Friday, June 25, 2010

Raven's Red Velvet

Hey Foodies!

I woke up this morning, feeling slightly unsure of what the day would bring and unfortunately, not possessing the best of mentalities. Then i opened my window: the trees were swaying in the slight breeze and the sun was shining. I was instantly uplifted. It is days like this that I feel so fortunate to be living in Vancouver. I was instantly in the right headspace to blog!

My latest adventure was Red Velvet! If you've seen my previous blog posts, you may remember me baking red velvet cupcakes last summer - the recipe I used previously was definitely less than perfect. Since then, I had come across a recipe from Throwdown with Bobby Flay and decided to try CakeMan Raven's Red Velvet recipe, which he was kind enough to provide access to, online! This recipe took leaps and bounds from the previous recipe so I would encourage all of you red-velvet cake lovers out there, to give this recipe a try. The way the recipe is laid out is so easy to follow that you'll be making it every chance you get!

The only change I made to the recipe was regarding the food colouring. The recipe calls for two tablespoons of red food colouring - I use gel colours, so I just added the food colouring after the batter had come together until I got the colour I was looking for - as you can see, it's very red but feel free to "say when" before it gets this bright - I think the vibrant red colour just adds to the whimsy of this delectable creation!

Here are the cakes when they came out of the oven. Just a note concerning the baking time of these cakes - it may seem short (only 30 minutes) but rest assured, this is enough time! I have definitely been guilty of overbaking things in the past because they didn't seem "done" - that has lead to a lot of tough cakes. The last time I made the red velvet cupcakes, I think I overbaked them and the baking soda taste really comes out when you do that - so resist the urge to leave them in the oven for "just a minute more"! I may try baking powder next time, since I'm not partial to using baking soda, generally. A quick note: oil and flour your pans, well! My rounds came out, just fine, but my rectangle cake definitely had to be listed as a casualty. I still had enough good cake to work with, but first, do no harm, right?

This recipe makes triple-layer, 9 inch cake. I didn't want to go with a 9 inch since there are only three of us in my house and do we really need to add 9 inches to our thighs? Yeah, didn't think so. So I went with a 6 inch - that's why you see the rectangular cake above, which I just cut a 6 inch round out of.

Now to the best part of the cake - the frosting! I encourage you all to use the exact method that cakeman describes in his recipe. In my experience, cream-cheese frostings can be pretty finicky - they especially tend to become runny, which becomes quite the dog and pony show when you go to ice a cake!

This method seemed to work very well and refrigerating the icing for about half an hour before doing a crumb coat, and then another half an hour before doing the final coat seemed to work quite well in this recipe.

I learned the technique for icing this cake while watching Cakeman Raven do it on Throwdown - he started with a nice, thick layer of icing on the cake, and then with the tip of the spatula, made horizontal lines around the cake. If you have a lazy susan, you can spin the cake, while holding your spatula stationary.

Next, with the edge of the spatula, he made vertical lines up the sides of the cake - this creates the sort of scalloped look you see, here! Super easy and elegant, no doubt.

And finally, here, you see my Southern masterpiece!

I must say, I haven't been this satisfied with one of my own creations in a long while. This cake is so moist and tastes even better right out of the fridge after a couple days.

The longer it sits, the better it gets, so it would be an ideal, make-ahead dessert!

Let me know what you think!

Happy baking, all!

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