Serves: Makes 8-10 - Time:
I make these little nests with an old Wilton dessert shell cavity pan but you can make cupcakes or even a classic sandwich cake (2 x 20cm pans) if you can’t find the moulds or don’t want to buy them especially for this recipe. Red velvet cake, if you haven’t tried one yet, is lightly flavoured with cocoa and a hell of a lot of red food colouring. I get my concentrated colouring from Rainbow Dust –Hobbycraft sell the range- or try a specialist baking website for similar. The Dr Oetker food gel colour does the job but doesn’t quite have the intensity of the former-you’ll need the whole tube.
- 190g plain flour
- 15g raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 pinches salt
- 120g unsalted butter softened at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
- 175g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 3 medium eggs
- 125ml buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon concentrated red food colouring
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- For the filling
- 180ml double cream
- 200g white chocolate, roughly chopped
- 125g cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chocolate stars to decorate
- Heat the oven to 180˚c, fan oven 160˚c, mark 4. Grease a six hole dessert shell cavity pan with a little butter. Or, line a cupcake tray with paper cups, or two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together, add the salt and set aside. In a mixing bowl cream the butter, sugar and vanilla paste together for at least five minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. In a separate small bowl mix the buttermilk with the red colouring.
- On the slowest setting beat a third of the flour mixture into the batter, followed by a third of the red buttermilk. Repeat until the flour and buttermilk have been completely incorporated into the batter. Stir in the oil . Put the bicarbonate of soda in a ramekin and pour in the vinegar. Stir to combine then pour into the cake batter and mix well. Spoon the batter into the moulds, just under half full-it rises quite a lot so don't overfill. Bake in the oven for about 18-20 minutes until the cakes have slightly shrunken away from the edges and are firm to the touch in the centre. Leave to cool in the moulds for five minutes then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. If you only have one six-cavity tray you will need to cook a further three to four cakes, depending on how much batter you have left.
- While the cakes are cooking you can make the white chocolate filling. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to boiling point. Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour over the hot cream. Leave for a minute then stir until smooth, with no visible lumps remaining. Chill for at least 2 hours.
- When the cream is cold beat with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese and vanilla extract. If the nests have domed a lot you may need to shave off the tops so they sit flat on a plate. Spoon into the cake cavities and decorate with stars or grated chocolate or both.