Our friend G celebrated his birthday this past weekend and IMHO birthdays require cake. He requested a cake of the red velvet variety. After a bit of research I came up with the following recipe. When finished I frosted it with cream cheese frosting for a delicious result.
Sadly, despite a whole bottle of gel paste food coloring, this cake did not turn out red. It was, however, a very delicious chocolate cake and I’m pretty sure part of deep chocolate color came from all the red dye. So I updated the name of the recipe and kept the food coloring.
Very Chocolate Cake
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes plus cooling time
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 oz. red food color
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- baking spray
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 13″x9″ with baking spray and then use a sheet of parchment paper to create a sling inside the pan.
- Combine flour, cocoa, soda and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
- Place the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high until fluffy. While butter beats beat the eggs and food coloring together. Add the egg mixture to the butter/sugar and beat until combined.
- Combine the buttermilk, vinegar and vanilla. Add a third of flour mixture to the butter/sugar followed by half the buttermilk mixture. Beat on low until just combined then repeat with another third of the flour and the remaining buttermilk. Beat again until just combined and add the remaining flour. Scrap the beater and give the batter a final stir by hand.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and distribute evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan 180° half way through cooking. Cake is done when a toothpick inserts in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Cool for 2 hours before frosting.
I used gel food coloring paste in place of liquid food coloring. With a white or yellow cake batter the coloring paste produces a very vibrant hue. Red velvet being a chocolate based cake came out more murky red-brown.
I took inspiration from a couple of recipes I found online, which you can view here, here, and here.
We celebrated a birthday at a recent Saturday night gathering and, for me, birthdays need cake. The birthday boy’s mom mentioned chocolate chip pancakes as something the 8 year old was asking for so I set out to make a cake that might, in some small way, match the flavor of the griddle cooked treats.
I leveraged this recipe from Jen’s Favorite Cookies and then ended up improvising after I realized I had doubled the butter.
The birthday boy liked the cake well enough that I hastily scribbled down some notes in the hopes of being able to produce something similar in the future.
Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cake
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour plus time for the cake to cool (for 2 round pans)
- 405 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 cup unsalted butter (that’s 2 sticks), softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 12 oz. dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Greased the bottom and sides of 2 9″ cake pans. If you have parchment you can also place a parchment round in the bottom of the pan.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, soda, powder, and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl, add the vanilla and whisk until the eggs and vanilla are well combined.
- Add butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Start out on low until the sugar is mushed into the butter then increase the speed to medium-high for 3 minutes until the butter has lightened in color.
- Add the egg/vanilla mixture to the creamed butter/sugar and mix well.
- Add a third of the dry ingredients to the mix followed by a third of the buttermilk. Mix on medium-low until combined then add the next third of both flour and buttermilk. Mix again and add the last of the flour and buttermilk.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer, scrape the paddle and set aside. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
- Split the batter between the prepared pans (a scale help). Use your spatula to spread the batter evenly across each pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans half way through cooking.
- Before removing the pan make sure it is cooked through by either checking the temp. (it should be 210°F in the center) or, if you lack an instant read thermometer, the toothpick method (a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean).
- Move cake pans to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife between the pan and the cake, remove each cake from it’s pan and return the cake to the rack until completely cool.
- Frost with your choice of frosting, icing or whipped topping. I made a chocolate version of my regular buttercream frosting.
I finally had a chance to make this in a 13″x9″ pan. Bake time was between 65-70 minutes. My plan is to skip frosting, serve it in the pan and dust it with a couple of tablespoons powdered sugar after it cools.
This recipe comes from an tattered paperback copy of the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook I received ~20 years ago when I moved out on my own. The recipe language is rather sparse and yet I turn to this book time and again for some very delicious things. This cake is certainly among them.
Applesauce Spice Cake
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. table salt
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (I used Ceylon Cinnamon from Penzeys)
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cups currants
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
- Place rack in the medium position of your oven. Preheat to 350°F. Spray a 13″x9″ baking pan with non-stick spray and line with a sheet of parchment paper to form a sling along the long sides.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine sugar, shortening and applesauce in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on low for 30 seconds until it forms a paste. Add the water and eggs; beat on low for another 30 seconds to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients, beat on low until just combined and then raise speed to medium high for 2 minutes.
- Add the dried fruit and beat on medium for ~30 seconds until well combined.
- Scrap the batter into the prepared pan and distribute evenly. A couple of short drops of the filled pan onto the counter will help even out the batter and remove any air pockets that may exist (at least that’s what my mother told me).
- Bake for 60 minutes, rotating the pan for halfway through baking. Check doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake. It should come out clean with no damp batter sticking to it.
- Allow cake to cool, in the pan, for 15 minutes, on a cooling rack. Slide a knife along the non-parchment sides of the pan to loosen the cake and then remove the cake using the sling. Carefully remove the parchment from the bottom of the cake and allow to cool completely.
- Dust with powdered sugar, drizzle with glaze or frost with something flavorful and tasty. Or just eat it as is ’cause it’s pretty darn tasty by itself.
You could use 1 type of dried fruit, such as 1 cup of currants or dried cranberries rather than a mix.
The original recipe also called for 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. I left those out since this was for a potluck event and you never know who will have an allergy.
Last weekend I roasted some cubed butternut squash, tossed it with finely chopped red peppers, and served it as a side dish. I had a fair amount left over and got it in my head that I wanted to make dessert with it for some reason or another. If I’m being honest squash pie isn’t my favorite pie. It falls well behind apple, chocolate cream and chicken.
Butternut Squash/Apple Cake with Tangerine-Ginger Streusel
Google found me 12 Perfect Fall Desserts Made with Winter Squash, one of which seemed to fit what was in my head. Crystallized ginger was not to be found at my local mega mart though so I used some homemade candied tangerine peel that Ted made back when tangerines were in season. The result was surprisingly moist with the squash basically disappearing into the cake.
The last slice of cake.
I have a love-hate relationship with Bundt cakes. I love the look of them and hate that they almost always stick to the theoretically “non-stick” coating of the pan. While watching Martha Bakes I saw her use a paste of softened butter and flour which she brushed into a Bundt pan. It seemed like a good way to get into all the seams so I gave it a try. It worked great!
Yogurt Bundt Cake with Blueberries
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes (plus time for the cake to cool)
- 2 cups (270g) flour plus 2 Tbsp. for prepping the pan
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup whole fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- powdered sugar to finish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine 2 tablespoons softened butter and 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed into a paste. Use a basting or pastry brush to apply the butter-flour paste into the Bundt pan. Make sure to get the paste into all creases, crevices and seams.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, allspice and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer the remaining 10 tablespoons of butter with the sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and mix to incorporate before adding the next egg. Add the yogurt and vanilla and, again, mix until incorporated.
- With the mixer at the slowest speed add the dry flour mixture and combine to form the batter. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the blueberries. Combine using a spatula, being careful to not burst the blueberries (unless you want a purpely-blue cake).
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan; smooth the top the best you can. Bake for 50 minutes, rotating the pan 180°F halfway through cooking. Probe with a long wooden skewer to make sure the cake is fully cooked. The skewer should come out clean in several places in the cake.
- Move the cake to a cooling rack and ignore it for at least an hour. Invert the cake onto a server plate. Lift the pan, and with luck (and proper pan prep), the cake will slide out without a problem.
- Dust with powdered sugar, slice and serve.
It can take 5 minutes or longer, at a fairly high speed, for the butter and sugar to become pale and fluffy. If you only mix these ingredients long enough for them to combine then you will have a much shorter and denser cake.
The basic recipe for this cake was derived from one published in Saveur magazine.