Red Velvet Cake

**This post was written a few weeks ago, so no one get upset that I had a class without you!!!**

Last night at the Acme Fresh Market on Manchester Road, we explored the new cookbook put out by Acme Fresh Market called Family Cookbook. The principle of the cookbook is to bring families back to the table, enjoying meals together. Meal time is an important tool in bringing families closer, helping kids deal with everyday issues, and making talking among parents and kids easier. Even if dinner together isn’t an option, at least one meal time a day together is a goal in our house!(Not to say we always reach it!)

One of the recipes we made were Red Velvet Cupcakes. I have been dying to make Red Velvet Cake for awhile now. I’m not sure if it is the cake itself, since I have never had it, or just how it looks. There is something wildly alluring about the brilliant red of the cake with the contrast of white frosting. It is like lipstick poured into cake!

This recipe was easy, and included ingredients I had in my pantry. The recipe called for 2 ounces of red food coloring, but since I only had one, I only used one. The color was still beautiful, and I didn’t see any problems with the recipe in making that change.

Now for the frosting. When I made this at home I had NO PROBLEMS, I SWEAR! Of course, that is not what happened in class. At home, I put together the ingredients and it all came together. You put together cornstarch, water and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer until it thickens. While that is working, you cream together butter and powdered sugar. When the cornstarch mixture is thickened, add it to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until it takes on the consistency of whipped cream. When it comes together, it is a soft frosting. I felt like it was going to slide right off the cupcakes I made but it didn’t. It held on well, and looked nice as you can see in the pictures. I sprinkles it with some chopped walnuts. Success!

And then things changed…………..

When we started class, we got the frosting going since it does take a little while to come together. I had brought my big stand mixer and we got everything in the bowl and going with the whip attachment. We moved on to other recipes, checking back every few minutes. At first, it was coming together. Then something happened.

Looking into it, I think what happened is this. At home, I whipped the frosting combination on high for 10-15 minutes and it came together fine. My kitchen was cool, and I had the window open so there was a slight breeze. In the classroom, it was warmer to start with. The other thing is, since the stand mixer makes a lot of noise, I ran it at lower speed for longer. The mixer itself got warm, and it warmed the bowl, making the butter break down and not able to blend with the cornstarch mixture totally. In turn this made me look like a total LIAR! I swear it worked before!!

The frosting the didn’t work did taste great, kind of like marshmallows. It just goes to show you that even though it didn’t look fabulous, it tasted good! And it also goes to show you that even a chef has an off night!

Red Velvet Cake

Cake:

½ cup softened butter

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

2 TBSP cocoa

2 ounces red food coloring

2 ¼ cups flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1 TBSP vinegar

Icing:

1 cup water

2 TBSP cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup butter

1 cup powdered sugar

Cake: Cream butter and flour. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in cocoa and food coloring. Sift together flour and salt. Add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture. Sprinkle soda over batter and pour vanilla and vinegar over batter and stir until well blended. Bake in two 9-inch round greased and floured cake pans in a 350 degree D oven for 25-35 minutes. Cool and split layers (to make 4 layers) and frost and fill with icing.

Icing: Heat water, cornstarch and vanilla over medium heat stirring until thickened. Remove from heat. In the meantime, cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Combine warm water to creamed butter mixture and beat until frosting resembles whipped cream. Serves 12. **If you decide to make these into cupcakes, fill the cupcake papers 2/3rds full and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a toothpick comes out clean.  It will make about 24 cupcakes.

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