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random musings

June 14, 2010

Instead of Sticking to the Diet (or Yummy Red Velvet Cake)

For me, part of the problem of being on a diet is having no outlet to cook. I'm as big a fan of leftovers and food ready to nuke as every other working person out there, but sometimes it's nice to cook. Although not so nice to clean up after. Actually, I'm a bigger fan of baking than stove top cooking, and deserts really aren't in the cards right now.

After working my way through Cake Boss, I was seriously hankering after making a cake. A layer cake. And since I make these guys, oh, once a year or so, we can assume my skills are nonexistent.

I started with this recipe, from smitten kitchen. Let's pause for a minute to wax lyrical about Deb [full disclosure - I do not know and will likely never meet her: this is strictly a blog crush]: the recipes on her site are wonderful, are well-written, well-photographed, and highly accessible. Did I mention that her son has the greatest head of hair? My mom says Deb must be a good person because of how kindly she words her responses to comments.

Anyways, back to me. Since it's only me here for the next month, and I really didn't want to eat a frosted 9" 3-layer cake, I decided to reduce the recipe by 1/3, to bake a square 8" cake. The idea was to cut the single layer of cake into quarters (4" square) and make a mini-cake, which I could work on for the next week.

Last night I made the cake:


Can you believe how red the batter is? Apparently 2 TBSP red food coloring is one bottle. Yikes!
The red was evident even after baking:



But when I cut the cake for assembly, ah, there was too much cake




In the above pic, the stack-o-cake is just 3/4 of the sheet. Which I dutifully filled and crumb coated:



Refrigerated and coated again:





Can you believe that this was my first time crumb coating a cake? This is the moistest cake I've ever tried to frost. Well, it definitely looks homemade. As a proof of concept cake, it was a success: the 4" mini layer cake is a good alternative for one, two or three people with small appetites. If I were to redo this particular cake, I would have refrigerated the frosting a smidge, and been more thorough with the crumb coating step. If you leave the sides unfrosted, I think half a recipe of frosting would be sufficient, although this application required about 2/3 of the frosting recipe.

And what of that last piece?

Mini-mini cakes:




I ate one (guess which?) and the rest went into the freezer.


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