Monday, November 18, 2013

Red Velvet Birthday Cake!

Red Velvet Birthday Cake!
Happy Happy Birthday to my mom...

...isn't she a beaut?
It was my mom's birthday this past weekend, and the baker in me really wanted to make her cake! I've actually never made her a birthday cake before. So i thought it would be special to try out a red velvet one this year...

It's been an on-going quest of to find the best red velvet cake recipe, here's the first one I took for a spin.

Red Velvet Cake 
w/ Cream Cheese Chocolate Ganache Frosting
(Recipes adapted from here)
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 3/4 c granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp white vinegar
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp red food coloring

1 (8-oz) package Philadelphia cream cheese, room temp
1 c unsalted butter, room temp
juice of 1/2 lemon
6 c powdered sugar
Optional: 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c heavy whipping cream
1-1 1/2 c Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate chips OR Ghirardelli premium baking chips**
1 oz Baker's unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

1. Pre-heat oven 350 degrees F. Line 2 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly greased.
Tip: Whenever I use 6-inch round cake pans, I pour about 2 cups of batter into each pan, and use the extra batter for cupcakes.

Note: The original recipe calls for 2 9-inch round cake pans, but since I used smaller diameter cake pans, I was left with extra batter to make cupcakes to sample out the recipe! 7 cupcakes to be exact.
2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, sift together well.
3. Lightly mix the wet ingredient in a separate bowl.
4. Slowly pour 1/3 of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. Repeat process until all wet and dry ingredients are well incorporated. DO NOT over mix.
4. In a preheated oven of 350 degrees F, bake the 6-inch round cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs (not wet).
Note: If you made cupcakes with the extra batter, those will be done by 16-18 minutes. Don't over bake!
5. Remove from oven, let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
6. To make frosting, whip together room temperature cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Sift in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing well in between. Lastly, add lemon juice.
7. To make ganache, Place the chocolates into a heat resistant glass bowl. Bring to a soft boil the heavy whipping cream in a small sauce pan and pour into the chocolates. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until well incorporated. Sift in the powdered sugar and make sure it's sifted to avoid clumps of powdered sugar into the ganache. Let cool a bit before use. DON'T be like me and experience a cake fail... (more on that later...)

Once you have your cakes cooled and frosting prepared, level off the cakes by trimming the excess cake on top using a thin serrated knife, like so...
Then, stack the two cakes on top of each other, with cream cheese frosting in between.
Finally, crumb coat the whole cake, and refrigerate.

Now, onto the cake fail-magic! I initially wanted this cake to look soft and pretty for my mom. I wanted it to have a simple off-white frosting, and ganache dripping down the edges, and then have a ring of pink frosting around the top edges of the cake like a combination of these cakes I made here >>>
and here >>>
But I must have been in a rush that I didn't give enough time for the ganache to set completely before using it. Plus, I think these Hershey's chocolate chips are softer than the Ghirardelli baking chips I normally have used in the past, so I ended up with really runny ganache.

Tip: Next time you make ganache, use these Ghirardelli premium baking chips** >>>
DO NOT USE these Hershey's chocolate chips >>>
(They probably contain more oil, which lead to a runnier ganache).
Anyway, long story short, when it came time to pour the chocolate onto the cake, the ganache was so runny that it just dripped too far down the cake and started to pool too much chocolate at the bottom, it just looked gross. (Sorry no pictures of the incident, I was too frantic at the time to take any).

I never felt so sad over cake. All that hard work gone to poop. But I had to think of something quick to try to fix this cake. So... I ended up trying to scrape away the  runny ganache off the cake with a rubber spatula. Initially it was a total hot mess of a cake...  it looked like smeared poop... But as I was smearing the ganache more on the cake, I started getting this really cool design on the cake that looked like wood grain. So I went with it, and kept scraping away excess ganache and finally It all made sense.
Now it looks very natural and earthy with all the chocolate shades. It looked like I kinda meant to do that, rather than a total CAKE FAIL. When it was all done, it had a rustic-vintage cake feel, with a slight dash of pretty.

I used a Wilton 1M piping tip to create the little pink florets on top of the cake.
I couldn't wait to put candles on this cake!!

It seemed so long until we got to slice into this baby, tempting me while it sat in our refrigerator until the weekend...
... And although I really wanted to put silver or gold candles, I was pinched with time and only got a hold of a single pink candle that I took from my mom's birthday pizzookie the night before... here she is ready to be served...
 ... I'm sure my mom appreciated just having 1 candle on the cake anyway...
... I love how that red cake looks against the pink frosting...the girly girl in me loves seeing that  ^_^
This was my first attempt at a homemade red velvet cake, but I've been told that red velvet cake is notorious for crumbs...and they weren't joking, the cake was crumby, but also rich and moist at the same time. The combination of the red velvet cake and the cream cheese frosting w/ chocolate ganache was a hit in my book. I must say it looks great! I do want to work on the recipe a bit more before I call her my "go-to" red velvet recipe, but for now, I do highly suggest this one!
 ... I saved the last big slice for myself =)
Happy Birthday mom!


1 comment:

  1. Now it looks very natural and earthy with all the chocolate shades. It looked like I kinda meant to do that, rather than a total cake fail. When it was all done, it had a rustic-vintage cake feel, with a slight dash of pretty.

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