RED VELVET CHRISTMAS CAKE WITH CSR SUGAR

Layers of Light Red Velvet Cake, Golden Syrup Buttercream, sweet-tangy, home-made Cranberry Jam with crunchy Meringue and Candied Rosemary leaves.


Red Velvet Cake
Makes a 3 layered 6 inch cake
180g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (315 g) CSR Caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups (375 g) self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
11/4 cup (250ml) buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoon red liquid food colouring
Golden Syrup Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Yields about 3 cups of buttercream
4 egg whites
3/4 cup CSR Caster sugar
300 g unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup CSR Golden Syrup
Cranberry Jam
Makes approx. 2.5 cups
3 cups frozen cranberries, thawed
1 cup CSR Caster sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp grated orange or lemon zest
Red Swirl Meringues kisses
Makes about 25 meringues
1 egg white
¼ cup CSR Caster Sugar
2-3 drops vanilla extract
Red gel food colour
Candied Rosemary leaves6-7 fresh sprigs of Rosemary
1 egg white
4 cup CSR Caster sugar
To make the Red Velvet Cake : Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line the bases of three 6 inch round (base measurement) cake pans with baking paper.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour, cocoa powder and buttermilk, in batches, until well combined. Add the vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and food colouring and stir to combine.
Spoon mixture evenly among the prepared pans. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from oven. Set aside for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the Golden Syrup buttercream :Place the egg whites and sugar in a large bowl that is placed over a saucepan of simmering water (over low heat), and whisk continuously, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the bottom of the bowl is warm to touch
Remove the bowl from the heat and whip on high speed until meringue holds stiff peaks and looks glossy. The bowl should have completely cooled by now.
Add the butter, 2 tablespoon at a time, until thick and fluffy. If it begins to look curdled, continue to whip until it comes back together, before adding in remaining butter.
When the buttercream has come together, add the golden syrup gradually and mix till smooth and well blended.
To make the Cranberry Jam: Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling for 5-10 minutes or until the cranberries become a soft mush and sauce has thickened. Cool to room temperature. Pour into a clean jar and refrigerate until needed.
To make the Red Swirl Meringue Kisses: Preheat oven to 110°C/90°C fan-forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add caster sugar. Beat for 8 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Continue to beat until meringue is glossy with stiff peaks.
Place mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm fluted or plain nozzle and lightly streaked with red gel food colour. Pipe meringue kisses onto prepared trays, allowing 2cm gap between each of them. Bake for 45 minutes or until meringues are firm. Turn off oven. Allow to cool in oven with door slightly ajar.
To make the candied Rosemary leaves: Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the egg white in a small bowl and the caster sugar onto a small plate. Make sure the leaves are dry before you start. If not pat dry with a kitchen towel. Working one at a time, dip each rosemary leaf into the egg white (scrape off excess against the bowl) and then dip into the plate of caster sugar, turning it to ensure an even coat on both sides. Lay the leaves in a single layer on the tray lined with baking paper to dry out. Leave aside for 24 hours, turning once in between.
To assemble : Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or plate. Spread a thin coat of cranberry jam. Take a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and streak it with red gel colour on one side. Fill up the bag with golden syrup buttercream. Pipe buttercream kisses all over the cake layer. Place the second layer and repeat. Repeat with the third layer. Decorate with meringues, crushed candy canes, frozen cranberries (thawed) and candied rosemary leaves.

Baker’s Notes
• I have used 6 inch pans to make 3 layers. You could go with two layers if you are using a larger pan. Alternatively, you could double the recipe.
• Grease pans well because the cake is quite light and needs to be handled gently to avoid breaking.
• Cranberry jam adds to the Christmas feel. If you want to avoid this step, you could use store bought jam.
• Frozen cranberries are available in all major supermarkets. Thaw them before using on the cake.
• If you are not comfortable with making meringues at home, plain vanilla store bought meringues can be used to decorate the cake.
• Cranberry jam and meringues can be made up to a week in advance. Candied rosemary can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cake layers can made up to two days ahead, individually wrapped in cling film and stored in the refrigerator.
• Buttercream can be made up to 3 days ahead. Before using, bring it to room temperature and whip it a few times till fluffy and smooth.