Three-tier red velvet cake recipe
We show you how to make a wedding cake or celebration cake with our simple but impressive recipe. Equipment and preparation: For this recipe you will need a 15cm/6in, 23cm/9in and 30cm/12in round cake tin and cake board. You will also need eight dowelling rods (available from specialist cake shops).
For the small (15cm/6in) tier
- 150g/5oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 150g/5oz caster sugar
- 2 free-range eggs
- few drops vanilla essence
- pinch salt
- 125g/4½oz plain flour
- 25g/1oz cocoa powder
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp red food colouring
- 450g/1lb ready-to-roll white icing
For the medium (23cm/9in) tier
- 350g/12oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 350g/12oz caster sugar
- 6 free-range eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- pinch salt
- 300g/10oz plain flour
- 50g/2oz cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 50ml/2fl oz red food colouring
- 800g/1¾lb ready-to-roll white icing
For the large (30cm/12in) tier
- 650g/1lb 7oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 650g/1lb 7oz caster sugar
- 10 free-range eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla essence
- large pinch salt
- 575g/1lb 5oz plain flour
- 75g/3oz cocoa powder
- 35g/1¼oz baking powder
- 100ml/3½fl oz red food colouring
- 1.25kg/2lb 12oz ready-to-roll white icing
For the butter cream
- 730g/1lb 10oz butter, softened
- 1.8kg/4lb icing sugar
- 225g/8oz cream cheese
- few drops vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Take the smallest cake tin and draw round it twice on grease proof paper. Measure the circumference of the tin with string, then a long strip of paper the length of the string and fold in half length ways. Grease the tin with butter and place one of the paper circles into the base. Grease again, add a second circle, then grease once more. Grease the inside edge of the tin and line with the long paper strip. Repeat this with the 23cm/9in tin and 30cm/12in tin.
For the small tier, beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, vanilla and salt, and half of the flour to prevent the mixture from curdling. Add the remaining flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and give it a final beat to mix together. Add the food colouring and mix well. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, leave to cool for five minutes, then remove from the tin, peel off the greaseproof paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the medium tier, repeat steps 3 and 4 and cook the cake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
For the large tier, repeat steps 3 and 4 and cook the cake for 1 hour 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the buttercream, cream together the softened butter and icing sugar in a very large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese and a few drops of vanilla essence, to taste. (If you’re not using the buttercream straight away, cover the surface with cling film and chill until ready to use. Beat the mixture again until light and fluffy before using.)
Using a long-bladed serrated, carefully the smallest cake in half and sandwich together with three heaped tablespoons of the buttercream. The remaining cakes in the same way, using six heaped tablespoons of buttercream to sandwich the medium cake and eight heaped tablespoons of buttercream for the large one.
Spread a teaspoon of buttercream onto each cake board and place the cakes onto them, upside down (this gives the cakes a flatter top for icing).
Using half of the remaining buttercream, spread a thin layer over the top and sides of each cake until covered. Refrigerate the cakes for 30 minutes, or until the icing has set. Spread the remaining icing over the cakes to give a smooth finish and chill in the fridge until set.
To cover the cakes in ready-to-roll icing, ice just one cake at a time, as the icing can dry out very quickly. Make sure your work surface is clean and dry, then knead the icing until warm and pliable. Place two tablespoons of icing sugar into a small sieve and use to lightly dust your work surface.