Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Red Velvet Rose

When is A Rose Not a Rose?

red velvet rose 1

Rose and I listen to our fans and so many of you loved reading the Bakepedia Test Kitchen’s experience with her Polish Princess and the Renée Fleming Golden Chiffon that Rose asked us if we could do the same for some Valentine’s Day offerings. Looking through her new The Baking Biblethe choices were obvious! The Red Velvet Rose seen here and also her deep, dark chocolaty Chocolate Pavarotti with Wicked Good Ganache. Into the kitchen we went and here is our play by play. In our opinion this rose offers so much more than the ones from the corner florist.

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I happened to own the rose cake pan, so I was ready to jump in. If you need to order one, check out Nordic Ware for this pretty pan and many other decorative choices.

As always, read through a recipe first to know you have everything you need. The first thing that jumped out at me was the listing of liquid red food coloring. I fired off an email to Rose. How come, I wondered? Why not gel? Rose said the small amount of liquid helps the recipe’s ratios and that she also prefers the color it imparts. Then I noticed that the ingredients listed the choice of cake flour or all-purpose. That is not typical that one can be subbed one for the other, so I asked her about that, too. She says she prefers the cake flour as it yields a more tender cake, but as long as your flour is bleached and the correct weight, that the center tube provides a more forgiving situation and either will work. (Note that she says she prefers the cake flour, so that’s what I used).

red velvet rose 3

Other than that, this is a short and straightforward recipe in the world of RLB (Rose Levy Beranbaum). I liked that she explains that the cake will dome slightly and that she does not recommend any trimming after the cake has cooled. Allowing the cake to stay in its natural shape better mimics the rounded bottom of an actual rose. So smart. Also, she mentions a do-ahead for the sauce. I’m always up for anything I can do ahead. Problem is that I forgot to allow the thawing time for the frozen berries. More on that later.

First, let’s talk about pan prep. Note that she suggests baking spray with flour (such as Bakers Joy Cake Pan Spray). I would elevate that to a necessity. In our experience baking spray with flour will give you the best unmolding results with all decoratively shaped pans. It can be the difference between cakes that unmold perfectly, ones that don’t unmold at all and ones that only partially unmold. This last situation possibly the most frustrating of all. We use Bakers Joy, spray the inside of the pan, and then go in with a fine silicone brush and make sure there is an even coat in all of the nooks and crannies.

The batter came together exactly as she describes in my stand mixer. Don’t skimp where she says, “raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 1½ minutes…” There are times when over-mixing is an issue (well, “over” mixing would never be good) but the point is that some mixing is necessary to build up the structure of the cake. 1 ½ minutes reads on paper as a brief period of time. Actually mixing for that long is actually a stretch of time. Don’t skimp. And pay attention to speed. A true high speed at this point would over-mix the batter. Do remember to lower the speed when proceeding to add remaining ingredients. Your walls will thank you.

The cake baked in the exact time frame suggested. With any kind of “ring” pan – that is, a cake that has a center hole – make sure you are testing the cake in the middle of the cake part. So insert your bamboo skewer or toothpick in the cake equally distanced from the outer and inner metal pan parts. Cooling decorative pans is particular as well. You want to cool the cake a bit, but not too much. It will best unmold if slightly warm, but not hot or cold. Too hot and you run the risk of serious breakage. Too cold and it might stick to the pan.

Now, that glaze! Love that we can make a brilliantly colored and flavored raspberry glaze using frozen berries. All of the ingredients for this cake are available year round, which makes it easy to make anytime. Give yourself time to defrost the berries at room temperature. Why? Because heating them might cook them and then you would ruin the fresh flavor. When Rose says, “press the berries to force out all the juice,” she really means it. To get the amount of liquid we need you must be ruthless and press, press, press. And use a very fine strainer so that all of the seeds are left behind.

The cake is pretty as is. Then when you start to brush it with the glaze the cake color deepens and becomes even richer and sexier. The sensuous nature of the rose shape, delicate cocoa flavored cake, and glossy red, fresh fruity glaze is a simple yet elegant combination. Voila! I give you our version of Rose’s rose cake! We set up our photo shoot to look just like hers. What do you think? Time to get that rose pan, eh?

Excerpted from THE BAKING BIBLE© 2014 by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Baking Bible Jacket

Plan Ahead Make the raspberry glaze several hours ahead.

