Red Velvet Cake


350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
350g caster sugar
350g butter, chilled and diced
200ml soured cream
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp red food colouring
500g icing sugar
100g butter
200g cream cheese
½ tsp vanilla essence

1) Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
2) Line three 20cm cake tins with oiled greaseproof paper, then sift some flour over them.
3) In a medium bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.
4) Add the sugar, butter and sour cream. Mix well until the mixture is of fine breadcrumb consistency.
5) Stir the vanilla essence and eggs together.
6) Add this mixture slowly to the breadcrumb batter so it doesn’t curdle, then sprinkle with the food colouring.
7) Mix well, and divide between the three cake tins.
8) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake has come away slightly from the sides of the tin and a fork inserted into the thickest part comes out clean.
9) Leave the sponges to cool for 5 minutes in the tins, then turn two of the sponges upside down on a cooling rack to dry.
10) Turn out the third cake, but leave it right side up (this will be the top).
11) To make icing the cake easier, you can refrigerate the sections once they have cooled a little.
12) While the cakes are cooling, the icing can be started; cream the butter and cream cheese together and sift in the icing sugar. Take care not to overcream or it will become too soft – refrigerate for 10 minutes if this happens.
13) Add vanilla essence and mix until well combined.  
14) Once the cakes are completely cool, layer the cake by sandwiching it together with the icing, reserving half the icing for the topping.
15) Spread the icing on top of the cake and around the sides.
16) Slice and serve.

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