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Friday, January 17, 2014

red velvet cake; a true southern classic

in the past, our family birthday tradition was an ice cream cake, a store bought ice cream cake.  not a very exciting tradition but our girls loved it.  as the girls have grown up, they have moved on to other types of cake.  blame me for that.  several years ago, i insisted that they make me a birthday cake, from scratch, no mixes allowed and definitely no ice cream!  it just seemed to me that if the cake was made by my family, it would be better and have more sentiment than anything that could be purchased.  and it did; it was one of the best birthday cakes i could have had.   the girls caught on to this quickly and let me know exactly what cake they would like me to make.  my husband still prefers the ice cream cake...

our younger daughter, devon, is coming up on her 21rst birthday.  while she was home for the holidays, i told her i would make her a cake-even though it was early since i wouldn't be able to make her one on her birthday.  she quickly chose a red velvet cake slathered in cream cheese frosting, it is her favorite.

 if you follow food trends, you are most likely aware of the over abundance of red velvet.  from cookies to pancakes and cheesecakes, everything including hot chocolate mix seems to have been repackaged as red velvet.  yeah, it needs to stop.  a recent column by sean timberlake on blogher.com listed the reason why, the various concoctions just do not taste all that good and neither do most versions of the classic layer cake.  well sean, i invite you to try a slice of the cake made from my recipe because like you, i did not care for red velvet cake either until i needed to come up with a recipe for the cafe.

so what's not to like about red velvet cake?  for starters, almost every recipe you read will call for either shortening or vegetable oil and neither offers any flavor to the cake.  then for some strange reason, the recipes all ask for cocoa powder in amounts so ridiculously small that it seems like a waste of time to include it.  honestly, what can a tablespoon or (possibly but not necessarily) two tablespoons of cocoa powder do for a cake?  and finally, that bottle of red food color that must be included to call it red velvet cake.  it isn't hard to see why i might not get excited over this southern classic.

so how does one make this concoction tasty?  butter for starters because it really does add flavor.  since i did not want the red color to be the only other flavor, i upped the ante on the cocoa.  my recipe calls for 1/3 cup and it makes a big difference  in the flavor and the color.  but it doesn't stop there, the recipe also uses dark brown sugar, vanilla extract and buttermilk for a tender as well as tasty cake that is definitely birthday worthy!

all dressed up in a generous amount of cream cheese frosting.  don't you love the vintage fenton cake plate?  we received it as a gift from my mother in law and this was the first cake i put on it.

 i love the red color that the combination of dark brown sugar and cocoa powder give the cake.

it did not last long in our house!  to see the recipe, follow this link to the cafe's website.  so, if you make one, raise a fork to the diva!

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