Waiter, there’s something in my cake!

Red Velvet Cake with Fresh Berries and Cream Cheese Frosting

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved to bake. I remember sifting through my mom’s ‘Joy of Cooking’ and picking out my next conquest; peanut butter bars, devil’s food cake, oatmeal cookies. This passion however, I did not inherit from my mother. Don’t get me wrong, if she puts her mind to it she can turn out some mean desserts. But baking is not her forte. It’s too precise, and takes too much patience. Most of all, it requires measuring ingredients. That’s precisely what I love about it. Sure it can be frustrating, turn out hard as a rock or swish about in all its unset glory. But there is something so ultimately homey about baking. The smell of freshly baked goods wafting through the house is the ultimate home fragrance. Why else would Yankee make Apple Pie and Vanilla Sugar Cookie scented candles? When I bake, I get in the zone and enter a zen like state. Concentration is key, something I’ve learned the hard way – through garbage bagfuls of baking disasters over the last few years. The irony is that after spending hours of sifting, measuring, mixing, creaming and waiting for the timer to go off; I’ll eat a single cookie or a slice of cake and then be done with it and on to figuring out my next foray. There’s just something about the process of baking something myself that satisfies my craving rather than actually eating it. I know it’s sounds strange… I mean set a cake you’ve baked in front of me and I’ll eat my fill. Of course, there are some occasions where I’ll bake something that is so delicious, I can’t keep my hands off it!

When I heard that this month’s theme for ‘Waiter, there’s something in my…‘ (hosted by Andrew at Spittoon Extra) was layer cakes, I was thrilled! This is my first time participating in WTSIM and I felt like I hit the jackpot. It was hard to choose between my two favourite layer cakes that I felt obliged to share, Red Velvet and Carrot Cake. Red Velvet won out this time, but only because I felt the need to make the most of berries before their season is well and truly over. The first time I made this red velvet cake was on the 4th of July a few years ago and it was a raging success. Not only is it beautiful to look at, elegantly frosted in white and accessorised in red and blue berries, this cake is moist with a light texture. The slight hint of cocoa with the rich, creamy frosting and refreshingly sweet and tart berries make this cake a winner.

Red Velvet Cake with Fresh Berries and Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from Epicurious.com

Cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
  • 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbs red food coloring
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs

Frosting:

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

For Filling and Garnish:

  • 3 1/2-pint baskets fresh raspberries
  • 3 1/2-pint baskets fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line the bottom of each pan with a buttered circle of parchment paper.

Sift the sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. (Make sure to sift these together as it really affects the texture of the cake). Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions until just incorporated, do not overmix.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes but check earlier so as to ensure you don’t overcook the cake. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add the powdered sugar a bit at a time and beat until smooth.

To assemble, place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over top of the cake. Arrange 1 basket raspberries and 1/2 basket blueberries atop frosting, pressing lightly to adhere. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Arrange remaining berries decoratively over top of cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

Note: I always end up with extra frosting as I like a thin layer in the middle and then just enough to evenly cover the cake. This prevents the overall sweetness factor from becoming too cloying.

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3 thoughts on “Waiter, there’s something in my cake!

  1. Your cake looks fabulous! Red Velvet cake is so pretty to begin with, but the berries really add the “wow” factor. Great job!

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