Monday, June 20, 2011

simply delicious

by Lisa

Our new neighbor and friend, Jenn, is a dancer. From her, I've learned that if you give a hungry dancer a cupcake, she will eat it. And maybe want another.

Or three more.

After tasting Simply Dessert's* Red Velvet Cake, we decided to give a go at our own. I compared recipes and landed on the NY Times'. They call for three ounces of red food coloring - which, at $2.99/oz., I decided to skimp on. I bought one ounce and added two ounces of water to make up the volume.

We made a three-layer cake (our digital scale came in handy in making it even), but if you have the capacity, I think four layers would be amazing.

In my opinion, reducing the food coloring made no difference, and so other than that, I thought the recipe was fantastic.

*I've decided that "Simply Desserts" is simply a misnomer for this shop. While they do offer a cookie or a muffin for those who wish, their cases are primarily filled with huge delicious cakes. Try the Banana Amaretto and the Chocolate-White Chocolate.

Red Velvet Cake
adapted from the NY Times

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3½ cups cake flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil
2¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1¼ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2½ teaspoons white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place teaspoon of butter in each of 3 round 9-inch layer cake pans and place pans in oven for a few minutes until butter melts. Remove pans from oven, brush interior bottom and sides of each with butter and line bottoms with parchment.
2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.
5. Divide batter among pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, flip layers over and peel off parchment. Cool completely before frosting.

a foodie's worse nightmare

by Lisa

In the only Korean drama I've watched in its entirety, My Name is Kim Sam Soon, the protagonist says that she can't bake sweet things with a broken heart. Likewise for me, it's been hard to enjoy cooking after all these transitions. Moving to a new city where we didn't know anyone has made rare the opportunities to cook for big groups of people whom we love.

It's a foodie's worse nightmare when you can't even eat food and enjoy it. That's how it was when we first moved to Seattle. (Of all places to not enjoy food!)

Praise God that I'm getting over that one.

And so now I have a plethora of pictures and recipes for you, in the posts to follow.