Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baking Adventure #10

In the words of Mrs. Doubtfire, "HELLOOOO!!!!!!" [Insert whipped cream face mask]

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and had a very merry Christmas! Lots of baking has occurred over the past couple of weeks including more peppermint bark, snickerdoodles, "trash" mix, a breakfast casserole, and...

This week's baking adventure:

This particular adventure was not only requested by my baby sister (she's 18, so not really a baby) and one of my devoted readers. We shall call him "Anonymous". Anyways, I must give thanks to my sister and "Anonymous", as this cake was a lot of fun to make and soooo tasty! (Random fact: up until exactly one week before baking the cake I had NEVER tried Red Velvet cake. *GASP* I know...)

A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON on Red Velvet Cake (as told to me by my bestie): Red Velvet cake came about as a result of water reacting with the minerals in cocoa powder back in the early 1900s. The reaction turned the cake batter red. (For a more accurate history lesson, please read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_velvet_cake.)

Upon researching the best recipe to use for this adventure, I decided to reference two of them. One was from a Paula Deen recipe on FoodNetwork.com and the other (Cakeman Raven) was sent to me by a friend on Twitter, Kelle Kramer. The two recipes for the cake part were almost identical, but there was a slight difference in the frosting, so I decided to make my own while utilizing them for a reference...

PREP was a sinch. A little tip for ya: if you buy a 4-pack of food coloring, each one of those little guys equals about 1 tablespoon of food coloring.

Next it's time to separate the wet and dry ingredients and then combine. I had a bit of an accident when combining the two but most stayed in the bowl! Hand mixer + stuck = a mell of a hess!

After the cake batter is a smooth texture, divide batter into two 9" cake pans about 2/3 full. I had some extra batter so I opted to make cupcakes as well! One problem with this, I couldn't find my liners ANYWHERE (later to be found right where I put them, grrr), so I decided to just Pam (read: vegetable cooking spray) the heck out of my mini-cupcake tins and hope for the best.

While the cakes and cupcakes were baking, it was time to make the frosting. Now both recipes called for 4 cups of powdered sugar and one called for 1 tsp vanilla extract while the other called for 2 teaspoons. I tend to like to make recipes my own if possible (unless it's already amazing, then if it ain't broke, don't fix it!). For the cream cheese frosting, I used one 8 oz. package of reduced fat cream cheese and one regular 8 oz. package of cream cheese along with 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract. NOW, here's the kicker... I didn't listen to the recipe for the amount of sugar it called for. Remember that Red Velvet cupcake I tried the week prior? WELL it was still fairly fresh on my pallet, and what I loved about it was that you could actually taste the cream cheese and it wasn't overbearingly sweet. With that in mind, I ended up only adding about 2-2.5 cups of powdered sugar and it was [insert Italian accent] PERFECTO! MUAH!

While letting the cakes cool and placing some of the frosting in a piping bag (el cheapo from Publix), I decided to get creative and pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and VOILA!

[A little secret about these cupcakes: they look better than they tasted. As a result of not having liners, the outside of the cupcakes were slightly crunchy... oopsy!]

Once the cakes cooled, it was time to frost. Here's another little hint for ya: you know how cakes are flat on the bottom and rounded on the top once out of the oven? Well, the last time I made a cake, I carve off the rounded part thinking it would make the cake more even... WRONG! After frosting it, the middle sank in, so this time I put the rounded side of one cake down, the two flat sides together, and thus the other rounded side was facing up. After frosting, there was no dip in the middle... PROBLEM SOLVED!

I put the piping bag to good use again was the cake was frosted to try my hand at decorating. (As we all know... this is NOT one of my strong points.) The piping turned out not too shabby around the edges so I decided to add a tree in the middle as well.

In order to add a little color and festiveness (is that a word?), it was back to the grocery for some green sprinkles and M&Ms!

and there you have it: Pint-Size Baker's Merry Christmas Red Velvet cake!!! Hope your mouth doesn't water too much. ;-)


  1. Yummy!

    Thanks Ashley, this looks delish. Wish I could have been there to help you polish this off. And don't sell yourself short, the decorating was very festive.

    So where have you moved? Are you still in the hood?

    Thanks again for making my fav!

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  4. my receipe is very similar to yours and I use pecans or walnuts for decoration. Keep Baking!!!!! New Reader.