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Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White, and Blue Cake

  Happy Independence Day!  Can you believe it's already the 4th of July (and the day is almost over, to boot)?  We've had a rather relaxing holiday weekend here.  My Uncle Dieter came for a visit (from Germany), so we had a nice family gathering for Sunday dinner.  Uncle Dieter isn't actually related to us by blood or marriage, but by a foreign exchange program that occurred years before I was born and has developed into a strong kinship with our whole family.  When Chris and I were in Berlin almost two years ago, we made sure to visit with his family.  Dieter was here to drop his daughter Andrea off just outside of Atlanta for her own two-week exchange experience.

Andrea, Dieter, Daniela, and Felix
  At any rate, this special visit combined with a holiday weekend necessitated a special dessert.  Now, if you look online you can find a variety of patriotic-themed desserts (and is that odd? I'm not sure I'd want a patriotic German dessert...).  The problem for most of them, though, is that they're decorated with berries, which I really don't like (yes, I know I'm a bit odd - just remember, more berries for you).  This problem was solved when my mom found a recipe for Blue Velvet Cake on Pinterest.  She proposed this: I would bake the blue cake, she would make her Red Velvet Cake, and we would exchange layers.  I was, of course, agreeable.  She cut each of her layers in half, and assembled with the frosting she always puts on her Red Velvet.  I didn't cut my layers in half and used the frosting from the Betty Crocker site.  It got great reviews, and I'd not tried one like it before.  I'm not entirely sure what went wrong, but it wasn't really easily spreadable.  It tastes fine, but I'm not sure I'll use it again.  Maybe I'll just blame it on the weather.  Anyway, here's a very low-light picture of the cake.

  You can find the recipe for the Blue Velvet cake and frosting here.  My mom's recipe for Red Velvet is included below.  I hope you all had a wonderfully enjoyable day.  And you know what? I think I could deal with a dessert the colors of Germany's flag if it were devil's food cake with peanut butter frosting, and maybe red frosting decoration?  It's not quite right, but I guess I have until October 3 to figure it out.

Red Velvet Cake
Cake Ingredients:
1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks) - softened
1.5 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 oz. red food coloring
2 teaspoons cocoa, leveled
2.5 cups cake flour (from a box)
pinch salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare cake pans.
Cream first three ingredients.  Make paste of cocoa and food color and add to mix.  Combine flour and salt, and buttermilk and vanilla.  Add to creamed ingredients, alternating wet and dry, starting and ending with dry.  Place baking soda on top and pour on vinegar.  Fold in - DO NOT STIR.  Bake in 2 prepared 9-inch pans for 30 minutes.  Cool completely before frosting.

Icing Ingredients:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup butter (2 sticks) - softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix starch and water.  Cook until thick over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Cool completely.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add vanilla and cooled cornstarch.  Beat until like whipped cream.

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