This easy Red Velvet Cake recipe is an English version of a very popular American cake. My daughter asked for a Red Velvet Cake for her birthday and, as I had never made one before, I had to do a bit of research! I have to say that I was a bit sceptical – it is a chocolate cake but with relatively small amount of chocolate and a large amount of vanilla – but the end result was delicious. It seemed to be a strange mixture of chocolate and vanilla but the tastes work brilliantly with each other and the vanilla flavour is picked up in the cream cheese icing. So, it is really a vanilla cake with a bit of chocolate rather than a chocolate cake!
My go-to recipe for cakes is generally a basic Victoria Sponge. However, this recipe has encouraged me to be a bit more adventurous in my cake making. Using a combination of butter and oil makes the cake both flavoursome and moist and the buttermilk adds a tangy richness that works well with the cream cheese icing.
A cake and a dessert…
When I served this Red Velvet Cake for my daughter’s birthday, I decided to use it as dessert. It is the kind of versatile cake that works well as either a dessert or as a stand-alone, afternoon tea type cake. I served it with lots of juicy fresh strawberries which complemented the vanilla and chocolate flavour of the sponge and the tangy cream cheese icing. It was a large cake, and we had already had a substantial main course, but it disappeared extremely quickly!
Easy Chocolate Brownies – a quick way to get your chocolate fix!
Who doesn’t love a Chocolate Brownie? Particularly an Easy Chocolate Brownie which can be made in under an hour? Well, the answer is me, actually! You may have noticed that this is the first chocolate recipe on Tastebotanical. I wouldn’t say that I hate chocolate, or that I never eat it (I ate one of these brownies) but it is fair to say that there are lots of other food flavours that I prefer. I will always go for the Lemon Drizzle Cake or the Banana Bread before the Chocolate Brownie!
However, I accept that I am in a minority, both in the wider world and within my family. At my son’s school, students take it in turns to take in cakes or biscuits to share with the class. It was his turn to provide the goodies for Physics and he made it clear that there was no other option except Chocolate Brownies. It was non-negotiable.
So, after a long day at work, I came home and, with my teenage sous-chef, set about making Chocolate Brownies. It was probably the last thing I wanted to do but there was no other option as the Brownies were needed the next day. And after I had got over my initial grumpiness……. we had a fantastic time!
Making the Brownies was really quick and easy – particularly with the two of us working in parallel – and I had forgotten how much fun it is to cook with my children. I did this a lot when they were younger but, now that they are all teenagers, it doesn’t happen so much! The Brownies were a big hit at school and (obviously) I made double the quantity so we had some to eat as a family. Even I have to admit they were good – rich and chocolatey with just the right amount of gooey softness. Maybe I will pass up on the Lemon Drizzle Cake next time?
Rich and gooey Brownies are a great way to get your chocolate fix.
375 g salted butter
375 g dark chocolate (plus 50 g for decoration)
500 g golden caster sugar
225 g plain flour
Line a 30 cm x 20 cm brownie pan with foil.
Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a heavy-based pan over a very low heat. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on the mixture to make sure it doesn’t burn. When melted, remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
Add the chocolate mixture to the bowl containing the eggs and sugar.
Then stir in the flour and combine. You will need to do a bit of efficient stirring at this point to make sure that there are no pockets of flour that have not been incorporated in the mixture.
Pour the mixture into the brownie pan.
Put the pan in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. It is worth checking after 20 minutes to make sure that the brownies don’t get over-cooked. They will be done when the surface is dry and glossy but the inside is still gooey.
Remove the pan from the oven and place on a baking rack to cool. Roughly chop the reserved 50 g of chocolate and sprinkle over the top of the brownie mixture. The heat from the mixture will melt the chocolate and then it will harden as the brownie cools.
Allow the brownie mixture to cool completely before removing it from the pan and cutting into squares.