Hannah Drake

The Great British Drake Off: Red Velvet Week

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

In October, we decided to have our first Great British Drake Off. You can read all about Treacle Week and where the idea came from before we dive into our latest challenge. We had so much fun doing it the first time that we decided to do it every quarter with a different main ingredient.

Last time, we both baked with treacle, but it was unofficially ginger week. The only mistake we made was not baking the same type of dessert. Luke made a cake and I made cookies, which didn’t make for fair judging since most people prefer one over the other.

I won in the end, but our judges admitted they prefer cookies over cake. I honestly couldn’t believe it! Luke’s cake was so good. (You can find the recipe for Luke’s cake and my cookies on Treacle Week.)

THE CHALLENGE

It’s Red Velvet week at the Drake household and each baker will need to prepare a signature red velvet bake. The bakers will attempt to create a smooth and silky cake that perfectly captures the rich flavour in a traditional red velvet cake.

THE BAKERS

Luke is a professional construction site manager who has dabbled in baking. He insisted he has baked every type of dessert you can think of. Most people say he’s good at anything he does. Luke can eat a whole batch of chocolate chip cookie dough in one sitting, but he’ll probably regret it later. His favourite thing favourite treat to eat is whatever his wife has just baked. He had no problem wishing aloud that he had brownies for dessert on a random week night. He lives in Birmingham with his wife.

Hannah is an amateur baker who dabbles in construction. She has been baking for as long as she can remember. Hannah once had an order-based bakery from her own kitchen called Bananas that specialised in cupcakes, quick breads, and cookies. She once ate an entire banana cream pie on a dare from her cousin, but insists it was mostly pudding so it wasn’t that impressive. Her favourite thing to bake and eat is chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. She feels chocolate frosting is actual garbage and fiercely believes nothing pairs better than vanilla frosting on chocolate cake. She lives in Birmingham with her husband.

LUKE’S BAKE

Overnight Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls from Well Plated

INGREDIENTS

Cinnamon Rolls:

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons red food colouring

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 package instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Filling

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butte

Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese, softened

  • 3 tablespoons milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

DIRECTIONS

Begin the night before. If mixing by machine: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, butter, food dye, and vanilla extract. Add 2 cups flour, cocoa powder, yeast, and salt. Place buttermilk in a microwave safe measuring cup and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, until it reaches the temperature required for the yeast. (Refer to the package directions for the specific temperature—Red Star Platinum is 120 to 130 degrees F). If the buttermilk curdles when heated, simply whisk it back together. Pour the heated buttermilk into the mixing bowl and stir by hand or with the mixer’s paddle attachment until the ingredients are evenly moistened. Switch to the dough hook, then add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour. Knead dough on low speed for 6 minutes. The dough should be soft, moist, and tacky, but not excessively sticky. If dough is too wet, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until the correct texture is reached. Lightly spray a large, clean bowl with cooking spray, then transfer dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

If mixing by hand: Stir the ingredients together in the order above with a wooden spoon for several minutes, until the dough forms a wet, shaggy mass. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be very sticky and cling to the counter, but use as little flour as possible to prevent the dough from becoming tough. Once kneaded, scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise.

Prepare the filling: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. Melt butter and set aside.

Shape the rolls: Butter a 9x13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 18-inch by 12-inch rectangle, with the longest side closest to you. Brush the dough with melted butter, then sprinkle with the brown sugar-cocoa powder mixture. Starting with the long edge, roll the dough tightly into an 18-inch log. With a a sharp, serrated knife, gently saw the log into 12, 1 1/2-inch wide pieces. Arrange the buns in the prepared baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Bake the rolls: The next day 30 minutes prior to baking, remove rolls from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Place rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls until they are puffed and darken slightly and the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F, about 30 minutes. Check the rolls 20 minutes into baking—if they appear to be browning too quickly, cover the pan with aluminum foil, return the rolls to the oven, and continue baking until complete. Remove the pan from oven, uncover if necessary, and place the pan on a wire rack to cool slightly.

Make the glaze: In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Slowly mix in the sifted powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle over warm rolls and serve immediately.

HANNAH’S BAKE

Red Velvet Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction

INGREDIENTS

Red Velvet Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour (or 2 2/3 all-purpose flour + 1/3 cornstarch, sifted)

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature and separated

  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease two 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans.

Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and vinegar and beat on high for 2 minutes. (Set the egg whites aside.) Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 2-3 additions alternating with the buttermilk. Beat in your desired amount of food coloring just until combined. I use 1-2 teaspoons gel food coloring. Vigorously whisk or beat the 4 egg whites on high speed until fluffy peaks form as pictured above, about 3 minutes. Gently fold into cake batter. The batter will be silky and slightly thick.

Divide batter between cake pans. Bake for 30-32 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the cakes need a little longer as determined by wet crumbs on the toothpick, bake for longer. However, careful not to overbake as the cakes may dry out. Remove cakes from the oven and cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.

Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream/milk, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until completely combined and creamy. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin, more milk if frosting is too thick, or an extra pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.

Assemble and frost: Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard or crumble over finished cake. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread remaining frosting all over the top and sides.

Refrigerate cake for at least 30-60 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake hold its shape when cutting.

THE JUDGES

This time, the judges were Hannah and Luke themselves, who promised to judge fairly.

THE WINNER

Luke was unanimously voted the winner after Hannah’s bake was a miserable fail and never even completed. However, Luke’s cinnamon rolls has a beautiful combination of classic cinnamon roll flavour while still capturing the rich silky flavour of classic red velvet cake.

Sally’s Baking Addiction has the most fantastic recipes and I’ve never had a problem before. I have no idea where I went wrong with this recipe, but it took about 45 minutes to bake, never got a rounded top, fell apart when I tried to take it out of the pan, and the centre completely sunk. I’ll try it again someday.

NEXT ON THE GREAT BRITISH DRAKE OFF

For our spring edition, we’ll likely be trying something with lavender!