"Did someone say...CAKE?"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmLFmp5kJCk&feature=related (Paste into search bar, Blogspot is a natural link-killer)
As the youtube clip above of my favorite children's cartoon shows, everyone, (including the grumpy teacher Mr. Ratburn)loves a good piece of cake.
The other day, a good friend of mine was approaching a very important birthday--her 16th. In order to make it special, I asked her if she could have any flavor birthday cake she wanted, which would it be? She said "red velvet" and thus, I went to the internet to look for a red velvet cake recipe.
I came across the following recipe courtesy of "Cake Man Raven," world renowned southern baker and confectionery king. I made small amends/additions to the recipe, changing parts of the process that I thought weren't quite right, but overall, I was pleased with the recipe, and as you'll see by the pictures below, the cake turned out great.
Vegetable oil for the pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (BUT I used around 2 and 3/4, 3 cups of Cake flour, it makes the cake lighter and more moist.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (I used around 2 teaspoons, 1 gives nearly no chocolate flavor in the end)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)(really just enough to turn it red, don't let a recipe tell you how much you need, put in a little, mix, and evaluate.)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Below, the greatest food coloring set ever. Gels>liquid drops.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans.
Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Then, add the sugar, mixing for anywhere from 3-6 minutes on high, scraping the bowl down occasionally, in order to make it smooth.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally).
Yield: enough to frost a 3 layer (9-inch) cake
FINAL CAKE: (garnished with red sugar and a classy red "happy birthday.")