Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Baking Memories

I have no problem admitting that cooking is my most all-time favorite hobby. I could read recipes, plan menus, and cook for hours on end without being exposed to another human being for days and not once feel a hint of loneliness. That being said, nothing is more rewarding than sharing a truly memorable cooking experience with another person. As I thought about experiences in the kitchen that I had growing up, I realized that several people throughout my life have had an impact on me and how I feel about creating dishes for the ones I love. I fast-forwarded in my head and made a silent wish that I would someday change my children and grandchildren's view of cooking the way those before me have. Before I could finish my "someday somehow" dreams, I suddenly remembered a very memorable experience I had already had in the kitchen with someone very special to me. I realized that I didn't need to wait until I had my own children or even longer for my own grandchildren to share experiences in the kitchen with children that I love - I already had. Last summer, after my sister had her second child (my first niece), I spent some time at her home with her son (my godchild) Scout. One of the many activities we did that weekend (on one of our breaks from "Crouching Father, Hidden Toddler" Yoga) was to bake a Red Velvet Cake for his Daddy's Birthday. It was so much fun to have him help in the kitchen. And by help I mean lick the Mixer Attachment as I iced the cake.

We used a recipe I found on the Food Network's website and it turned out pretty delicious. It was my first time making a red velvet cake and I must admit that the amount of food coloring required alarmed me - but it was all good and extra yummy.

Sylvia's Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 ounces red food coloring
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 pound box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) cake pans. In a medium bowl or on a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in eggs one at a time. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk. Beat in food coloring and vinegar, then add vanilla. Spread the batter evenly in the pans. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool. For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter. Beat in confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Stir in pecans. Use frosting to fill and ice cake. (Notice in the first picture - I used a trick I learned for Ina Garten for icing the cake. If you place the cake on pieces of parchment you can ice the whole cake and remove the parchment when you are done and your result is a clean cake plate). Slice and serve on individual plates


Woody said...

was that during the era of "sister bake?"

Elizabeth F. said...

Get with it Forrest - it was waaaay after Sister Bake (to be addressed in future blogs), we were already living in DC when Sawyer was born.

Anonymous said...

nice kitchen!