My fifth Bake Box of the year arrived last week and in typical fashion I got rather over excited about the contents. If you've not heard of Bake Box before it's a bi-monthly subscription service for all the baking lovers out there. Once you sign up, every two months you receive a themed box filled with bakeware items, a specialist decorative item and 6 recipe cards to inspire you. You can read my other Bake Box posts here, here and here.
This month's theme was New York and inside the box was:
- A giant cupcake mould
- A mini donut mould
- A whoopie pie mould
- Blue food colouring
- New York themed cookie cutters
- Chocolate decoration sheet
I had a few favourite items in this box including the mini donut pan, giant cupcake mould and the coookie cutters!
I decided to make the blue velvet cake as I thought it looked really pretty and impressive. I had a few friends coming round and I thought it would really impress them. I followed the same sponge recipe from the Bake Box but I changed the decoration and the buttercream. That's the great thing about Bake Box, it doesn't just provide items and recipes, it also inspires you to bake new things.
To make the sponge I started by sieving 400g plain flour, 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder into a bowl.
In another bowl I mixed together 400ml buttermilk, 3 eggs, 2 tsp cider vinegar and 2 tsp vanilla extract.
The blue food colouring was supplied in the Bake Box, and I also decided to use my Wilton easier layer cake pans which I lined and greased.
In a third bowl I creamed together 350g butter and 350g caster sugar. I then added 1 1/2 tbsp of the blue food colouring. I definitely added way too much as my cake turned out bluer than I wanted, so I would suggest adding 1 tbsp or even 3/4 tbsp. It will depend on how potent your food colouring is to how much you need to use.
I added the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the bowl in thirds, one at a time, and mixed between each addition.
I seperated the batter into the four greased and lined pans. I always make a hole in the middle as it stops the cakes from 'doming' too much in the middle.
I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes, and they were definitely bluer than I wanted them to be! More like a midnight blue - hence the name of the cake! I left them to cool.
To make the cream cheese frosting I started by mixing together 600g icing sugar and 100g butter. Then I added 250g full fat cream cheese and 1 tsp vanilla and mixed it well with an electric mixer. I put it in the fridge to chill.
I'm not the most talented with fondant icing so I decided to decorate the cake with some blue, white and red meringues in keeping with the American theme. I followed a Meringue Girls recipe and started by heating the sugar in the oven on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 5 minutes. To find out the weight of sugar to use, weigh your egg whites, then double the sugar weight.
Meanwhile I whipped up the egg whites (I had 3) with 3/4 tsp cream of tartar until stiff peaks formed.
I prepared the piping bags whilst the sugar was in the oven. I turned them upside down and painted stripes of red food colouring on one, and blue food colouring on the other.
I continued to whisk the egg whites with an electric hand mixer and added the warm sugar a spoonful at a time. When it was all mixed in, I kept mixing for 5 minutes until I could rub the meringue between my fingers and could not feel any grains.
I halved the meringue and put it into the prepared piping bags. I piped it out onto baking trays. It took me a few tries to get the kisses neat, and the recipe made way more than I needed for the cake, but they were so yummy it was ok with me!
I baked the meringues on 90C/200F (it's hard to convert this into Gas Mark as it's less than a half) for 40 minutes.
I trimed the edges of the sponges as needed then started to stack them, spreading the cream cheese frosting between each layer. I piped the cream cheese frosting on top for a neat finish, then sprinkled some of the crumbs from trimming the sponges on top.
Finally I decorated the top of the cake with the meringues. Both the cake and the spare meringues went down really well with my friends - despite making everyone's mouths blue! Thankfully I was told it was completely worth it. The little meringues are amazing and they just melt in the mouth, definitely a recipe I'll use again both on their own and to decorate cakes.
I'm linking this cake up with Bake of the Week hosted by Casa Costello.
And with The Food Calendar hosted by Charlotte's Lively Kitchen, this would be a great bake for a Macmillan Coffee Morning.
And with the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary, as I used leftove egg white that I had in the freezer to make the meringues.
Disclaimer: I am sent the Bake Box free of charge, all opinions are my own.
Midnight Blue Velvet Cake
- 400g Plain flour
- 2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 1 1/2 tbsp Cocoa powder
- 400ml Buttermilk
- 3 Eggs
- 2 tsp Cider vinegar
- 3 tsp Vanilla extract
- 450g Butter
- 350g Caster sugar
- 3/4 - 1 tbsp depending on strength Blue food colouring
- 600g Icing sugar
- 250g Cream cheese
- 3 Egg whites
- Double the weight of your egg whites Caster sugar
- Red food colouring
- 3/4 tsp Cream of tartar
To make the sponge sieve the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into a bowlIn another bowl mix together the buttermilk, eggs, cider vinegar and 2 tsp of the vanilla extractIn a third bowl cream together 350g of the butter and the caster sugar. Then add the blue food colouring, add enough for a deep blue colourAdd the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the bowl in thirds, one at a time, and mix between each addition.Seperated the batter into four greased and lined pansBake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes, then turn them out of the pans and leave them to coolTo make the cream cheese frosting mix together the icing sugar and 100g of the butter. Then add the cream cheese and 1 tsp of the vanilla. Mix well with an electric mixer then put it in the fridge to chillTo make the meringues heat the caster sugar in the oven on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 5 minutes. To find out the weight of sugar to use, weigh your egg whites, then double the sugar weightWhip up the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks formedPrepare the piping bags by turning them upside down and painting stripes of red food colouring on one, and blue food colouring on the otherWhen the sugar is done, continue to whisk the egg whites with an electric hand mixer and add the warm sugar a spoonful at a time. When it is all mixed in, keep mixing for 5 minutes until you can rub the meringue between your fingers and cannot feel any grainsHalve the meringue and put it into the prepared piping bags. Pipe it out onto lined baking traysBake the meringues on 90C/200F (it's hard to convert this into Gas Mark as it's less than a half) for 40 minutesTrim the edges of the sponges as needed then started to stack them, spreading the cream cheese frosting between each layer. Pipe the cream cheese frosting on top for a neat finish, then sprinkled some of the crumbs from trimming the sponges on topDecorate the top of the cake with the meringues