What does red taste like?
Does red taste like green smells?
That's right. Apparently things can "smell green" according to quality specifications in certain circles. Which is not to be confused with smelling like grass or a bush or peas or soybeans. No, the verbiage is that the chemical should "smell green" and people know what to smell for. So it would only seem logical, therefore, that red tastes.
Let me back up a bit. Today is a 5th Friday, one of four this year (or really most every year for that matter), but as a 5th Friday, it doesn't fit my normal cake, pie, bread, cookie Baking Friday 2014 pattern.
So what's a girl to do?
Bake, of course! Something extra special! Like this? Does this count as special?
Red Velvet. I've talked about this before, but it confuses me. Red Velvet confuses me. I've tried it quite a few times (tasting not baking) and every time that I do, I am left with, "Huh? I don't get it." And the Red Velvet bandwagon rolls on along, but I just sorta wave and watch it go. I don't jump on.
So I'm left with the question, "What does red taste like?" And most of the time when I ask people that, I get blank stares.
So I gave up on Red Velvet. For years.
And then I saw these recently, a special flavor for Valentine's.
So again, what's a girl to do?
Buy two bags, of course!
And decide that she has to tackle Red Velvet one more time...or maybe two more times....Yes, two more times, but this post is all about the first of those times.
So I began to research and look for recipes. Only then my friend, C, had a birthday party at Cracker Barrel on a Sunday, and we had a wait, so I started looking around at their shop. And saw a book called, Vintage Cakes.
Great title! Combines the ideas of history with romance and baking. What's a girl to do?
Start reading, of course!
And lo and behold! To what did my wandering eyes appear, but a bonafide Red Velvet recipe!
And would you look at that? Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting! Of course! Take cream cheese icing to the next level!
And look at this? A full 1/2 cup of cocoa! Not just a mere 1/4 cup that doesn't lend any real chocolate help to the "red" taste. This cake has potential!
In an effort to boost all the flavor into this cake as I could, I decided to use French Silk as a filling between the layers. Why hadn't I ever thought about using French Silk Pie filling as a cake filling before?! It's so very simple and yummy and tasty that it makes a pretty perfect cake filling, but I'd never done it until this cake!
So that means this was a heart-shaped RV cake with French Silk filling and Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting. Sounded like it had good potential to be a special 5th Friday cake!
And if the responses from those at work are any indication, I think I can safely say that it was!
My opening email to let folks know an RV cake was in da house included the question "Do you know what red tastes like?"
And I actually got some great answers! I heard...
...red tastes like cinnamon. (Except isn't it cinnamon that tastes like cinnamon?)
...red tastes like cherry. (Except isn't it cherry that tastes like cherry?)
I'm starting to think I'm going to hear "red tastes like chicken..."
...red tastes like red vines. (At least that one is unique!)
But the best answer of all - by a true lover of all things RV -
...red tastes like love.
I can accept that answer. I may not know what it means in terms of a flavor, but the romantic in me can't find a single argument against that answer.
So there you have it. Red tastes like love.
Unless, of course, you espouse to the belief that RV can't be sold as RV unless it is made with beets, in which case red may taste like beets, but I didn't make this cake with beets. Not that I would be against trying it sometime with beets, but I might have to sneak that from G, if so!
So how was the cake once it was cut and tasted?
This is great!
That cake is so dang good if I have a second piece I will be headed for dangerous territory!
"Danger, Will Robinson! Danger, Will Robinson!"
(extra age points handed out if you know that reference without Google!)
My heavens, this is utterly divine. I could be a very fat man... Thank you for blessing us with this!
And from those who, like me, are not RV fans, I heard things like...
This is so gooood. Are you sure it's red velvet?
It's one of the top 2 red velvet cakes I've ever eaten but it's still low my cake list. You moved it up to 47 from 50, but it's still pretty low. (This from a man who didn't really care for the RV M&M's either.)
So what did I think? In all honesty, I actually liked it. For the first time ever I enjoyed a piece of RV cake. Now that may sound like I'm bragging about my cooking, but I don't mean it that way. I mean it is a good recipe. I could taste the cocoa, and the French Silk filling plus the icing were a very nice complement. The cake was moist and...dare I say it? I tasted the love!
There, I get to keep my hopeless romantic card for another week!
Anyone interested in seeing the full recipe and step-by-step pics? If so, read below. It not, that's ok. I hope you enjoyed stopping by to hear this much! Come back next week for RV Part II!
Here are the ingredients I used for the cake and the icing. And if you want to use a French Silk filling, just use any French Silk recipe that you find online or in your recipe box, but chances are you will only need a half recipe. So either only make half (like I did) or make a whole and use half on the cake and half in a tart!
For the cake
2-1/2 cups of cake flour
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
4 T. buttermilk powder (see pic below)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Generous splashes of vanilla and almond
Up to 1 T. of red food coloring (I have gel paste on hand so that is what I used.)
3/4 cup butter (I used salted because that's what I have on hand)
1-3/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup water
If you aren't familiar with buttermilk powder, I highly recommend you try it sometime! You get all of the baking benefits of buttermilk without the corresponding worry of "what am I going to do with all of that leftover buttermilk?!"
This is what it looks like inside the can.
Preheat the oven to 350. And prepare your 8" - 9" pans by lining the bottom with parchment and spraying the parchment only with baking spray. (ps - I only have one 9" heart shaped pan, so I had to bake twice.) (pss - I reused the same piece of parchment by simply turning it over for the 2nd baking. You can call me cheap or frugal. Your choice!)
Begin by stirring together all of the dry ingredients, including the buttermilk powder (if using). If you use full buttermilk, then substitute buttermilk for the water called for above.
Combine the oil, flavorings and food color together. If you use gel paste, stir a bit to combine.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the oil until well combined. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, and your batter will look pretty red!
Add the dry ingredients and the water alternately with the mixer on low speed, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. The batter won't be as bright a red; it will be more of a darker chocolaty red.
Once all combined, spread in your pans and bake for about 30 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Do not over bake. I checked at 30 minutes, and in my oven this size pan needed another 7 or so minutes.
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then flip out onto the rack.
Remove the parchment and let cool completely before filling or frosting.
For the mascarpone cream cheese frosting, combine:
1/3 cup softened mascarpone (or up to 8oz.)
8oz softened cream cheese
1/4 cup softened butter
Dash of salt
Splash of vanilla and almond
1/2 cup of marshmallow creme (optional but a fun addition!)
1 lb. of powdered sugar
2 - 4 T. cream or half-n-half
Whip everything together until light and fluffy and yummy!
Here is the French Silk filling - sweet and silky and chocolaty! Ahhhh....
And now for the assembly fun!!!
Split the bottom layer in half.
Create an icing dam border around the edge...
Fill the middle with French Silk. (Do your best not to lick the spoon!)
And then lather, rinse, repeat comes to mind...
And now you're ready to frost the outside! Once it is done, the cake should be stored in the fridge and then brought to room temperature when serving (if you can wait that long! If not, cold cake is good, too!)
And then decorate as you please! Here is what I did...
Borders first to support the ruffles and flowers.
RV M&Ms on the base...
One ruffle...is that enough?
It just seems like it needed a 2nd ruffle!
Fire and ice roses...
Pink roses with red tips...
A few hearts around the side..
And then POOF! It was done!
Hope you enjoyed the story the pictures told! A true Deb Dissertation...er, I mean Deb Dessertation!
Just how long IS this post???
Just how long IS this post???