Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kitchen massacre...

....with good good results.

Red velvet cake has been on my list of things to bake for quite some time so yesterday, while I was downtown, I stopped by the Gourmet Warehouse and picked up some red food gel and vanilla bean paste. The results were fantastic. I used this recipe I found on How to Eat a Cupcake and made only a few tiny tiny changes.

The recipe calls for two tablespoons of red food gel (don't try making this with regular food colouring. It will take many many bottles to get the same result). I had only bought one bottle of this stuff but it was SUPER RED so one bottle was all I needed.

I have read about vanilla bean paste on quite a few baking blogs and have been eager to buy some for a while. I saw some at Sur la Table while I was in Seattle last summer but was a little short on funds then. After using this stuff, I don't think I will ever use vanilla extract again. Especially when it comes to frosting. I love the natural vanilla ice cream that Breyers makes with the little dots of vanilla in it and the frosting I made tastes exactly like it!

.....I may or may not have eaten it out of the bowl by the spoonful.

The kitchen was a bloody mess (har har)


1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 bottle (.75 oz) Super Red food gel dye (or 2 tablespoons regular red)
1/4 cup boiling water

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans (or three 8-inch pans), line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour and knock out excess flour.

In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, food colouring, and boiling water. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (I sadly do not own one of these so I just use my trusty hand-mixer and it works fine), cream together butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egss, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir the buttermilk and vanilla into the cooled cocoa mixture.

Sift the flour and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, to the egg mixture in three separate additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. (So, flour-cocoa-flour-cocoa-flour). Beat until incorporated.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir until the baking soda dissolves. Add to the batter and stir until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.

Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Makes two 9-inch cakes.


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together sugar and flour. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add butter; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly; beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.


  1. That looks and sounds DELICIOUS. AHHH. The frosting especially, I LOVE a really good vanilla taste. <3


    sounds like a band name


  3. I need to find some place in Milwaukee that sells vanilla bean paste when I get back.

    That band name makes me laugh.