Sweet Stuff

Happy 100 Posts

Macheesmo hits a milestone of sorts today – 100 posts. I can’t believe that I’ve actually authored 100 different things.

A lot of what I write and cook is based off of what readers email me or yell to me on the streets. So thanks to everyone who reads and hopefully enjoys this new project of mine.

I don’t usually talk about stats, but I thought it might be interesting to give a few at this point. Since my first post on Sept. 18th:

– 13,530 unique people have somehow discovered Macheesmo.
– Those people have viewed 32,200 pages on the site.
– CA wins the award for state with most visitors (2,100).
– There have been 294 very insightful and/or funny comments in that time.

As a treat, I thought I would make this awesome red velvet cake.

I’ve had really good red velvet cake and I’ve had so-so red velvet cake. This recipe is one of the best that I’ve seen.

Red Velvet Cake (From my girl Martha Stewart. So good it’s criminal.)

– 3/4 Cup unsalted butter, room temp. Plus a bit to grease pans.
– 287 grams cake flour (not self-rising). Plus a bit for pans. 2 1/2 cups.
– 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
– 2 Cups sugar
– 3 large eggs
– 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/4 Teaspoon salt
– 2 1-ounce bottles of red liquid food coloring (NOTE: I only used one and my cake was DAMN red.)
– 3 Tablespoons lukewarm water
– 1 Cup buttermilk (very important)
– 1 Teaspoon baking soda
– 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
– 1 Cream cheese frosting recipe below.

One big problem that people encounter with red velvet cake is they end up with a dry cake. In my opinion there are four reasons why this could happen to a cake:

1) Using a bad recipe.
2) Overcooking the cake.
3) Not using cake flour. It’s pretty important for cakes hence the name.
4) Not measuring the flour by weight.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you have to be very careful not to pack in your cups of flour. If you have too much flour you will end up with a very heavy, dry cake.

If you make more than one cake a year, just buy a digital scale. I use mine all of the time for stuff other than cakes and my bustling narcotics ring.

This is how much weight you will gain after eating this entire cake.

You will gain more weight than this if you eat the entire cake. Promise.

Once you have your flour, combine that well with your cocoa powder and baking powder. A whisk is the tool you want for this.

This part of cake making is so dry.

This part of cake making is so dry.

Next, preheat your oven to 350 and lightly butter and flour your cake tins. You can use just one tin if you want, but you have to make sure it is cool before you start your second cake.

Butter. Flour. Done.

Butter. Flour. Done.

So our dry ingredients are set and our pans are ready. Now for the wet part. With an electric mixer, combine your butter and sugar and beat on medium for about 15 minutes. You should end up with a light and airy mixture.

Then slowly add in your eggs, one at a time. Then add your vanilla, salt, food coloring, and water. Combine this all really well.

The wet stuff.

The wet stuff.

Next, add about 1/3 of your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and combine. Then add 1/3 of your buttermilk. Combine. Keep alternating until all of your dry ingredients and buttermilk are mixed in.

In a separate bowl, mix together your baking soda and vinegar. It will bubble like crazy. Quickly add that to your batter and combine well. Don’t over-mix though.

You should have one delicious rich batter.

How could you get more red than this?

How could you get more red than this?

Now split your batter into two cake tins. If you have one of those digital scales I mentioned, this will be easy. Just make sure both your tins weigh the same before they go in the oven.

Obviously you can eyeball it if you don’t have a scale, but a scale really is helpful.

I lot of love (butter) went into this.

I lot of love (butter) went into this.

Ok. Now these guys are all set for the oven. 350 for about 30 minutes. I would start checking at 25 minutes though. They are done when a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

Move them to a rack right away to cool. Let them cool in the cake tins for about 5 minutes and then take them out of the pans and let them cool until they are at room temperature, probably 30 minutes.

After a baking.

After a baking.

While we are waiting for these guys to cool, let’s make the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

– 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, room temp
– 1 Cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I didn’t really sift mine. Still delicious.)
– 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat your butter with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until it is fluffy, then add in your cream cheese. Again, beat it for about 2 minutes until it is smooth. Slowly beat in your sugar and finally your vanilla.

Resist the urge to eat it all with a spoon.

Frost frost baby.

Frost frost baby.

This next part was a bit tricky. Normally, a real baker would have a revolving platter that they can put the cake on. The fact that the plate can turn makes it easy to level and also frost.

I do not have a revolving cake platter. So I made one.

I got a normal kitchen plate, turned it upside down, and put one of my 9 inch cake pans on top. Turns out it fits perfectly and is raised just high enough to spin easily. I spun my cake around for a few minutes, admiring my work, before proceeding.

Next you need to level off your cakes. Whatever side was on top will have a slight bulge to it. Grab your largest serrated knife and try to get it as level as possible.

It was at this point when I realized how crazy Ace of Cakes is. Carving cake is NOT an easy thing to do.

Ghetto spinning platter.

Ghetto spinning platter.

I leveled both of my cakes and then frosted.

Try to keep your red flecks to a minimum.

Try to keep your red flecks to a minimum.

Add the top layer. Perfection. Sort of.

Two layers was too easy. I might have to try eight next time.

Two layers was too easy. I might have to try eight next time.

Then the part I suck at: the actual frosting. I think ideally, you don’t want any red flecks in your white frosting. I found this impossible. Nobody is buying my cake though so whatever.

It’s easiest to frost the sides and then the top.

NOT my specialty.

NOT my specialty.

Eat a piece and then hide the rest from friends so you can eat it later.

Moist and delicious.

Moist and delicious.

Thanks again to everyone who reads Macheesmo.

If there is something you would like to see or not see on this site, now is the time to speak your mind! Shoot me an email or leave a comment.

Hopefully, the next 100 will be even better.

9 comments on “Happy 100 Posts

  1. Dear Citizen,

    Congratulations on 100 posts. It seems like just yesterday you were dressing up as Willy Wonka and wandering the streets of Washington, DC (this may or may not have occurred around Halloween). Look at you now Citizen, all grows'd up. I do have a tip that every red-velvet eating American can appreciate. While frosting the cake, cut a small piece out of the middle of the cake. Eat that piece. Fill in the hole you have just created with extra frosting. Everyone wins in this scenario, you get the fruits of your labor and the person who gets the hole-y slice gets some extra frosting.

    Over the next four years I hope to continue to provide the Macheesmo-reading American public with food tips and tricks. And Citizen, I am still hoping that you can help me find something that Michelle can cook (besides hot pockets and Ellio's pizza).

    God bless America,

    B. Obama, Esq.

  2. Congrats! Red Velvet cake is such a perfect way to celebrate. It’s my absolute favorite, when it’s done right! Look forward to more posts from you…

  3. sooo yummy! Great poictures. Congratulations! I want to touch this wonderful cake through my PC screen. (and of course, taste if possible.) Wish I could do.

  4. to keep the red flecks out of the frosting, try coating the entire cake with a layer of melted applesauce and then freeze it for a couple of hours… once the cake is frozen, the applesauce makes a seal so the crumbs don't mix with the frosting.

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