There was a big week-long potluck at work this week, since Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day were fairly close to each other this year and we had a feeling a lot of us would want to make something to celebrate. I volunteered to do something for both holidays, but this post will just be for what I did for Valentine’s Day. For Chinese New Year, I did Chinese almond cookies, which you can find here.
Oddly, red velvet is not my favorite type of cake. The crazy anime-hair red doesn’t even bother me, it’s just that I find most don’t have enough chocolate in it, or none at all. I also don’t like how a lot of recipes from scratch call for a literal bottle of food dye. I’m fine with food dyes, but from past experience red leaves an awful bitter taste if too much is used. (The notorious one is black though. I’m still convinced my friends spared my feelings from my Super Smash Bros. cupcakes last year.)
So on my journeys to find a red velvet recipe that actually has good bittersweet chocolate flavor but is still red, I heard of the old-fashioned method of using beets. I never grew up eating beets, and only started eating them a few years ago so now I love them. I also saw a yummy cream cheese frosting recipe using candied orange peel, and I just HAD to make it with this cake.
I’m so glad I did, because my coworkers pretty much told me I found my second career XD.
Old-Fashioned Red Velvet Cake
(adapted from With A Spin’s Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes)
makes a 2-layer 8-inch cake
– 2 medium beets for 1 cup puree
– ¼ cup water, set aside for 1 cup puree
– 2 teaspoons white vinegar
– 3 eggs
– 1 cup vegetable oil
– ¾ cup granulated sugar
– 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
– ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 2 tablespoons milk
– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
To make the beet puree:
1. Scrub and wash beets before putting in medium saucepan, filled with enough water
to cover. Put in vinegar and stir. Boil on medium heat until soft, about 45 minutes
to 1 hour.
2. Let beets cool before peeling. Chop into 1 inch pieces and put in blender to puree.
If the mixture is too thick for the blades, slowly put in water to loosen it up (should be
thick like yogurt). Pour into container and put in the fridge for 1 hour.
To make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans, and set aside.
2. Sift and combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate medium bowl, cream together the oil and sugar. Add the eggs, mixing
one at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
3. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in the milk
before combining the remaining flour mixture. Fold 1 cup beet puree into the batter,
and pour into cake pans, filling halfway.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. While it’s
baking, prepare the orange creamsicle glaze for the filling and top. Store in the fridge
immediately after to set up.
For the orange creamsicle glaze, I followed AllRecipes’ Basic Cream Cheese Frosting, halving the recipe to make 1 cup of glaze and added 1 teaspoon of candied orange peel.
I’m so excited about how this recipe turned out that I will definitely make it again in the future! Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!