Sunday, December 18, 2011

Red's Red Velvet Cake, Part One

My fiancé’s birthday is on December 23.  Inevitably, due to holiday conflicts, his birthday is never celebrated ON his birthday and he always gets his birthday and Christmas presents combined, poor bastard. Unfortunately for him (although much to my chagrin), he is turning 30 this year.  I take delight in the new ammunition.  Doing my wifely duty, I asked what I could contribute to the family birthday party (parents, grandmother, brother’s family, best friend’s family – you know the drill) and he quickly piped up that he wanted Red Velvet cake, which his mother did not pipe up and offer to make.  Shit.  AND, he added, none of that cream cheese frosting, I want a super fluffy white frosting.  I have never made it and only heard horror stories on keeping this dense cake moist.  Did I have time to do a practice run? Probably, but I’m not going grocery shopping till payday and don’t have most of the ingredients.  Hell, I don’t even own cake pans or a sifter (ahhh memories of cooking with mom and using her sifter with the old wooden green handles, you know what I'm talking about). Anxiety attack.  I have to make a new recipe, a difficult recipe, and serve it to people right out of the gates.  We have already discussed my baking abilities.  Unfortunately with a cake, you can’t just remove a slice and do quality control – people notice. 

So, I sucked it up and decided to make it the morning of the party (yes I started baking at 2:00 am, doesn’t everyone? Hey it’s gotta cool before you can frost it right?).  Let me explain what has to get done today: Deliver dozens of Christmas Cookies baked yesterday (while they are still fresh and nobody eats them), make Red Velvet Cake, return 1 chainsaw borrowed yesterday, take care of infant, hand wash adorable handmade infant sweater for family events, wash not so adorable fiancé’s work clothes, birthday party at 1, dinner at the Whately Inn (an hour away) at 6, wash mountain of dishes.  Ready, set, go!
After my shopping trip (yes, that was Saturday morning at 3:00 am, no kidding, see my shopping trip post) I was fully prepared to make Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cake recipe (see link below).  I read the reviews, decided hers would be best.  Fast forward to 2:15 am.  All the ingredients are out, coming up to room temperature, in the order that they are added to the batter, oven preheating, Christmas music blaring.  I tell myself that I took five semesters of chemistry and worked in the chemistry lab for a year, this is nothing.
By the time I got done making this thing, it looked like a 7th grade science experiment had gone wrong.  Lady Macbeth had nothing on me, perpetually washing my hands to get the red stains out.  There was red batter on the cabinets, baby bottles, and me.  Maybe the cat will jump up and lick it all off.  Yeah right. 
Well, I’m off to clean up this disaster area.  Stay tuned later for pictures and reviews of the final product…
By the way, I am making a complete, frosted second cake in case this one fails me.  I tell myself that its not my overwhelming perfection anxiety but being prepared in case one cake isn't enough or somebody doesn't like Red Velvet cake.  Yeah right. Freak.

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