I reckon this cake always sounds fancier than it really it. And because it sounds fancy, it also sounds difficult to make. Which it really isn’t. It’s just important that you follow the instructions and don’t deviate from the techniques needed to make it
dense and heavy light and fluffy. I sound like I know what I’m doing, right?
I made this cake last Saturday for Dad’s birthday. He’d requested I make a banana cake but that sounded too boring at the time, so I had a go at this one. I’ve made it in the past with varying result but it always tastes pretty fucking great. Oven troubles persisted however, and the cake overcooked itself. I was annoyed, Dad didn’t care, and everyone lied to me, assuring me that “wow this is really good!”. But I knew deep down it wasn’t. So here I go again, this time baking it for a coworker’s birthday.
I also made an 11+ hour long Doom Metal playlist for said coworker, and then cried a little bit because of the overwhelming homesickness for London (and Desertfest 2016) that I’m trying so hard to ignore. The playlist can be viewed here.
Before you start, change out of your Sunday best, and your before Labour day whites because this cake calls for food colouring and if you’re as clumsy as I am, you will get red dye on yourself, despite your best and most sincere efforts not to.
It’s also a good idea to have the ingredients measured out beforehand as well, as I find the vinegar in this recipe has a tendency to react very quickly (with the buttermilk maybe?) so you wanna get everything together and in the oven as quick as you can.
2 1/2 cups all purpose white flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 large eggs
340g melted butter (clearly this cake is not for the calorie conscious)
1tbsp white vinegar
4tbsp red food colouring
1tsp vanilla essence
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the over to 180.
Sift all the dry ingredients apart from the sugar into a large bowl and set aside.
Beat the sugar and eggs together with an electric mixer. Honestly I can’t stress how much better shit it when you use an electric mixer. Handheld or not, they are akin to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, Amen. Also this is where I fucked up last time I made this cake. I mistakenly put the butter in with the sugar and eggs which is a big no no, I guess, since I figure this is what made the texture of my cake a giant dickhead.
Super into this old school vanilla essence. Anyone else remember No Frills?
Once the eggs and sugar are all nice and creamy then add the butter as well as all the other wet ingredients before combining with the sifted ingredients. Mix until smooth. Sometimes I find, regardless of how well everything is sifted, the mixture is a little bit lumpy but I tend to ignore that and hope that everything works itself out in the oven. Which it usually does.
Put in a tin. I’ve got a medium sized tin that I use for everything but I think for this cake it’s better to put it in a larger round tin otherwise that shit’ll start peaking like a 14-year-old on acid. I mean, it doesn’t really matter but if you want a nice, flat finished product then use a bigger tin.
Bake for around 30mins. I have a terrible oven so baking time usually varies. This time it took closer to an hour to cook. If the top of the cake starts to burn, chuck a bit of tin foil up on top. It’ll both help to cook the cake faster, and reduce the amount of burnage.
The sink looks a bit wild upon clean up since everything is pink.
Leave it to cool for about 10 minutes in the tin, that way the cake solidifies a bit more and ensures that it comes out nice and clean.
For a super deluxe ++ finish I usually make mascarpone icing but can’t really afford to be that fancy at the moment so a simple cream cheese icing will suffice. Either way you’re having a good time. Here are the recipes for both.
MASCARPONE ICING: CREAM CHEESE ICING:
115g cream cheese 250g cream cheese
1/2 cup mascarpone 125g softened butter
1/2 cup softened butter 3 cups icing sugar
2 cups icing sugar about 1/4 cup lemon juice
2tsp vanilla extract 2tsp vanilla extract
The process for making both icings is practically identical. Just made sure the butter is nice and soft before you start doing anything otherwise your icing will be lumpy. If you do forget to soften the butter at first, you can put the bowl of icing in the microwave at any point during the mixing process.
I always cream the butter first, then add the cream cheese (and the mascarpone if that’s the icing you’re doing) and give it all a good Jake the Muss beating (sorry it’s all I can think about when I talk about beating something) before adding the icing sugar 1 cup at a time. While your adding the icing sugar, keep an eye on the consistency and add lemon juice (only for the cream cheese icing) and vanilla essence to keep it nice and creamy. It’s always a good idea to taste as you go to make sure you’ve got the balance of flavours right.
Normally my cream cheese icing comes out nice and lemony but I overindulged in the vanilla this time around which made the icing taste like one of those Tall Boy thick shakes. I could have added some more lemon juice to bring out the flavour but I reckon the strong vanilla was more than just A-OK.
Presentation isn’t my strong suit here. I just don’t have the right instruments to ice a cake so it’s all smooth and shop-worthy so let’s just pretend the rustic look is intentional.
I’m feeling pretty jealous of my coworker right now. I’m hoping he decides to cut the cake tonight at work so I can get a good look at how it turned out and get a photo. The contrast of the deep red and the cream looks pretty badass.
I think I’ll give him a gentle nudge in the right direction.