Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Red Velvet Cake

Valentine's Day is just days away. What better way to celebrate it than with a Red Velvet cake. Well, it was the last Valentines season when I first tried my hand at Red Velvet cup cakes and my husband loved it. I think he loved the cream cheese frosting more. Valentine's day is normally not a big affair at our home, but I am still excited over trying something exciting to bake or make.

I baked it from my favorite recipe below. I started out with making a 2 layered cake, but one cake got stuck badly, so instead made up cake balls from it, and just a single layer cake with the other. Ended up with not so smooth cream cheese frosting. Actually I did not get a chance to smooth the icing as 3 adults were hovering over me to get away so they can dig into it. So it wasn't surprising when it was over in a matter of minutes.

This is the recipe from pinchmysalt blog.

Red Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or three 8-inch round cake pans.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.  In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go.  Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
4. Make sure you have cake pans buttered, floured, and nearby.  In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda.  Yes, it will fizz!  Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine.  Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check early, cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan.  Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost with buttercream or cream cheese icing (recipe below).
Recipe Notes: *Sift cake flour once before measuring, then sift again with the other dry ingredients per recipe instructions. Wear an apron and be careful with the red food coloring. As you’re mixing the cake batter, use a spatula to scrape down the bowl frequently throughout the entire process. To mix flour and buttermilk, use cut and fold method, instead of the mixer. It makes for a softer cake.
Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract.  Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.  If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).
Recipe Notes: If you prefer a sweeter and/or stiffer frosting, more powdered sugar can be added (up to four cups). But remember, the more sugar you add, the less you’ll be able to taste the tangy cream cheese!

Happy Baking!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Welcoming Back Ryan

This new year started with good news. One of my colleagues, Ryan, who was on disability after a major accident, for over an year, is returning back to work. I wrote about him a while back on this blog here.

Today was his first day back to work and we wanted to do something special to welcome him. For my part, I made this banner. Everyone got something including balloons, donuts, cake, brownies and some amazing cake pops. I wish I had clicked a picture of the set-up.

Well, this is wishing Ryan and his family all the best.

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