I am a nurse by day, cook in the evening and TV series addict by night. One time on Grey’s Anatomy, the surgeons were discussing cakes and they mentioned something called a Red Velvet cake. I had never heard of this in my life and therefore was immediately intrigued.  I found a recipe online ( http://www.joyofbaking.com/RedVelvetCake.html) and it involved coconut, cocoa powder and red food dye- I HAD to make this cake.

As I made the flour mixture I was wondering what all the fuss was about- it was piss easy…seriously, a piece of cake (I guess literally too.) Until I made the dye and buttermilk mixture.

The recipe said to whisk the milk and dye together. So I brought out my trusty electric handwhisk , placed it in the bowl and WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHIIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! SPLATTER!  red food colouring ended up everywhere. My kitchen looked like a scene in the Texas chainsaw massacre. I then tried yto wipe it up- readers, never try and swipe at a drop of food colouring as it becomes a humungous smudge of food colouring, turning your white surfaces into pink ones. Oh well, from massacre to strawberry-shortcake-land was a marked improvement and after some scrubbing all was back to normal. Until I got a good look at my cat. She happened to be sleeping on the kitchen windowsill and was completely spattered with dye…it actually looked kind of cool, but I obviously couldn’t leave her that way. There was no way in hell that my cat would let me scrub her, so I tried to brush it out, but like a variation to what happened to the white counter happened to my cat- she ended up with long pink streaks on her body! I thought, ah, she can lick it off herself later, for now she can look like a fan of the Sex Pistols. Strangely enough, there wasn’t a trace of the stuff on myself.

When I finally got the mix in the tin and baked it, the whole house smelled glorious. It was moist and fantastic. However, the next time I make this dish I will line my entire kitchen with drop cloths  and get in touch with NASA and order a small space suit for the cat.


A  reader of this blog gave me some tips about it:

1)  for a natural red velvet  use beetroot juice, because if you boil it it tends to darken. Peel the vegetable, dice it, sprinkle lemon juice over it and whizz the life out of it, then strain.

2) You normally need 6-9 tablespoons of beetroot juice to colour your cake – and you won’t get the same bright red as you do using food colouring.

3) Remember that beetroot juice is chemically different to food colouring as the former is highly acidic and very bitter (so you will need to sweeten it). These may affect the consistency and rise of the sponge so you might end up facing some red velvet fails as you try and retry till you reach your desired balance.