red velvet recipes that I’ve seen are generally very similar, and this one was no different.  At the time I couldn’t find any buttermilk or white wine vinegar, so used normal whole (full-fat) milk and just a splash of ordinary white vinegar.
Luckily I already had a heart shaped cake tin so no tedious cutting and shaping required.

The filling/icing was a white chocolate cream cheese concoction – and absolutely heavenly!

I decorated it with a very generous sprinkling of edible glitter, and made the heart shapes using the end of a chopstick and some red food colouring.

My only issue now is how to top it for 2012. All suggestions welcome! One week to go…