Red Velvet Cake with Basket Weave

An Easter Basket made from Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Basket Weave and Roses is a decidedly Southern treat. According to the NYTimes it originated in Texas in the 1940s, but red velvet cake spread to the rest of the south and then found its way north. I first heard about it from my stepmother, who is from Alabama. Her mom made it for her when she was young and now I make red velvet cake for her at her birthday. I always pair red velvet with cream cheese icing (which is one of the classics), and used it to fill the layers and do a crumb coat on the cake (way more about that in the book), but if you are going to attempt this basket weave finish (see my reel on instagram to watch how I did it) I would suggest going with a buttercream icing, which is much easier to pipe and less temperamental than cream cheese icing in a warm kitchen. You can use any of the buttercreams (there are many) from Zoë Bakes Cakes, but for this cake, I went with the simple American Buttercream.

Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Basketweave and Roses

Zoë Bakes Cakes

I made Red Velvet Cake from my book (recipe below), but baked the layers in three 6×2 Inch cake pans, which is why it is soooooo tall. You can pick any flavor cake and bake it in the size that you prefer. If you go with smaller pans, you will want to check them about 5-10 minutes earlier when baking, since they will be done sooner the smaller they are. 

Cream Cheese Icing for the layering and crumb coat (click here for recipe) and see crumb coat video here.

American Buttercream for decorating and flowers from Zoë Bakes Cakes

6 cups (720g) confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 cup (339g) unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (make your own)

1 teaspoon almond extract – or whatever fits the flavor of your cake. 

Pinch salt

4-6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (enough to make buttercream pipeable)

Cream together the sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and heavy cream and beat slowly until smooth. Add color in smaller bowls if you are making more than one color.

Roses: How to Pipe Roses instructions can be found in the Baking with my Mother YouTube video! 

All my Favorite Cake Equipment can be found here.

Specific tools for this cake:

Gel-Based Food Color for roses

Pearl Candy Beads for garnishing

To pipe the roses I used two sizes of rose tips:

Large roses – Ateco 180

Small roses – Wilton 125

Leaf tip – Wilton 366

Basket Weave Tips:

Horizontal Ateco 46

Vertical Ateco 1

Decorating Bags, 18-Inch – you can use cloth bags, but with all the different colors you will need several.

Happy Birthday to Nana!

Red velvet cake with basket weave buttercream and roses

Red Velvet Cake with Basket Weave

My stepmother, Patricia, is from Alabama, and she introduced me to the Southern red velvet cake. The cake's origins are a little murky, but the bright-red version we see today was invented in the 1920s by an extract company and then suddenly became one of the most beloved cakes in every city, not just the south. A note about this recipe: I baked the layers in three 6×2-inch cake pans, which is why it is soooooo tall. If you go with smaller pans, you will want to check them about 5-10 minutes earlier when baking, since they will be done sooner the smaller they are. 
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Servings: 1 8-inch (20cm) triple-layer cake

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp (112g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) mild-flavored oil such as vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups (450g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract make homemade vanilla
  • 1 tbsp red food coloring plus more as needed
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 5 egg yolks at room temperature
  • 2 1/3 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder sifted if lumpy
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk at room temperature

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 1/2 lb (680g) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (330g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract optional
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 cups (600g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tbsp Lyle's Golden Syrup see note, optional

Instructions

Red Velvet Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Generously grease three 8-inch / 20cm cake pans, then line them with greased parchment paper.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Turn the mixer speed to medium; add the oil, sugar, and vanilla; and beat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is light in color and about double the volume. Add the food coloring and continue beating, until the batter is a uniform color.
  • Turn the speed to medium-low and add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, mixing each until incorporated before adding the next. Scrape the bowl after each addition.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
  • Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing on low speed until combined. Add half of the buttermilk, mixing until incorporated. Repeat with another one-third flour, the remaining buttermilk, and then finish with the final one-third flour, scraping the bowl and paddle after each addition.
  • Pour the batter into prepared pans and spread evenly using a small offset spatula. Gently tap the pans on the counter several times to release excess air bubbles.
  • Bake until a tester comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Remove the parchment paper and place one cake layer on a serving plate.
  • Using an offset spatula, spread a 1/4-inch / 6mm-thick layer of the frosting over the cake, making sure it goes all the way to the edge. Place the next cake over the frosting and top with another layer of frosting. Repeat with the last cake. If desired, at this point, you could crumb-coat the cake.
  • Decorate the cake with a smooth layer of the remaining frosting.
  • Serve the cake immediately or store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 24 hours. If refrigerated, bring the cake to room temperature before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on low speed until it's smooth and there are no lumps. Scrape down the bowl and paddle often.
  • Add the butter to the cream cheese and continue mixing until smooth, scraping often. You want to make sure none of the cream cheese or butter is sticking in the paddle, or it may end up creating lumps. Mix in the vanilla, lemon extract (if using), and lemon juice.
  • Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and then the golden syrup (if using) and continue mixing until smooth.
  • If the frosting is thin and soft, you may want to chill it to give it more body and allow you to fill and decorate with more ease. Just cover the bowl and refrigerate until the frosting is firm, up to 24 hours, then return to the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until smooth. Use immediately.

Notes

Golden syrup is like a light caramel but not as overpowering a flavor; it just adds a nuance that is exquisite. Golden syrup is a staple in most British kitchens, but if you happen to find it in your own grocery in the United States, give it a try.
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