- 150g (5oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 300g (10oz) caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large free-range eggs, separated
- 250g (9oz) plain flour
- 25g (1oz) cornflour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 2tbsp cocoa
- 250ml (9fl oz) buttermilk
- 2tbsp red food colouring
- 1tsp white wine vinegar
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- for the red velvet cake frosting
- 375g (13oz) full-fat Philadelphia cream cheese
- 75g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 450g (1lb) icing sugar, sifted
- you will need
- 2 x 23cm (9in) sandwich tins, about 5cm (2in) deep, with their sides buttered and floured and bases lined with baking parchment
Heat the oven to 180 C, 160 C fan, 350 F, gas 4. Cream the butter and sugar together, beating until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the egg yolks one by one, beating well after each addition.
Mix the flour, cornflour, baking powder and cocoa together. In another bowl, mix the buttermilk with the red food colouring. Sift one third of the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture, pour in a third of the buttermilk and mix together until just combined. Repeat this process until you have incorporated all the ingredients.
Whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt in a large, clean bowl until you have stiffish peaks. Add one quarter to the cake mix and fold in. Add the remaining egg whites in three stages, folding in gently until just incorporated – leave as much air in the mix as possible.
In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda until it bubbles up, then gently fold this into the cake mix. Quickly pour the cake mix into the tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. When cooked, leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then tip on to wire racks and allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and the butter together until combined, then add the icing sugar in stages and beat well. When the cakes are cool, spread a layer of frosting on top of one of the cakes, and top with the second cake. Spread the rest of the frosting on the sides and the top of the cake, and leave to rest for an hour before serving. This cake will keep in the fridge for 3 days; bring back to room temperature before serving. The un-iced sponges can also be frozen for up to a month.
Accuracy and careful measuring is important here – follow this recipe to the letter for a perfect light, moist result