Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Sunday was my daughter's 12th birthday.  My darling baby girl, Bailey, is not a little girl anymore.  Instead, she has turned into this smart, funny, thoughtful and sometimes frustrating tween, seemingly, overnight.  I don't know when or how, exactly, that happened, but I've had to face the fact that she's growing up.  Sometimes I struggle with the concept, but most of the time I am enjoying this new phase we're in.  We talk, really talk, now, share jokes and secrets and even enjoy shopping together.  It's a new world, but I think we're ready to brave it.

Since the kids were old enough to have an opinion, I have let them choose their birthday meals.  Anything they want, within reason.  This year, Bailey chose Linguine with Pancetta, Spinach and Shallots, Parmesan Spinach Balls and a Red Velvet Cake.  I had no problem with the meal, but it has been a long time since I've made red velvet cake so I had to dig a recipe out.  You guys know how much I love (read loathe) baking, and this cake has a lot of steps, but I wouldn't dream of telling her no on her choice of birthday cake.  The one thing I had forgotten, though, was how much this cake is worth all the work.  It isn't a chocolate cake, so you can't go into it expecting that.  It's flavor is very subtle, which is why you need a good frosting to compliment it.  I've always liked cream cheese frosting but decided to take it one step further with white chocolate.  I think you'll like it, too.

Here's your Cast of Characters for the cake.

1/2 Cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 Cup sugar
2 Eggs
2 Ounces red food coloring (2 bottles)
1/4 Cup cocoa
1 Cup buttermilk
2 1/4 Cups cake flour
1 Tsp. salt
2 Tsps. vanilla
1 Tsp. baking soda
1 Tsp. vinegar

Cream butter, sugar and eggs.

Make a paste of the food coloring and cocoa.

Add to the creamed mixture.

Add salt to flour.  Alternate adding flour and buttermilk to the batter.

Add vanilla, mixing in briefly.

Add soda to vinegar, and blend into the batter.

Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 22 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  A couple of crumbs is okay, you don't want to overbake it.  Let cool for about 5 minutes before turning out of the pan onto wax paper.

Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

Here's your Cast of Characters for the White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

8 Ounce tub Philadelphia Indulgence White Chocolate Cream Cheese
1 Stick unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 Cups powdered sugar
1 Tsp. vanilla
1/8 Cup fat-free half and half

Use a mixer to cream together cream cheese and butter.

Yes, that is a whisk and not a mixer.  A few pictures down, I'll tell you why it's important to use the mixer.

Add powdered sugar, vanilla and half and half.  Beat with mixer until fluffy.

Spread a thick layer on the bottom cake, before placing second cake on top.

Use remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of both cakes.

Okay, see the slighly lumpy frosting?  That's what happens when you are in too much of a hurry to get out the hand mixer.  It tasted great, but it drove me crazy that it wasn't smooth and creamy.

Here's my birthday girl, blowing out her candles.

And, here's the Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.