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The Philadelphia cream cheese my brother brought from the US two months back was still resting in my fridge as I was still contemplating what to make with them. It was Christmas time soon and the heavenly Red Velvet Cake I had recently tasted at Elma’s Bakery cafe in Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village was still fresh on my mind. So the cream cheese had to go into my Red Velvet Cake, I decided.

Orange Velvet Cake

I scanned through a number of recipes on the Internet to find the one I could try at home. I did find some, but I still had to compromise on certain ingredients, which I could not manage to stock. Vanilla beans were over, so had to do with the essence. Couldn’t find Dutch-processed cocoa powder, so used regular cocoa. Didn’t have liquid colour, so had to use dry powder. But it had a disastrous effect, with the cake turning orange, though the packet said ‘RED’, yes in all CAPS.

The colour fiasco notwithstanding, the taste was good, and the way it should have tasted. Here is the recipe.

Food for thought: Red Velvet Cake


Flour: 250 grams
Cocoa powder: 2 tablespoons
Eggs: 2 large
Cooking butter (unsalted): 1/2 cup
Salt: 1/2 teaspoon
Baking soda: 1 teaspoon
Sugar: 300 grams
Vanilla essence: 1 tablespoon
Buttermilk: 1 cup
Red food colour: 1 teaspoon (dry)/2 tablespoons(liquid)
White vinegar: 1 teaspoon
Beatroot: 1 (medium)  
For cream cheese frosting:
Cream cheese: 200 g
Vanilla essence: 1 teaspoon 
Icing sugar: 1 cup
Whipping cream: 200 g
Preparation: Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease a round cake tin and set aside. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. In the bowl of electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Grate the beatroot and extract juice out of it. Keep aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the red food colour and beatroot juice. While the mixer is on, add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternately, to the butter and sugar mixture. Combine the vinegar and baking soda separately and fold in the fizzing mixture to the cake batter. Now pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for around 25-30 minutes, or till done. Once the cake has cooled, cling wrap it and keep it in the fridge for at least an hour. 

Cream Cheese Frosting: Using your electric mixer again, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and sugar and continue beating until smooth. Separately, whip the cream until soft peaks form and then add it to the cream cheese mixture. Whip the mixture for some more time, or till you think the consistency is right for spreading on the cake. 
Cut the cake into two layers, horizontally, using a proper knife (I used a thread). Spread the frosting generously on one of the layers and place the other one on top of it. Now frost the top and sides of the cake. Keep it back in the fridge for half and hour for the frosting to set and your Red Velvet Cake is ready to serve.
Last words: Always use the butter in room temperature for best and quick results. The cream cheese too should be in room temperature. You can use granulated sugar for the cake, but powdered form is must for the frosting. By the way, with the measurements given here, I was able to bake two cakes because my cake pan was small. Though I used only one for the frosting, originally the cake should have more layers. My recipe is inspired from a couple of recipes I found on the Internet. The one at joyofbaking.com is the closest. You can always try it for better results.