Sunday, October 16, 2011

Southern Comfort Red Velvet Cake

Everywhere I go these days online, there are discussions about Red Velvet Cake. I finally found what I believe to be the most acceptable truth about the origin of this controversial cake: -the-unknown-history-of-red-velvet-cake
I've recently gotten affirmation that the original frosting for the Red Velvet Cake was a cooked flour frosting:     

Cooked Frosting
3 tbsp. flour
1 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cook flour and milk together, stirring constantly until thick and then let cool. Mix in a bowl the remaining ingredients. Now add cooled flour mixture to this. Beat for 15 minutes with a mixer.

And here is my favorite variation recipe:

Southern Comfort Red Velvet Cake
Makes 12 to 16 servings or 24 cupcakes
For the cake:
3 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (try to find Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa powder--rich!and helps the red be darker and richer)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Southern Comfort
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 (1-ounce) jar Wilton's "no-taste" red food coloring
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
For the frosting:
1 3/4 sticks butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Southern Comfort
Chopped toasted pecans, for garnish (optional)

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter, or spray them with nonstick spray. Dust them with flour and tap out the excess.
Whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, Southern Comfort, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack, and then remove them from the pans and cool completely.

To make the frosting: Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Add 6 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, the milk, and the Southern Comfort. Beat on low speed until creamy. Gradually add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, until the frosting has reached the desired consistency.
Place one cake layer on a plate and spread it with about one-third of the frosting. Top with the remaining cake layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the cake with chopped pecans, if using.

I made this cake in three tiers of two layers each--14"- 10"- and 6"x 4", each layer torted and brushed with Southern Comfort Simple Syrup (1 c sugar, 1 c water and 1/2 c Southern Comfort-boiled together till the sugar was dissolved), and filled with apricot preserves.   The recipe multiplied out nicely, and baked up nice and level, using Metal Flower Nails (the ones used to make buttercream roses) baked into the centers, points-up (you easily remove them when you invert the layers out of the pans).  Three in the largest layer and two in the next size up.  
Here's the wedding cake:
The decoration on the tiers was strips of fondant painted with red royal icing in the pattern from the invitations, the topper was pastillage,a full moon with the couple and palm trees from the save the date card.
The red flowers were red morning glories, inspired by the inside of the invitation. The separator was four ice cream sundae glasses with battery-operated led tea lights inside.

The Doctor Who TA.R.D.I.S. cake was the groom cake--stacked pineapple upside down cake with buttercream frosting and a flashing light on top.