Recovery

Hullo!

Updates:

1. 1st semester is done!!!

2. Vacationed for the weekend in Maui!

3. And to celebrate the 4th, I got to do two things I haven’t had the time to enjoy lately: photography and baking!

I’m no photographer by any means, and I’m definitely envious of my cousin’s photography skills with his fancy new(ish) Canon T3i while I have my (still fancy) Canon Rebel XT… that I don’t know how to use. Hmmm. Well, that could be a problem.

For the Fourth, I was charged with supplying dessert when we went to our auntie’s house to watch the fireworks after a yummy dinner. We thought that we’d only have a party of like, 7 or 8, but SURPRISE there were a few other families invited! There ended up being two potato salads, two salads, two watermelons, and a whole lot of desserts. Oops. Bad communication. 

Regardless, it was enjoyable and relaxing, especially for me, since I’ve been “studying” for the past… well, 6 weeks! Baking is most definitely one of my therapies, so it was no trouble for me to take a break from the books and concoct something hopefully delicious. 

In the spirit of Fourth of July, I decided to do something a little patriotic and very classic. Ta da!

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Sorry for the bad picture. As I said, I don’t know how to use my camera yet…

Anyways, this is Patriotic Red Velvet Cake! Mmm. Everybody loves red velvet, right? Surely a crowd-pleaser. 

I’m usually more inclined to make cupcakes, since they’re more fun to decorate, but since I haven’t made a cake in a while… well, why not?

Before I get to the recipe, explanation of my updates: first semester of summer school is done and luckily I did not too shabby overall! Today I started second semester, nervous because of the new (and allegedly more difficult) professor and content, but ready to go after a weekend in Maui with relatives and their friends! We got to snorkel in the most beautiful waters I’ve ever seen and see the sunset ABOVE THE CLOUDS from a peak overlooking the surrounding island and waters. 

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We got to eat good food, see amazing sights, and, best of all, simply hang out with some wonderful people. I know that I came off antisocial and isolated, which was obviously my mistake and something I regret so so much, but it was definitely the break I needed. I think I ended up getting out of my silent groove after a day or so, anyhow. #introvertproblems

And now that school has restarted, I find myself reminiscing on the good times had last week… especially the Star-Spangled (ish) cake! I don’t think this needs an introduction, so without further ado…

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Red Velvet “Open Layer” Cake

For the cake

  •  2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder + 1-2 tsp
  • 2 oz red food coloring
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp white vinegar

 For the cream cheese frosting

*Note: This batch produced enough for a thin layer in the middle of the cake layers and  enough to cover the top layer. If you really like cream cheese frosting on your red velvet cake, you might want to multiply this recipe by 1.5.

  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Grease two 9-inch round pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring. Set aside.

 2. Combine the buttermilk, salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the oil and 1 ½ cups sugar until light and fluffy. (This will look kind of slushy, but it should be well-mixed.) Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the cocoa mixture. Beat in the buttermilk mixture alternately with the flour, mixing until just incorporated. Stir together baking soda and vinegar then gently fold into the cake batter.

3. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

4. While waiting for the cake to bake, in a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioner’s sugar. Spoon half into another bowl and mix in as much blue food coloring as desired. (I added ~10 drops.) 

5. Once cakes are cool, transfer bottom layer onto serving platter. Spread either blue or white frosting on top, but not too close to the edges, as it will spread out when the top layer is added. Place second cake layer on top of middle frosting. Use other frosting to cover top. Garnish cake with blueberries, sprinkles, or other decorations. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. 

Happy belated 4th of July! What did you make?

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