Friday, January 25, 2013

Red Velvet Cakes and Happy Birthdays

        The summation of southern living can be told through recipes--Fried chicken, Pecan Pie, Corn Bread-- This past Thanksgiving presented a challenge to me, how to conquer red velvet cake. To so many people, red velvet cake means something different. I, for one, remember my great grandmother Lucile's red velvet cake. I remember her warm smile and kind nature. Although I do not have her recipes, I hope to have at least some of her soul.

Turns out, I must have something. The red velvet cake was enjoyed by all. In fact, I received a special request to make it for an upcoming birthday. This birthday boy is a lot like my grandma Lucile--warm and strong with a smile that just makes you feel easy. (Easy Like Sunday Morning)...

Paula Deen's Red Velvet Cake:

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
1 ounce red food coloring
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:
 8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
1. Always begin with room temperature butter, unless otherwise noted (ex. pie shells). Cream butter and sugar with mixer until fluffy. Do not over-mix.
2. Add in eggs, one at a time, incorporating them completely into the batter.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the food coloring and cocoa until it is paste like.
4. Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl.
5. In another small bowl, stir the baking soda with the vinegar.
6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk (beginning and ending with the flour).
7. Add in vanilla
8. Add vinegar mixture.

I usually use a cup measure to evenly pour batter
into three 8 in. pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

For the icing, beat the room temperature cream cheese and butter together, add the powdered sugar, and then the vanilla. (It really is that easy).


For the "Happy Birthday," I painted fondant cut outs with a pearl dust and lemon extract mixture. The fondant process is here. I finished it off with some dollops of frosting, topped with pecans, and gold sprinkles. I hope this bit of nostalgia translates into your lives and you too can feel the warmth of old southern hospitality


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