I never knew there was a difference between Vanilla and French vanilla. I do use Vanilla beans and I do use vanilla essence and extrace, but generally I use vanilla essence. I leave the vanilla beans for the Panna Cotta and I make my own vanilla essence by steeping the vanilla beans and the pods in vodka .
But then I opened this bottle of the Ossoro French vanilla!!!
And there suddenly was an burst of dessert aromas in my kitchen!!
There is a definite difference between the French Vanilla essence -the real deal and the commercial ,Vanilla Essence which is artificial. With the cheaper version,there’s always a synthetic smell. But this real one, it smells almost like you used a whole lot of vanilla beans.
No trace of synthetic chemical esters,not too strong ,milder in comparison ,but yes, it’s definitely Vanilla.
I decided to use Ossoro French Vanilla Essence in my eggless red velvet cake.
Now if you do know me and read my blog regularly, you will know that I am not very fond of eggless baking. Only because a lot of my friends , family and readers of the blog do not use eggs so I do make eggless bakes too.
I modified my recipe using the egg replacement powder which results in a slightly dense cake as compared to the cake with eggs.
So then I completely eliminated eggs from the equation and made a cake with buttermilk to get a soft spongy texture.
You can use this as a single layer cake and the best frosting that goes with this cake is a cream cheese frosting.
The tartness of the frosting contrasts with the sweet and very mild chocolate flavour of the red velvet cake and balances out the sweetness to give a really nice taste.
If you’re frosting with whipped cream or butter cream, the cake will become too sweet because it needs something to cut through the richness and sweetness. The original all American recipe calls for almost two cups of sugar that I have gradually brought down to one and one fourth cup. Lower amount of sugar makes the texture change.
I use soft butter at room temperature ,it’s perfectly fine if the butter does not melt while blending the batter.
This batter is good for 2- 6 inch cake tins and you can make a 4 layer cake with it. Of course, if you increase the size of the cake tin you will have fewer layers.
If you do make a four layer cake make sure you dowel the layers with a wooden dowel or with at least two to three thick plastic straws so that the cake layers do not shift. You must know that cream cheese frosting is not a very firm frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
100 gram unsalted butter( I use Amul)
100 grams cream cheese I use Mooz or Philadelphia.
(Philadelphia cream cheese gives the perfect texture, but it is a task to source it in Colaba)
600-700 Grams sifted icing sugar
5 to 6 drops Ossoro French vanilla essence
Place the soft butter and the cream cheese in a bowl and whisk together with the vanilla essence. Slowly add the sugar a little at a time. Whisk until the consistency of the cream cheese frosting is of spreadable type.
If you are using Philadelphia then you might need to use less sugar or you can add a couple of drops of milk.
Place the frosting in an airtight container and chill until required.
Eggless Red Velvet Cake with Ossoro
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1 1/4 cup ground or caster sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cocoa powder -bluebird, cadbury weikfield or Hershey’s (not the Malaysian cocoa)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup or 60 GM’s soft butter
1/4 cup or 60 mils vegetable oil
2 cups milk at room temp
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp or 10 drops ossoro French Vanilla essence
1-2 tsp liquid gel red food colour -amerigel
Grease and flour 2 -6 inch or 7 inch cake tins.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
In a large bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, corn flour ,salt , ground sugar, baking soda and cocoa powder.
Make sure you mix them in well.
In a large bowl place the two cups of milk and add in the vinegar and allow it to sit for 2 minutes.
Now pour the oil and whisk in the soft butter. Also blend in the food colour… but start with a teaspoon at first. I always add 1 1/2 tap of the gel.colour.
Add in the French vanilla essence and mix.
Into the wet ingredients bowl, gently fold in the dry ingredients . You may need to add in a little more food colour.
Scrape and divide the batter into the two tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
Check the centre with a toothpick to see if the cake is done.
The toothpick must be inserted at an angle, never straight.
The toothpick will come out clean or with very few crumbs.
Allow to cool on the wire rack and then run a knife around the cake and invert.
Cool on the wire rack.
Slit in half by slicing through the centre.
Place a little frosting on your serving platter, Keep one half of a cake flat side down ,spread a little frosting and place the second half on top. Repeat tell you get to the 4th layer, but make sure you place the fourth layer in such a way that the flat bottom is on the top. That flat top makes it much easier to Frost.
Sandwich the layers with the cold cream cheese frosting. Cover with a layer of crumb coat and allow to sit in the fridge till at least an hour then spread the remaining frosting on top . Decorate with sprinkles, edible glitter, edible flowers or nuts.
Enjoy the cake with coffee or tea and friends and family.
The reason you need to use the brands of cocoa mentioned is because the red color comes best with these brands.
When I make this cake for family and friends, I very rarely Frost the sides. I serve this as a naked cake, because a little cream cheese frosting goes a long way.