Last week, we tried on Espresso Mocha Babycakes with Vanilla Cream Frosting for the uber sugar and spice and everything nice little girlie charade just around the corner and it fit quite perfectly. Not a single alteration required. This week, I’ve got Red Velvet in the dressing room.
“Oooohh! I adore red velvet cake!” they coo in their very cutest Hello Kitty voices, but I don’t understand why people, especially the ladies, get their tastebuds tangled up in knots over red velvet cake. It certainly can’t be for the taste, for red doesn’t taste like anything. It’s neither chocolate nor vanilla. It’s not fruit. Red velvet is named after...a fabric? It must only be the incredibly unexpected red color. Totally unnatural, because there is nothing in nature that could make a cake look that cherry Fanta red. *shrugs* But then again, there’s nothing natural about no. 1 fire engine red fingernails, either. Silly girls.
There are two tablespoons of cocoa powder in the recipe, but the cocoa is fairly unnoticeable, as it’s there less for function and more for fashion. The darkness of the cocoa powder tones down the brightness of the two tablespoons of red food coloring. I’m sure if I left the cocoa powder out, there wouldn’t be all that much difference other than the cake would be so glowing bright red it could work as a stop light. If it didn’t have the food coloring, it would simply be light beighe and taste exactly the same – like nothing. But logic doesn’t matter when we’re talking about platform sandals and red velvet cake, because when it’s in, it’s in, and everyone has to have one even if you couldn’t walk fifty paces without getting a blister the size of the Astrodome. *sigh* So I am making red velvet.
After adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, I almost shook the whole thing out into the garbage disposal in the sink because it looked like no cake batter I had ever seen before. Not only was it bright bright bright red, there was a fairly heavy ring of oil around the edge where the batter met the bowl, and little pools of oil gurgling across the surface. It looked like blood red lava.
But what the hell do I know? Maybe it’s supposed to look like some horrifying creature was about to emerge from the red sea in my mixing bowl. I ladled the oily batter into the cupcake holders and slid the wicked looking little babies into the oven. I was eventually going to have to taste one, so why not get a headstart on trying to undo the aftermath? I sure did a lot of situps in 17 minutes. But damn my burning abs were relieved when the timer went off.
I’m not sure what I was expecting behind the oven door after the gurgling goo. Surprisingly, the ugly duckling batter had blossomed and baked into normal-looking cupcakes. Even the extraordinarily bright maraschino had toned down to a little more natural Bing cherry red. They tasted good (for red velvet) and I didn’t want to put frosting on them. The cake alone was pretty sweet and the most delicious part was the somewhat sticky, lightly crispy layer on top. I have aboslutely no idea how that happened, but my guess is that with all that oil, the cake was basically oven-frying. LOL!
Well, fine, you can’t go naked to a tea party, and you can’t go unfrosted with cupcakes to a bridal shower, so I gave in and did the cream cheese frosting, which incidentally, was a little softer than I would have liked; more like an icing rather than a thick, stiff frosting. But *eh* who the heck cares when it’s just a test batch that you’re giving to your office?
Red Velvet Cake Recipe
from Paula Deen on FoodNetwork.com
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 ounces red food coloring
- 2 ½ cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.
Mix cocoa and food coloring together and then add to sugar mixture; mix well.
Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla.
In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture.
Pour batter into 3 (8-inch) round greased and floured pans.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting.
Next up: Lemon Ginger Babycakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting.
Oh yeah, and if you’ve been paying attention... That’s a giant box from Tiffany that they’re sitting on (the lid is propped up as the backdrop), which was a very bad idea, because now, the gift box has three little oil stains on the bottom of it, LOL!