Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cake of the Week: Brown Velvet

After last week's Banana Cake, I have decided to include a Cake of the Week as a regular feature on my blog. There are multiple reasons for this:

1) Cake is delicious.

2) I will now "have" to experiment with a new cake recipe every week.

3) My friends/roommates get to eat cake every week.

4) I get to eat cake every week!

So this week I felt inspired to make a Red Velvet Cake. I searched some recipes, and turned up one that looked pretty good - judging by the fact that it had two whole tablespoons of chocolate (rather than the 1 teaspoon of some varieties). I bought all the ingredients, but I totally forgot to buy red food coloring - which, *Fun Fact* is the only reason Red Velvet Cake is red!

So instead, I made "Brown Velvet Cake." I used Extra Dark Dutch Process cocoa, so my cake was even browner than it would have been. The recipe calls for 1 cup buttermilk, but my mom taught me this trick of adding 1 teaspoon vinegar to a cup of milk, and letting it sit a while. The milk gets all lumpy and sour and gross (aka - sour milk, aka - the flavor of buttermilk). Taadaa!

The cake cooked very quickly (like 20 minutes). Make sure you really REALLY grease and flour the pans. I did, but not heavily enough I guess because my cakes stuck. Thanks to the help of my handy-dandy spatula, the crisis was averted, and the cakes were repaired - almost as good as new.

And I'm sorry to admit, I acted on an uncharacteristic whim and bought frosting! At least it was cream cheese frosting! And I spiced things up a bit by making a special layer for the filling. I microwaved 1/4 cup of frozen raspberries and mixed them into some frosting, along with about a tablespoon of cocoa, and some extra powdered sugar (to thicken it up).

The filling oozed out the sides a bit, which is why the cake isn't as pretty as it could have been...but it tastes amazing! Serve it with fresh blueberries (or raspberries if you have them) and some vanilla ice cream. Yum!

The Cake (from Joy of Baking)

Red Velvet Cake:

2 1/2 cups (250 grams) sifted cake flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons (15 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk

2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter two - 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the freezer for at least an hour. (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and decorate with fresh berries or coconut flakes.

- As I said, I did not use this frosting recipe, so I cannot vouch for its goodness...but I'm assuming it's probably pretty delish!