Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Halloween is just around the corner and I decided to make a cake instead. A simple cake actually. None of those cakes with colorful fondant decor; that's not my palate. You should know how I love my cakes. Dense, moist, not sugary sweet, no fake coloring and most importantly flavorful.
I had been scrolling thru' Pinterest for ideas and this Black Velvet Cake lit the light bulb. Gizzi Erskine and the great Nigella Lawson both have their own spins to it. I think I stole a bit from both and combined it into this version. A velvet cake, black or red, is not a velvet cake with a traditional ingredient: the sour cream. It is that tangy aftertaste that symbolized velvet cakes.
I am not using any food coloring nor "charcoal" flavored powder. I am using black cocoa powder. This is what they are using to make Oreo. There are actually 4 types of cocoa powder in the market. Dutch-processed, natural, raw cacao and black. Dutch-processed meaning that the cocoa powder has been alkalized to a neutral PH level to give that extra chocolatey taste and look. Black cocoa powder is heavily alkalized, bringing the PH level to 8! Hence, the intense shade of black.
Alkalized cocoa powder recipes do not require any leavening agent. So, for this cake, the cake will still rise and crack during the baking process even without any leavening agent added because of it's PH 8 level. Keep this little tip in mind and you will be an expert in cocoa powder. If you can't get your hands on black cocoa powder, you can still use Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
My secret ingredient for this recipe is ghee. Yes! It adds an extra oomph to this cake as compared to butter. Why don't we get started with the recipe? Here I wish you lovely fine people a very Happy Halloween!
Inspired by Gizzi Erskine and Nigella Lawson
(Make one 8 inch cake)
Ghee, 188g + More For Greasing
Guinness Stout, 188g
Black Cocoa Powder, 57g
Demerara Sugar, 75g
Dark Muscovado Sugar, 75g
Sour Cream, 113g
Pure Vanilla Paste, 1 TSP
Unbleached All Purpose Flour, 206g
Sea Salt, Pinch
Cream Cheese, 150g
Demerara Sugar Powder, 50g
Heavy Whipping Cream, 94g
Raw Cacao Powder, For Dusting
8" Round Spring Form Cake Pan
Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius or 350 fahrenheit.
Grease cake pan with ghee, lined with parchment paper and grease the paper with some more ghee.
In a skillet over medium-low heat, melt ghee.
It will start "singing".
Once the "singing" is subtle, add Guinness stout.
*Be careful as it may splash*.
It will start to bubble rapidly.
Once the bubbling is subtle, add in the cocoa powder and sugar.
Remove from heat and stir to combine well.
Keep stirring until the sugar has melted.
In a large bowl, whisk sour cream, egg and vanilla until well combined.
Add this mixture into the ghee mixture gradually while still stirring.
In another bowl, combine flour and salt well.
Fold the flour mixture into ghee mixture in 1/3 portions at a time until everything is incorporated well.
Transfer the cake batter into the prepared cake pan.
Wack into the oven and bake for 40 mins or it pass the skewer test.
The center will rise and crack despite not using any leavening agents. It is due to the high PH level of black cocoa powder.
Set aside to cool down completely.
Once the cake is cooled, transfer into a cake stand or a serving plate.
Prepare the frosting.
In a large bowl, add cream cheese.
Using a hand or stand mixer, whip until light and fluffy.
Add in demerara sugar powder.
*To make demerara sugar powder, simply blitz until powder forms in a spice grinder or blender.*
Continue whipping until well combined.
Add in the whipping cream.
Whip until stiff peaks form.
Spread this frosting on top of the cake.
Lastly, dust with some cocoa powder.
Slice and serve warm or chilled.
Here's the recipe video: