Anyone who knows me can tell you this: birthdays are my favorite. Whether it’s my birth-week (yes, I get an entire week), or celebrating the birthday of a friend, I get so excited! This upcoming Saturday, it’s a birthday I’m more excited about than usual. My boyfriend Fabian will be turning 26, and I wanted to make sure his year started out extra special. Needless to say, I have been driving both him and myself crazy trying to prepare and make everything perfect.
I decided that for his friends dinner tomorrow night, I had to make him his favorite cake. Of course, his favorite isn’t something simple like chocolate or vanilla. Nope, my man wanted himself a red velvet cake. A RED VELVET CAKE. Do I look like Betty Crocker?! The perfectionist in me was by no means going to buy a Duncan Hines cake in a box and call it a day. I was going to make him the best homemade red velvet cake he would ever eat.
After a google search, I found a great recipe from the blog Divas Can Cook. It was simple, and had great reviews. What happened next is in no way her fault.
New York City kitchens are tiny, definitely not meant for cooking, and in my case outdated. Mixing the batter was easy, minus a run to Duane Reade to pick up more vanilla extract halfway through the recipe. But when I had gone to check on my cake in the oven, it started burning way before the recommended 30 minute cook time. I quickly took it out, put it in the refrigerator and decided to give it a day before I would try to frost it. Note to self: My oven temperature is really off.
Today, in order to attempt to save the cake, I cut around the edges, and made the two layers about an 8 inch round instead of 9. Burning problem, solved.
Next, I moved on to making the frosting. Once again, halfway through the recipe, I realized that my newly bought bottle of vanilla extract was missing. After a frantic search in my poor little kitchen, I decided the only thing to do was run out to Duane Reade (again) to grab a new bottle.
Following a powder sugar explosion, and a bit of a mess in the kitchen, the cake was FINALLY on it’s way to being iced. At this point the hallelujah chorus was playing in my head.
The cake was a bit crumbly from being hacked at, so the icing had little red flecks in it. To hide the imperfections, I took the cake crumbs from the burnt pieces and sprinkled them around the edges. The finished product?
I can now see why he confused me with Mrs Crocker.
But seriously. This cake faced some serious adversity and still came out pretty well. I was shocked, but also really proud of myself! It’s great to see what you can do when you put your mind to something.
For all you birthday lovers/cake enthusiasts out there, here are a few items I recommend for your baking adventures:
- Kitchenaid hand mixer. Pick one in a bright color to make baking fun! Mine is flamingo.
- Non-stick 9 inch cake pans. Perfect for making a two layer cake!
- Wilton Icing Spatula. I grew up watching my mother use these to ice all her cakes and cupcakes. A baking must have.
- Cooling Trays. Whether you’re making cookies, cupcakes, or a cake, you don’t realize how much you need a cooling tray until you go without one. After a bad Christmas cookie making experience in my apartment, I ordered myself a set right away!