Special Equipment One 10 cup metal rose (or other shape) fluted tube pan, coated with baking spray with flour

Serves 10 to 12

Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C

Baking Time 45 to 55 minutes

(Rose’s words):I couldn’t resist the temptation to shape this bright red cake into a red red rose! Because frosting would hide the beautiful petal contours, I chose instead to enhance the color with a raspberry glaze, which keeps the cake moist as well. To complete the shape of a rose, this cake is formulated to dome so that the bottom is rounded and the sides are elevated slightly above the serving plate.

Plan Ahead Make the raspberry glaze several hours ahead.

Special Equipment One 10 cup metal rose (or other shape) fluted tube pan, coated with baking spray with flour


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Preheat the Oven Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Mix the Liquid Ingredients In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites, red food coloring, and vanilla just until lightly combined. (Caution: Be careful with the food coloring; it stains effectively, but also unmercifully.)

Mix the Dry Ingredients In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt.

Make the Batter In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the sugar, butter, and oil on medium speed for 2 minutes. The mixture will be smooth and creamy. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 1½ minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture to the batter in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small spatula.

Bake the Cake Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted between the tube and the sides comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake will be domed above the rim of the pan and the sides should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

Cool and Unmold the Cake Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert it onto a wire rack that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray.

NOTES If you do not want to use red food coloring, you may substitute an equal amount of beet juice, although the color will not be as vibrant. Roast the well-washed, unpeeled beets, with an inch of root and stems intact, in an aluminum foil package at 350°F/175°C for about 45 minutes for medium beets or up to about 1 hour and 15 minutes for larger ones. Remove the beets and pour the juice from the foil into a small container.

For more chocolate flavor, you can use up to ¼ cup/0.7 ounce/21 grams cocoa, sifted before measuring, decreasing the flour by the same amount.

Raspberry Sauce

Makes ¾ cup/177 ml/7.5 ounces/211 grams

raspberry sauce


Make the Raspberry Sauce In a medium strainer suspended over a deep bowl, thaw the raspberries completely. This will take several hours. (To speed thawing, place the strainer and bowl in an oven with a pilot light or turn on the oven light.) Press the berries to force out all the juice. There should be about ½ cup/118 ml/4.5 ounces/128 grams of juice. Set aside the raspberries.

In a small saucepan (or in a 2 cup microwavable measure with a spout, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray), boil the juice over medium-low heat until it is reduced to 2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/1 ounce/30 grams. If using the saucepan, pour the syrup into a glass measure with a spout, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, to stop the cooking and to cool.

Puree and strain the raspberries with a food mill fitted with the fine disk, or use a finemesh strainer suspended over a bowl to remove all of the seeds. (Raspberry seeds are tiny and can pass through most food mills. Only the finest strainer will remove all of the seeds.) There should be ½ cup/118 ml/4 ounces/113 grams of puree. Stir in the reduced raspberry syrup and lemon juice. There should be about ⅔ cup/158 ml/5 ounces/145 grams raspberry sauce. (If there is less, simply add proportionately less sugar. The correct amount of sugar is half the volume of the puree.) Stir the sugar into the sauce until it dissolves.

The sauce can be stored for 10 days refrigerated or for 1 year frozen. It can be thawed and refrozen at least three times without flavor loss.

Glaze the Cake Using a removable tart pan bottom or two large pancake turners, transfer the cooled cake onto a serving plate. Slip a few pieces of parchment under the cake. Brush the entire cake with ½ cup/118 ml/4.7 ounces/135 grams of the sauce. Remove the strips.

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream. If desired, use the remaining sauce to drizzle on the plates.

Store Airtight: room temperature, 1 day; refrigerated, 3 days; frozen, 2 months.


Highlights for Success

Frozen berries must be used to make the sauce because freezing breaks down some of the cell structure, which releases some of the berries’ liquid, making it possible to thicken this liquid while preserving the freshness of the uncooked pulp. Be sure to use frozen berries with no sugar added. The juices from berries in syrup cannot be reduced as much because the sugar starts to caramelize.

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2 Responses to Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Red Velvet Rose

  1. Lundi June 21, 2015 at 7:07 am #

    Hi. Looks like a really lovely cake. Only problem is the raspberry sauce ingredients is a repeat of the batter ingredients. Could you please add the ingredients for the raspberry sauce? Many thanks!!

    • Dede Wilson June 21, 2015 at 10:13 am #

      Lundi, thank you for pointing that out. It is now edited. Enjoy!

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