Queens of the Stone Age have a new album out, … Like Clockwork, and it rules. In my world, this triggers certain behaviours that are to be tolerated, nay encouraged. These include spontaneous woops of joy, doing a little dance and the baking of a bad ass cake. Here is the bad ass cake. I love a red velvet sponge and I liked the idea of taking this sweet bake to the dark side with black cream cheese frosting and a little QOTSA tongue-in-cheek. Plus, for Josh Homme, it has to be red; all hail the king of the gingers!
The red velvet recipe is taken from Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy. I used the measurements and dimensions for the medium tier of her three-tier red velvet cake. I then went rogue with the rock cake decorating, see my Nirvana Smiley for more of the same.
for the cake…
- 350g unsalted butter, softened
- 350g caster sugar
- 6 medium eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- small pinch of salt
- 300g plain flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 15g baking powder
- 50ml red colouring (I use a tsp of Sugarflair’s Christmas Red paste mixed with 50ml of water, but whichever brand you use, make sure it is artificial, the natural colourings won’t give a strong enough colour to the sponge)
for the cream cheese frosting…
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 600g icing sugar
- 75g cream cheese
- a few drops of vanilla essence to taste
- black food colouring (I use a Sugarflair paste colour called Liquorice)
for the decorating…
- 2 packs of red fondant icing
- 1 pack of black fondant icing
- edible glue
you will need – 23cm round cake tin and a 9″ cake board
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 /180°C and then line the base, and around the edge, of your cake tin with baking parchment. Here’s a cool tip, when lining the edge of a round tin, cut out a long strip a centimetre or so taller than your tin, then fold over this excess and cut little slits along this folded edge. Grease the tin with a little butter and then stick your strip around the tin. The folded edge at the base makes the paper sit flush with the sides and then you just have to stick the circle you’ve cut out for the base on top of the cut out flaps for a perfectly lined tin. Anyway, I digress!
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs, vanilla and salt with half of the flour. Next, add the remaining flour, cocoa powder and baking powder making sure that this is all combined really well. Now add your red colouring. How much you add depends on how red you want your sponge to be, but with this recipe, 50ml of a great quality, artificial red colouring gives a deep, red wine shade, but by all means judge this by eye and personal preference. Once this is all thoroughly mixed through, spoon the batter into the tin and bake in the oven for an hour and fifteen minutes.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to completely cool. While the cake cools, it’s time to make your frosting. This is more of a buttercream than a traditional cream cheese frosting, but when decorating a cake with fondant icing you need something a little thicker to act as an adhesive for the fondant, and this recipe works really well. Cream together the butter and icing sugar then beat in the cream cheese and vanilla. Then add the black food colouring in tiny amounts until you’re happy with the colour and chill this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
- Slice the cake in half with a serrated knife then stick the bottom half of the cake to the cake board with a tsp of the buttercream. Sandwich the two halves together using about six heaped tablespoons of the buttercream and then cover the top and sides of the cake with a smooth layer of the remaining buttercream. At this point, pop the cake in the fridge for half an hour to harden up the buttercream, this prevents your fondant from slipping and sliding around during the next stage.
- Roll out the red fondant to a thickness of about 4mm and lay this over the cake, smoothing as you go. Cut off any excess and then carry on smoothing the fondant with a cake smoother if you have one, if not the palms of your hands will work fine. Roll out the black fondant and cut out a black ring a little smaller than your cake’s circumference followed by a swimming sperm. Now there’s a sentence you don’t expect to find on a baking blog! Cut a gap in the black ring for said sperm, and then stick both onto the top of the cake using edible glue. And you’re done!
You can of course leave the frosting / buttercream white, but I just love that the red and black theme continues inside the cake when you slice into it. Way more rock and roll too!