Decadent recipe for Red Velvet Cake, or cupcakes if you prefer

2 extra large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup (180ml) canola oil
1/4 cup (60g) melted butter
3/4 cup (180ml) lukewarm full cream milk
1 x 580g pack Ina Paarman’s Red Velvet Cake

125g butter at room temperature
250g cream cheese or smooth cottage cheese
+- 1/4 cup (60ml) full cream milk
1 x 250g Ina Paarman’s Vanilla Icing Kit

1 cup (250ml) sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) water
1t (5ml) lemon juice
2t (10ml) red colour
Baking paper

100g white chocolate

How to
Adjust oven rack to the middle position.

Preheat oven to 180C. Butter 2 x 20cm or 22cm cake tins generously and line bases with baking paper or spray with a non-stick cooking spray.

Beat eggs, oil and melted butter for 1 minute on high speed until well blended. Add lukewarm milk and beat briefly on high speed.

Add the contents of the pack and gently mix in by hand with a spatula. Mix only until combined. It is important not to over mix.

Divide mixture evenly between the two prepared pans, and level the tops with the back of a tablespoon. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes. Cake is done when a thin-bladed knife inserted in the centre comes out clean or cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan.

Cool cakes in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn out on a cooling rack. Do not ice until cakes are completely cool.

Cream butter until soft. Add cream cheese and beat lightly until smooth.

Add milk and beat in.

Add Icing Mix and fold in with a spatula or on low speed with a mixer until evenly blended. Add a little more milk to soften the icing if too firm.

Sandwich cakes together with one third of the icing. Use the remaining icing to coat the top and sides of the cake.

Tear off an 85cm long strip of baking paper. Mark 2 lines 6cm apart in the middle of the paper along the length. In the remaining space on the paper, using the bottom of a water glass, draw circles for decoration if making cupcakes. Put 5-6 ice blocks in a glass of cold water.

In a small heavy based saucepan combine the ingredients for the caramel and cook over medium-low heat, tilting the pot constantly, to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat and boil without stirring.

When the syrup thickens and takes on a darker shade dip a metal teaspoon into the mixture and then immediately into the ice cold water. Keep it in the water for 10 counts. Test by feeling the caramel. It must be hard. If still soft, cook a little longer, testing at regular intervals. Remove from the heat and wait for the bubbles to subside completely. Flatten the baking paper on the work surface (glue the corners down with a little icing).

Rinse a small heatproof jug with boiling water and dry completely, pour the hot caramel into the jug, stand a metal spoon in the jug to conduct the intense heat. Drizzle the caramel in a zig-zag pattern moving along between the lines. Use the leftover caramel for the circles.

While still pliable but cooler, wrap the red caramel collar around the cake. Trim off excess overlap with a pair of kitchen scissors, only before you serve the cake. Peel away baking paper. Make white chocolate curls, using a peeler. Freeze chocolate curls for 10 minutes and then pile on top of the cake (using a fork). If making the cake in advance, store it open in the fridge where the air is dry, as caramel is hydroscopic.

Bake cake mixture for only 15 minutes in paper cups, pipe with cream cheese icing and top with red caramel free form decorations.

Use the left over caramel to make decorations. Use a water glass to draw 5cm pencil circles on baking paper. Fill the circles with caramel squiggles. Leave to set and harden, before peeling away from paper and decorating the cupcakes. Or alternatively, keep on the baking paper and overwrap with clingfilm. Store in the freezer as long as you need to. Bring to room temperature before unwrapping to stop dampness beading on the caramel.

By: Ina Paarman

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