Posted by: Rachel | October 26, 2011

How to Eat Red Velvet Cake

For every birthday that I can remember, my mom has baked me a red velvet cake.  Each person in the immediate family has their particular favorite cake and mine happens to be red velvet.

Just for fun: here’s a picture of a red velvet cake that I made at Christmas time for college roommates.  I managed to burn some of the cake drippings, causing a fire in the oven.  But the cake was still delicious, even if it wasn’t pretty.

so ugly!

Oh so ugly. But tasted so good! Photo by the Homemade Chocolatier

The unique taste of red velvet cake is accomplished with buttermilk and cocoa powder.  There’s a subtle tang from the buttermilk and almost imperceptible and entirely unplaceable bitter quality that manages to edge out the overwhelming sweetness of most cakes.  That’s the cocoa powder talking.

But what truly completes this masterpiece (for both the eyes and the tastebuds) is the cream cheese frosting.  Oh my.

red velvlet cake

Photo by the Homemade Chocolatier

Smooth, rich, sugary, thick, tongue-coating, I-don’t-want-to-answer-your-questions-about-what-I’m-going-to-do-with-my-life-because-I’m-doing-it-right-now cream cheese frosting.

Yes.

My mom loves me so much, she’s baked me a red velvet cake every year that I’ve been at school, too.  (I regret to count them) but that’s six years.

And every year, we (the cake-bearing party and I) eat cake.  Then, the rest goes home with me.

And I eat red velvet cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner until the cake is gone.  And the plate is licked clean.  Even the plastic wrap that went over the cake sometimes gets a good tongue swipe.

But eating the cake is an art form.  The pictures give a little idea but I’ll spell it out for the private school kids.  (When I switched from private to public, all the teachers gave me the same courtesy.)

First, eat the red part.  Savor the moistness of the cake, but leave enough clinging to the cream cheese edges so there are thick slabs of icing lined with cake crumbs.

Be sure to drink lots of milk during this part.

Then, take smallish bites of cream cheese frosting with a dash of red crumbles for pizzazz.  Savor every forkful.  Eat until the plate is empty or tummy is satiated.

better red velvet cake

Photo by the Homemade Chocolatier

Repeat at your leisure.

Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 oz. red food coloring (one of the little bottles)

2 tbsp. cocoa

2 1/2 cups cake flour

2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp vinegar

3/4 tsp soda

For the icing:

8 oz. cream cheese

1 box powdered sugar

1/2 stick butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream buter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each.  Add vanilla and blend.  Add buttermilk alternating with flour, stir until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, combine coloring and cocoa.  Add salt and vinegar.  Last, add the soda.

Combine the two mixes.

Pour into two buttered and floured 9″ cake pans.

Bake for 20-25 min.

When the cakes are finished, let them cool on a cooling rack for about 10 min.  Run a knife around the edge of the cakes then flip them out onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Icing:

Mix all ingredients together.  I have found that the powdered sugar doesn’t get blown out of the bowl as much when added in a few smaller increments rather than all at once.

When cake is cool, ice the top of the bottom layer.  Start by globbing a big bit of icing in the middle and spreading out towards the edges, trying to get an even coating.  Place the top layer on top.  Frost the top (using the same strategy as stated above) and the sides of the cake.

Now enjoy!  And if your cake turns out like my first picture, don’t be sad.  It should still taste great!  :)

Posted by: Rachel | September 29, 2011

Banana Bread

Oh my goodness gracious.

I’m starting this post now even though I haven’t tasted the finished product yet.  Just the smell of the bread baking in my oven is enough to give this amazing reviews.

I’m impressed at my own self control; I’m able to sit and smell this goodness and I haven’t ripped open the oven door and dug in with bare hands.  Second degree burns might be another deterrent there, but whatever.  I’m giving myself credit.

Even the batter was absolutely delicious.  Chez Pim really knows what she’s doing.

Sift that flour!

sifting flour

Photo by the Homemade Chocolatier

There’s no way to explain this taste that does justice to the meshing tastes of rum, coffee and banana.  All I can say is try this.  I’m sure everyone has their own family favorite recipe for banana bread, but risk a panic among the rest of your crew and surprise them with this.  They might just find a new favorite to add to the rotation!

And I really don’t think they could turn down a bread like this after smelling it…

interior

Photo by the Homemade Chocolatier

I’m not going to repost the recipe because I pretty much did exactly what Chez said: I did use heavy whipping cream instead of sour cream/yogurt and I used regular rum instead of Jameson.

And I did add the butter last, by ignorant accident.  Imagine my surprise as I turned around to pour the batter into the pan and there was my melted butter.

butter and batter

Photo by the Homemade Chocolatier

Dang it.

But I think the bread recovered.  And now, after tasting a piece, I can certify that it still tastes delicious!

Posted by: Rachel | September 9, 2011

The skeptic and the chocolate cupcake

One food blog that I have really enjoyed following these days is Can You Stay For Dinner, a blog written by a lovely lady named Andie.  She’s quirky and fun and makes food writing pleasurable to read.

Oh, and her pictures are fantastic.

Well, a while ago, she posted a chocolate cupcake recipe: vegan and 100 calories.  She boasted that the recipe was one of the best she’d ever tasted, and so delicious.

Well.  If that’s not a challenge I’m not sure what is.

choc muffins in a pan

Photo by the Homemade Chocolatier

So, in the throes of a chocolate need, I made these little diddies.  I followed the recipe, word for word, using cow milk and therefore making my version non-vegan.

And at first, I was not convinced.  The batter did not taste good, and the muffins were stickier (post-baking) than I had anticipated.  Hm.

mixing bowls

Photo by the Homemade Chocolatier

Don’t misunderstand me; they filled the chocolate hole in my stomach.  But they weren’t as sweet as I thought they would be.  Hm.

Then: I froze them.  (Gasp!)  And later ate a frozen chocolate cupcake.  Delicious. Ah!

Note: I’m sorry for the bland pictures.  And I’m especially disappointed because I was not able to get a decadent, bitten cupcake picture.  But good news!  I found the cord for my camera so I can actually take real pictures now!

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