Happy Valentine’s Day! I shared the other day on my mental health blog about loving one’s self. Here I’d like to share one way to love someone special. Bake a cake! And if you are concerned about not feeding your family artificial dyes and ingredients, here’s one way to have your cake and eat it, too. I have made red velvet cupcakes before using beets to color them. This Valentine’s I tried out a red velvet cake with no food coloring.
Last week I was helping Little Bird with a science kit, and we were learning about acids, bases, and ph. We experimented with adding acidity (in the form of citric acid and vinegar) and baking soda (with is alkaline) to water colored with red cabbage powder. The acid made it more vibrantly red and the base made it more purple. No wonder red velvet has something acidic like lemon juice and/or vinegar in it! It also made me wonder if too much baking powder was the reason the red velvet potato bundt cake I tried to make came out purple/brown. (I love learning more of the science behind baking.)
I consider this more a recipe review than a super polished recipe. But I wanted to share none the less. I have only made it one time, and would tweak it some more to make it a little lighter. I used the suggested cream cheese, but found it way too dense, for my preference. I would replace that with buttermilk, and use more eggs. I reduced the sugar by half, in both the cake and the frosting. Next time I might play around with non-refined sweeteners.
- 2 large beets (enough for 1 cup puree)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese or 1 cup of buttermilk
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 eggs, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons natural raw cocoa powder
- 2 recipes cream cheese frosting
- This recipe is adapted slightly from a post from sophistimom. I did not change her method, so follow the link for the instructions. Here are my notes, however:
- Starting with raw beets seems more labor intensive, but my past results using packaged, pre-cooked and peeled beets did not work as well.
- My Vitamix did not process the beets well, as it wasn't full enough or liquid enough. My old Kitchen Aid food processor worked great, and I wish I would have started with it from the beginning.
- I found it too dense and heavy with the cream cheese. I suggest buttermilk, which I will use next time.
- I used 4 eggs as called for in the original recipe. Next time I will increase it to 6. My mom suggested separating the eggs, beating them separately to give it more leavening from the egg whites, and then folding them in.
- For the frosting, I made a double batch of my Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, omitting the cinnamon and pumpkin.