Monday, August 15, 2011

Palm Sunday: Red Velvet Cake

Food is the best way to use your hands! Not only does it take copious amounts of effort to prepare a delicious meal but it literally is a beautiful way to share all the ways you love someone. This week is my Father-In-Law's birthday and the first thing Kara and I did was discuss what we were going to cook! The past two years I've really amped up my kitchen by incorporating more unique meals and trying to do all local ingredients. It has been relatively easy keeping things local because Louisville has so many Farmer's Markets and easily accessible places to buy Kentucky Proud Products. Lately baking has been my uphill battle--whether its sifting flour or just adding the correct measurements of all the detailed ingredients--it has definitely not come very easily to me. A couple of months back I got on a Red Velvet Cake kick so I just began experimenting with all different recipes until I finally just took one and kept adapting it until it made my taste buds happy. I don't know if I'll ever be a baker but it is so much fun playing in the kitchen and giving it a chance with no expectations.

Here is the recipe:
            2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
            2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
            1 teaspoon baking powder
            1 teaspoon baking soda
            1/2 teaspoon salt
            1 cup buttermilk
            1 tablespoon red food coloring
            1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
            1 teaspoon vanilla extract
            1 1/2 cups sugar
            1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
            2 large eggs
            2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
            1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
            1 tablespoon vanilla extract
            2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

            3 1/2-pint baskets fresh raspberries
            3 1/2-pint baskets fresh blueberries

For cake:
 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.
For frosting:
 Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over top of cake. Arrange 1 basket raspberries and 1/2 basket blueberries atop frosting, pressing lightly to adhere. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange remaining berries decoratively over top of cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

I recommend adding 1 to 4 extra tablespoons of cocoa to the cake mix and 1/4cup to 1/2cup more butter.  If you want to thicken up the icing add more powdered sugar but if you want it a little less sweet and more cream cheesy just leave a little out. Also, there is a lot of icing so it is possible to cut the icing recipe in half! 
Next time I plan on adding ganache between the layers to give the cake more chocolate because chocolate is my favorite thing & its awesome!


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