Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hejo's Birthday Cake: Red Velvet Heaven

My meals in the last two weeks have been really weak; talkin' cereal and eggs, ramen, and mac. Ahh... the fancy life of students. But I do have desserts to post- funny how that happens... and this cake has climbed it's way to the top of my favorite cakes list.

In bringing the first year of Henry's life to a new chapter, we partied with a color red- themed festivity: red balloons, red party hats, red clothing, red plates, and of course, a red velvet luscious cake!

As a new mom, especially as a new parent entering the
life of toddlerhood, I had dreams and hopes that Hejo would just DIVE into the cake and clobber himself with frosting, bits of cake in his hair.... parents laughing hysterically and flashes going off like it's the papparrizzi.

What? I've seen it happen before.... But not this time: n
ot even a lick. Hardly even a single index finger poke at the cake.

I'd be lying if I didn't confess that it gave me a few opportunities to grumble and sigh. He did, to his credit, plow through a cupcake yesterday on his own and I saw him smack his little lips in delight. That's counts. Maybe there was just too much pressure in the air for him that night of his birthday. "It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to", as the ol' song goes. In his case, "It's my party and I'll do whatever I want!"

Next year, Hejo, next year. Anyways, here is the cake recipe, adapted from the food network website- I hope you'll try it out this autumn, especially if you cheer for the right football team- it's the perfect football color- crimson red! (just playin with ya'll) Love you!

{birthday boy decked out in red, having a chat with his daddy before party}

Red Velvet Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegetable oil for the pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 2 9" cake pans.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.

Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, softened (leave the cream cheese at room temperature until soft)
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days. Frost cake and lick your fingers clean.


Anonymous said...

Perfectly deliciuos-looking!
You now I love that red!!!

Sarah Flib said...

Oh, I'm so glad you posted a picture of the birthday boy. He's such a cutie! This is random, but what does red velvet cake even taste like (aside from red velvet cake)? I've never had it.