March 26, 2007

Well It Certainly Is Red

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It’s time for another round of the adventures of the Daring Bakers! The group that previous brought you Chocolate Intensity Cake, Croissants and Biscotti is at it again. This month the ever growing group of bakers voted to make Red Velvet Cake. I voted for a crepe cake, but majority rules… one day I’ll make that crepe cake… one day…


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Back to the present though, I’d never made a red velvet cake before and had never had any inclination to do so. It’s not something you see much in Canada, it’s more of a Southern USA thing. I don’t know why but it’s never appealed to me. Probably because it’s not stuffed full of chocolate or caramel or ice cream. That being said, I’m always up for a challenge so I certainly couldn’t refuse to make the cake. I figured if I was going to make a red velvet cake, it had better be a fairly authentic one. Peabody assures me that this recipe is in true southern form, complete with pecans in the cream cheese icing. Cream cheese icing? Maybe this cake wasn’t so bad after all! Cream cheese icing could make the mud cakes of my youth taste good.



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My plans of making a traditional cake only lasted about 5 minutes though. The red velvet cake is supposed to be covered in white icing to hide the fact that the inside is red and thus create more of a contrast and a surprise when the cake is cut into. Bah! I wanted something that was more visually appealing than a plain white iced white cake. Sure there was a surprise on the inside, but given the choice between what looks like a plain white cake and a cake with pizzazz, the pizzazz wins every time. Apparently in my mind pizzazz looks like a red cake with white icing between the layers and on top, smothered with red cake crumbs. Then I realized that this wasn’t my idea at all. I had made a cake in a similar style for New Years, and Dorie was the source of this cake. Well, at least the cake was going to look pretty…


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That is, if you think a very red cake is pretty. It calls for an astounding amount of red food colouring. I happened to use food colouring gel, but it’s really all the same. So how did the cake actually taste? It didn’t. I thought the actual cake was really bland and didn’t have much flavour. The texture was nice and moist, but there wasn’t much taste. The icing, however, is outstanding! I ate more icing than I did cake. I could eat that icing on anything. I wish the whole cake was made of icing. Mmmm icing… No one else complained about the cake and it was eaten quite quickly, but I’m looking for something more in my cake experience. As good as the icing was, it didn’t salvage this cake for me. I suppose some people are taken with the novelty of a red cake, but I would rather be taken with intense chocolate flavour or a web of spun sugar. The red velvet cake was by no means bad, it just didn’t thrill me either. To see what 14 other bakers thought of this cake, click on the links on the right hand side of the page under the Daring Bakers banner.


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Red Velvet Cake (from Mrs Wilkes Boarding House in Savannah, Georgia)

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp white vinegar
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 to 3 TBSP cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
5/8 ounce bottle red food coloring


Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the eggs, sugar, oil and vinegar. Sift the cake flour, baking soda, and cocoa together. Add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients while beating. Slowly add the buttermilk. While still beating, add the vanilla and the food coloring. Pour into three 8-inch layer pans and bake for about 25 minutes. Press lightly;if the layers are spongy, then the cake is done. Frost the cooled layers, assemble and frost the top and sides. Serves 12 to 14.


Red Velvet Cake Frosting

1(8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
1 (1 pound) box confectioners sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract


Combine the cream cheese and butter and melt over very low heat. Add the sugar, pecans and vanilla and mix well. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a little milk. Frost one 8-inch or 9-inch layer cake. (I made three layers, but only layered two and crumbled the third to put on top.)


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32 comments:

Helene said...

Hey Fellow Baker! I love what you did ith the nuts. I did not use any...I totally forgot, but I like it smooth...
Beautiful colors!

pom d'api said...

Hi! I love your cake it's so sweet
Candy

K & S said...

What a great cake! one of my favs. I think my mom's version uses a buttercream frosting.

Mary said...

Hey Bri - I was totally the opposite. I liked the cake part but not the frosting. I love the baby cakes surrounding the big momma cake.

Lydia said...

The cupcakes are adorable, and as always I love reading about the baking group. But so much red food coloring? Is there a substitute (beet juice or something) that might work?

Rachel said...

I love red velvet cake, but I made it with much more cocoa and much less food dye. Slightly less red, but tastier.

Veron said...

Wow your cake looks so pretty and dressed up. Yeh, that cream cheese frosting is to die for.

Lis said...

Okay well your cake definitely wins the beauty pageant! I love her crown of red velvet crumbs - very now - very mod!

Crepe cake... *swoon*

gilly said...

Hi Bri! Beautiful cake - I love the vivid colour!

Quellia said...

I'm with you - I could eat the icing with a spoon and skip the cake. Your cupcakes, with the high ratio of icing versus cake, look scruptious!

(PS I voted Red Velvet over crepe cake because I didn't think I could do the crepes - but have since made 16 almost identical in size crepes! So if we can get around the hazelnuts, let's do it!)

hester said...

love the little cupcakes, and the crumb topping on the big cake is stunning!

Ellie said...

Looking good! I've seen this red velvet cake around the food blog world - we have no such thing here but I reckon it'd be worth making as a bit of a display piece, it'd certainly grab people's attention!

Laurie said...

Wow that looks amazing, like a beautiful flower in bloom and the cupcakes surrounding it are just too cute! The presentation alone has me wanting to have some of this cake!

Ivonne said...

I admit it. I too partook of the icing a bit more than the cake.

Your cake is just beautiful Brilynn and I love your idea of coating it in red cake crumbs. Very pizzazzy of you!

Kristen said...

Pizazz abound! What a beauty!

eliza said...

What a beautiful cake! i'm drooling over your cake posts :D

Cheryl said...

I love the way you decorated the big cake.

And the cupcakes are just the cutest thing.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Pizzzaazzz to your hearts content girl - that is just a stunning cake of red!! A true Beauty in Red.

Morven said...

Gorgeous decoration. I totally agree with you - mmmmmmmmmm icing :-)

Peabody said...

It's always about the icing! Lovely job decorating.

Canadian Baker said...

Looks great Brilynn and I love your decoration!

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Wow - you're right, it is red! I've personally never tried it before, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to. In fact, I'd love to!

Claire said...

So beautiful! I love the look of this. Agreement coming from this kitchen...RVC is very bland and only made up for by the lovely cream cheese icing! Maybe the rage is all about the color?!?!

Elle said...

A gorgeous cakd AND little cakes, too. It looks beautiful and I love the crumbs as decoration. I love the frosting, too. Mmmmm.

sher said...

Wonderful!!!! That frosting is to die for! And your cake has tons of pizazz.

breadchick said...

WOW! Your cake is so yummy looking! And I love the way you spattered the crumbs all over the place! I think between all us Daring Bakers we all agree...well ALMOST all agree the frosting rules!!

Gattina said...

Wow, superb styling job! That type of red is too lusty (hehee..), but now with your deco, elegant!

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

Being from the south I know something about red velvet cake. I should have been your tester~
That is a cake with pizzazzz!

Mercedes said...

Can I join the club if I made red velvet cake too?
Gorgeous cakes!

Fruittart said...

Lovely cake, as always in your kitchen! I love the baking group idea and seeing all the creative products. Can't wait to see what you make next month!

joey said...

Oh! I love how you decorated it! Gosh...I'm no so curious to try this cake...

joey said...

Oops! I meant "I'm NOW so curious to try this cake..." :)