Saturday, September 02, 2006

Cake... do you need to have a reason to make one?

Whole cakes are one baked good I don't make often enough as it sometimes seems like a bit too much for just 2 people. I would normally make half of the recipe or just make some cupcakes, but I thought I would give in today and make a full cake - why? No reason... just because!

I've had this recipe for Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting in my to-try piles for some time, so I finally picked it out this morning. There are many different recipes out there, but I noticed this one is a little different as it has almost double the amount of cocoa that others called for. In this one, it also calls for using "cool" butter instead of softened. This is achieved by taking butter right from the refrigerator, cutting it into cubes and letting it sit for roughly 5 minutes in your mixing bowl before you start beating in the sugar. With softened butter, this mixture would have gotten very creamy, but you will notice that it will be more crumbly until you start adding in the egg yolks.

To lighten and add some lift to the cake, egg whites that have been beaten until soft peaks are gently folded in to the batter. When you divide the batter into the baking pans, be sure to gently tap the bottoms to remove some of the air bubbles. With cakes, I like to twist my pans back and forth so the edges of the batter go up the sides a little - I find this helps reduce the "bump" in the middle so you don't have to cut it off to level the cake. I also bake most all recipes at 325 which aides in keeping them level.

I thought the layers might be a little thin, but when you add in the creamy thick frosting I think the right choice was sticking with the 9" pans and to not use a couple 8" instead. The cake is moist with just a hint of chocolate flavor in the background - I'm glad we went with a recipe that calls for more than a tablespoon or two of cocoa. Don't make this expecting a rich chocolate cake though; the cocoa adds just a depth of flavor. The frosting is simply softened cream cheese and confectioners' sugar mixed with a splash of vanilla. Keeping the frosting for only the filling and top ensures a thick layer, but it also gives a striking contrast to the rich vibrant red color. If you have an aversion to food coloring, you can leave it out - the cake will just be a lighter brown color. For a bright white frosting, use clear vanilla if you can find it. It almost looked a little plain, but grating a brick of chocolate with a microplane over the top solved that!


  1. Thought about you guys this week and Ernesto. 60 degrees as a high sounds great right about now. Joe, regarding the cake doming: have you ever heard of cake strips? They're these cloth strips you fasten to the outside of the pan. They help to evenly distribute the oven's heat so there is less or no dome at all. I got mine at Michael's craft store, but cake supply sites would have them, like

  2. MMMMMMM, this is one of my favorite cakes. I have only ventured to make it a few times. I am not really good at baking, but for something this yummy, I will try anything once!

  3. Joe - I hope you guys are settling in. Red velvet cake is soo good. I've had versions where they didn't use a cream cheese frosting. Big mistake. The cream cheese goes so well with the cake. Do you ever make yours in the shape of an armadillo (like in Steel Magnolias)? haha

  4. One of my favorite cakes, although I don't think I've ever actually made one. Chocolate and cream cheese.... yum!!!

  5. That cake is gorgeous - another one of your creations that is going on my to-make list for sure.

    Just finished supper - made your pasta, broccoli and cheddar pie from the other day. Soooo delicious! I used mini penne and 4 whole eggs (instead of the 2 eggs and 4 egg whites) and just a little (ok, maybe a lot) more cheese and it turned out just perfect. My husband is still raving about it. Thanks so much!

  6. Wow...the only thing that would've been cooler is if it were shaped like an armadillo!

  7. looks absolutely delicious! I love red velvet cake! Have a good holiday.

  8. As always, Joe, your picture are gorgeous. :)

    I'm intimidated by cakes, but got a boost of confidence with the Butterfinger cake I made for DS's birthday and was looking forward to the 2 other birthdays in August to keep trying. Wouldn't you know that DS #2 requested a pie and DH requested lime sorbet?

  9. Fantastic photos. If red velvet cake tastes as good as the photo looks, my!

  10. Looks yummy!!! I also want to try red velvet cake sometime, I have never had it before.

  11. Harry - Sometimes I'm just to lazy to use them! I've had a couple for awhile - also, wet newspaper strips do the same thing!

    Linda - Give it a go!

    Ed - Ha, I'll have to try that next time!

    Jennifer - We really enjoyed it!

    Pat - Glad you liked the pasta recipe!

    Wheresmymind - I'll work on that!

    Michelle - Thanks!

    Alysha - They freeze well, so just pick a day and make one for the heck of it! That's how I had to do it.. hee hee!

    Pearl - Thanks!

    Ana - It is pretty easy for how well it tasted!

  12. ooh that looks soooooo yummmy

  13. I can't stand it - I want that cake now! For some reason I love red velvet cake. It's not much different than other cakes, but just looks so yummy!


  14. Lexi - Thanks!

    Crystal - Yeah, I love the look of it!