All Natural Red Velvet Cake

(Disclaimer to all naturalist out there: ‘All Natural’ here means ‘using only beet and no food coloring’)

Hello! I’m back again with another episode of #BakingWithKids. Remember this (not) red velvet cake? Today @perempuangimbal and I tried the recipe that I’ve mentioned before on that post, the one that using all beet puree and no food coloring, with a little science behind. So, in order to get the bright red (purplish) hue, we should maintain the proper acidic pH of the batter by using natural (not dutch processed) cocoa powder, baking powder, orange juice, and vinegar, which has high acidity percentage.

Enough with the science. You can read a little more about that on here and here

All Natural Red Velvet Cake

adapted from Little House Living

2 and 1/2 cups cake flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup beet puree*
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
250 grams cream cheese, room temperature
60 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease and flour 2 22 cm cake pans for 2 layers of a 22 cm cake OR 4 15 cm cake pans for 2 layers each of two 15 cm cakes (one 2-layered cake for each of us. Are we confusing you?)

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. Set aside.

Mix together beet puree, milk, orange juice, and vinegar in another bowl. Set aside. 

In yet another larger bowl (I promise this would be the last bowl you need) beat butter and sugar together for a couple minutes until creamy and fluffy. Add egg one by one, continue beating until well mixed. Add beet mix gradually and alternately with flour mix, stir after each additions until just combine.

Divide the batter among pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool, transfer to a wire rack, then let them cool completely. 

Ready to bake. Look at the hue! (Spotted: a tiny foot. The first evidence that this is the REAL #BakingWithKids session. We're not lying)

The baked cakes. They don't change much in color. We made it!

Notice that the bottoms and edges of the cakes has begin to turn brown. (Spotted: A kid in the shadow patiently waiting for the cakes to cool down. The second evidence of #BakingWithKids)

For the frosting:
Beat cream cheese and butter together in a bowl (uh-oh, another bowl! Sorry I broke my promise) until fluffy. Gradually sift in confectioners’ sugar, mix until creamy. 

Once the cakes are cooled down, place one layer on a cake stand with flat side up. Spread about one third of the frosting, top with another layer. Cover all the surface with thin coat of the frosting, then let it chill in the freezer so the frosting would firm up and prevent the cake crumbs to be messed up with the white frosting. 

When the thin coating is firm enough continue decorate with the rest of the frosting. Serve cold or at room temperature. 

*About the beet. I bought about 700 grams beets and only used less than a half of it. So 1 cup beet puree is maybe about 300 grams. Don’t worry about precision here, you could only use a half cup beet puree and that’s okay. The more beet you use the redder the cake will be, but the beet taste would also be more intense.

Steamed and peeled beets. This is too much, we only need less than a half of this.

To make the beet puree, first I cut the stems, wash them well, cut in two to fasten the cooking process, and then steam them for about 45 minutes until I could getting through the flesh using a fork. The skin should be easily peeled off. I pureed them well using hand blender, measured 1 cup, and it was ready to use. 

Like the previous green tea cupcakes, this cake has runny-melted frosting too.

Now, about that runny frosting. After two different cakes I think I know what’s going on. It’s the SUGAR that makes the frosting very soft and melted. Because sugar attracts water thus tend to melt in high humidity. The next time I make frosting again I would reduce the sugar very, very much. It’s too sweet for me anyway. 

My other concern is I could taste the vinegar in every bite. But It might be just me, as everyone else have nothing to complain as they enjoy their slices. Well, except my kid, who said the cake taste bitter and prefer the very-sweet-bakery-bought red velvet cake. Yeah, of course, kiddo. So I was thinking of substitute the vinegar with lemon/lime juice, it would be more natural that way. Not sure about the acid percentage though.


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