In a few days’ time we’ll be moving into a new apartment. Well actually, we’ll be moving back into an old apartment from a few years ago. I could explain but it really is most uninteresting and I feel I’ve already been on the topic for three sentences too many. If you’re anything like me your eyeballs are popping out of your head in a violent inner rage while you scream “the cake the cake, get to the damn cake lady!!” Or perhaps that’s just me. Now where was I? Oh yes, the cake. I was feeling happy and positive about the upcoming move. You might say I was in something of a celebratory mood. Naturally cake was my first thought. Well in all honesty, and quite unnaturally I’ll admit, running in slow motion through a hazy meadow at dusk with fluffy puppies frolicking at my feet was my first thought. Then cake.
This mini cake appealed to me for a number of reasons; 1) I have an insane love of miniature food 2) It requires such small amounts of ingredients that chances are you already have most of what you need somewhere in the cupboard. Also if it doesn’t quite turn out like you had hoped no big deal! 3) I had some random egg whites hanging around in the fridge which suited this recipe nicely 4) I didn’t have an empty tin to hand but just bought some kidney beans for 21c. I love kidney beans, and it’s not much to pay for a new little baking tin. Win-Win! 5) Perfect size for a mini celebration! Or when you feel like having a bit of solo cake time. Or perhaps you just want to know what it feels like to be a giant. No matter which of these tickle your fancy, this mini cake is the perfect little treat. So go on, treat yourself.
A couple of notes before you begin; Egg whites are dead handy to have around. Mine were in the fridge for 3 days and apparently they can last up to 4 days and still be absolutely perfect. A handy fact is that they can keep frozen for up to 12 months, something to bear in mind next time a recipe calls for more yolks than whites. You’ll always find a use for them at some point.
I didn’t have any buttermilk in the house and I would never suggest buying any when such a small amount is required. A technique that works well to produce similar results involves regular milk and some lemon juice or white wine vinegar. Just add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to just under 1 cup of milk. Leave to stand for 5 minutes and then add to the recipe as required.
And a final word of warning; Do not f**k around with red food colouring. My hands were already stained by the time I left the supermarket. Yes, I did enjoy the dangerous and mysterious edge it gave me; did I wander nonchalantly down to Tesco after committing a brutal murder? (the people must have wondered)…and they will never know… But it is a demon to get off your hands, they’ll be stained for a few hours if not days depending on the level of stainage and whether or not you’re willing to lose a few layers of skin from your palms.
Mini measuring spoons will really help you out with the small quantities in this recipe.
Mini Red Velvet Cakes.
Recipe adapted from Ashleigh Home Maker.
•1 egg white
•2 tablespoons caster sugar
•28 g unsalted butter, melted
•1 tsp. vanilla
•1/4 cup minus 1 tsp. plain flour
•1 tsp. cocoa powder
•1/8 tsp. baking soda
•1/8 tsp. baking powder
•1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk
•1/8 tsp. vinegar
•1 tsp. red food colouring
•pinch of salt
For the tin you will need an empty and well cleaned tin can with the top lid completely removed
Preheat your oven to 175°C/350°F (or 150°C in my case with a fan oven)
In a small bowl whisk together egg white and sugar. Add the melted butter and vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredients, whisking to combine. Gently fold in the buttermilk with a spatula, then the vinegar and the food coloring. Pour the batter into the can and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (a few crumbs are ok, I prefer to remove from the oven at this stage to ensure they don’t dry out).
Allow to cool completely before removing from the can. Slice off the rounded top of the cake with a serrated knife to level it. Slice into layers (2 or 3 depending on which you’re going for).
I didn’t go with the traditional cream cheese frosting as the only cream cheese to hand was Philadelphia Garlic and Herbs. After a split second of intrigue I came to my senses and decide against it. So I went with this instead;
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of plain flour
• 1/2 cup Milk
• 1/3 teaspoons Vanilla
• 70g Butter
• 1/3 cup Caster Sugar
In a small saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk and heat, stirring continuously until it thickens to a consistency that is a bit thicker than cake batter (like a chocolate cake or brownie mix). Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. It must be completely cool before mixing with the other ingredients.
While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Add the vanilla to the cooled milk/flour mixture. Then add this to the creamed butter and sugar and beat vigorously. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and looks similar to whipped cream.
If you’re not covering the outside of your cake in frosting I’d suggest piping it onto the layers. It really look so much neater. I snipped a tiny corner off a sandwich bag (ziploc bag) and slid a round piping nozzle inside, just spoon the icing into the corner and squeeze with a steady and even pressure. This frosting is delicious; light, smooth, creamy, and rich. A bit more effort than a simple buttercream but definitely worth that extra bit of time in terms of both flavour and texture. The cake is so moist and lovely and the two go together like a house on fire.