Red Velvet (Albino) Half-Cake

I made a red velvet cake – without red food coloring. I love red velvet cake. I don’t know what is so irresistible about it. Is it the contrast between the deep red cake and the snow white icing? Or is it just the inexplicable flavor of the cake that you can’t put your finger on? Well, this cake I made proves that red velvet cake is delicious even without the red food dye.

It’s called a half-cake because I only made one layer and cut it into half. It is such a sumptuous treat for such a simple cake. There was no butter in it, but the oil made it very moist and flavorful (and a lot easier to mix up too – creaming butter without a mixer is a huge pain). The whipped cream frosting is very simple, and would be a lot simpler if I didn’t have to whip the cream by hand. But hey, the lack of fancy tools to aid my baking helps me to 1) bake less and 2) work out more! And oh, my frosting skills are not quite there yet.

One thing I noted was that the cake sunk a little bit in the center. I don’t know if it’s because I substituted out self-rising flour, or what it is.
Red Velvet Half-Cake with Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Cookie Madness
Makes half a 9-inch round cake

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 7/8 teaspoons baking powder
5/8 teaspoon salt
(above three ingredients are substitutes for self-rising flour; original recipe uses 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour)
1 tablespoon natural (not dark) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon red wine or any type of regular vinegar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 large egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the sides.

Mix the flour, cocoa and baking soda together in a small bowl and set aside.

Mix the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring together in a liquid measuring cup and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, oil and sugar. Using a heavy duty scraper or large spoon, add the flour mixture and milk mixture to the egg mixture alternately in three parts, stirring until flour is mixed in.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a pick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from pan. If using a springform, you can remove the sides and invert.

Let cool completely.

Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Allrecipes
Frosts a half-cake, and then some

1 cup heavy cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

To make frosting, whip heavy cream till soft peaks form. Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla till creamy. Fold into whipped cream.

To make a layer cake, cut the cake round in half. Ice one half. Stack second half on top and ice the whole half-cake.

Note:
It’s easier to whip cream when the bowl, whisk, and cream is very cold. Adding a tablespoon or two of sugar from the 1 cup into the cream before whipping helps it whip up faster.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

The recipe for these cupcakes are from Magnolia Bakery. I didn’t like them too much, though. The cheesecake filling wasn’t very sweet and neither was the cake. However, the cupcake was much improved upon chilling. The cake took on a brownie-like texture, and the cheesecake filling felt smooth and velvety.

Black Bottom Cupcakes
Adapted from Cookie Madness
Makes 9 cupcakes

Filling:
6 oz cream cheese, not softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp large egg, room temperature
1/6 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Cake:
7/8 cups all-purpose flour
3/8 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder – Hershey’s Dark
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with 9 paper cups.

In a stand mixer, beat the cold cream cheese until fairly smooth. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; mix well set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the vegetable oil and sugar – I did this with a hand-held electric mixer, but a whisk would probably be fine. The mixture was kind of thick and grainy and didn’t hold a lot of air.

Mix the buttermilk and vanilla together in a cup, then add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the oil mixture alternately, stirring rather than beating, until flour is incorporated.

Divide the chocolate batter evenly among the muffins tins and top with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture.

Bake in preheated oven on center for 28-30 minutes. Cool at room temperature for about half an hour and then chill until very cold.

Notes:
The cupcakes came out a little dry. I used natural cocoa powder, not Dutched or dark. I’d bake them a little less and cool in the pan for maybe 20 minutes instead. I didn’t like the mini chips in the cheese filling. Might use different chocolate or eliminate them in the future.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Trifle

Ooh la la. This is a personal creation. It’s pretty delicious, and very easy to make. No bake, just assemble and you’re ready to go.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Trifle
Serves 2-3

For cream cheese flavored whipped cream:
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp milk

Add sugar to heavy cream. Whip heavy cream till soft peaks form. (Tip: keep heavy cream chilled, and chill bowl and whisk prior to whipping.) Add milk to cream cheese. Mix till evenly mixed.

For rest of trifle:
5 graham cracker sheets
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
4 tbsp caramel sauce with1 tsp salt

Layer in a glass bowl or any bowl with high sides in this order: graham crackers, whipped cream, caramel sauce, chocolate chips for about three layers. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.