Mini Red Velvet cakes

Last Sunday, I had friends over for a late lunch. It was a grey, winter afternoon, perfect for indulging in Italian goodies like rocket salad with pesto sauce and spaghetti alla puttanesca, one of my favorite pasta dishes. I promised one of my friends a red velvet cake, his absolutely favorite cake, for his birthday in November and it took us a while to get together… well, a few months actually! We spent a lovely afternoon together, drank a whole bottle of red wine and finished off the meal with this gluten-free version of the original, decadent red velvet cake. The cake was extremely light and airy and it married perfectly with the slightly tangy, oh so creamy cream cheese frosting. The recipe was adapted from the blog of Joy The Baker, who used the Humming Bird Bakery Cookbook recipe to make his Red Velvet Cupcakes. These mini cakes are gluten-free but they’re not exactly free of all nasties… well, every once in a while, breaking the rules should be aloud, right :-)?

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For the Red Velvet cake (makes 8 two-layered mini cakes, each 6,5 cm in diameter)
60 g butter (preferably bio, room temperature)
185 g sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder (I use Valrhona 100% cacao powder)
1 generous knife tip of red food coloring in powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
120 g buttermilk or kefir
100 g rice flour
50 g corn starch
1 teaspoon gum mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 175°C.

In the bowl of a self-standing mixer (or with electric hand mixer), cream the butter and the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to high speed and add the egg, scrape the sides and mix until well incorporated.

In a separate small bowl, mix the cacao powder and red food coloring. Add it to the batter and mix thoroughly, until completely combined. Add the vanilla extract.

I used food coloring in powder because it gives a more intense, dark red color. You may use gel or liquid food coloring – in this case, use about 2 tablespoons of it. Mix into the cacao powder together with the vanilla to get a thick paste which you then add to the batter and mix thoroughly.

In another bowl, mix together the rice flower, corn starch, gum mix and salt.

Decrease the speed of the mixer to low and add half of the buttermilk (I used kefir). Follow with half of the flour mixture, mix neil well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the remaining half of the buttermilk (or kefir), followed by the remaining flour mixture. Beat on high speed until smooth and well combined.

Turn mixer to low speed and add the baking soda, followed by the white vinegar. Turn to high speed and beat for a few more minutes.

Spread the batter onto a baking sheet of 30×40 cm. Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely.

For the white-chocolate cream cheese frosting
125 g cream cheese
60 g butter (room temperature)115 g quality white chocolate (I use Valrhona’s Jivara white chocolate)
1 teaspoon vanilla
250 g powdered sugar2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

Beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer in a larger bowl until well combined. Add melted and cooled white chocolate and vanilla extract. Mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl, until well blended. Add powdered sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy after each addition. To make the frosting even lighter, add the heavy cream and beat at high speed until light and fluffy.

If you won’t use the frosting immediately, store it in the refridgerator until frosting the cakes.

To assemble the mini red velvet cakes
This gluten-free version of the classic red velvet cake is very light, so before cutting out the mini cake layers with a round cookie/cake cutter, place the entire baking sheet with the cake into the freezer for 20-30 minutes. This will help you cut out perfectly neat circles and avoid crumbling. I used a 6,5 cm round cookie cutter to cut out the cake layers and got 16 layers that gave 8 double-layered mini cakes. You can choose any size or shape that you like.

Place the cream cheese frosting into a piping bag and pipe the frosting on each cake layer. I love piping roses so I chose the star tip for piping. You can be even more creative and frost the cakes from the outside as well to create perfect mini cakes, just like the original size version. Just let your imagination work its magic!

You can also use this same recipe to make cupcakes (makes about 12 cupcakes) or double the recipe to make a 20 cm two-layered cake.

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