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lions, tigers, and...zebras? oh my!

>> September 19, 2010

So these past few months have been crazy ridiculous! I mean the last time I was here it was July – I’ve barely looked up at the calendar long enough to realize that September is officially on its way out! I mean where did my summer go?

We’ve been super packed this summer, what with chasing Josh around his triathlons, visiting my parents, business trips, visiting Josh’s parents, wine parties, getting a new job (score!), school, work, dogs, and the rest of life I’ve clearly not found the time to update! Gah – I hate it when I do that!

Either way, I think this is the perfect opportunity to jump back into the swing of things. A few weeks ago a friend of ours mentioned that she was going to be having a birthday shindig. About a week before the party, we found out that she had planned to make her own birthday cake for the party – and well we all know that can’t happen. So I decided to embark on an endeavor to make her 25th birthday cake and my first ever fondant covered, tiered cake!

After researching the heck out of fondant and anything else involving sugar, flour, eggs, and butter I decided to make a two tiered red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting covered in my very own marshmallow fondant.

I was super nervous about working with fondant – but it truly wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Sure there were hang-ups, er I guess wrinkles, but all in all I felt pretty good about the final product! I’m definitely excited about my next go-round with the stuff – now I just have to decide what to make next!!

So, without further adieu - I give you my first fondant experience!

lions, tigers, and...zebras? oh my!

Red Velvet Cake

Adapted from Magnolia Bakery

3 1/3 c. cake flour
¾ c. unsalted butter, softened
2 ¼ c. sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tbs red food coloring**
3 tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ c. buttermilk
1 ½ tsp cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour three 9x2 in round cake pans, then line the bottoms with wax paper (I used parchment paper because I had it on hand, and it’s what I generally use for baking).

To make the cake: in a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until they are very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition.

In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in the three parts, alternating with the flour – make sure to begin and end with liquid. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.

In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda (watch for bubbles!). Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes (mine baked for closer to 40), or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

from Smitten Kitchen

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
½ c butter, at room temperature
3 c confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. With a mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat, on low speed to combine.


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