To all the people who have heard me whine about the rain, the cold, the clouds, the grey...I apologize. It's Seattle! It rains. And while I used to love the rain, living here has sorta ruined it for me. I used to wake up in the middle of the night and hear the water on the roof, the pitter-patter in the dark and it would make me so happy. Now when I hear rain it is terrible news. I roll over in my bed and I become a midnight pessimist. Everything is awful, nothing is good. What is the point of it all anyway? Tomorrow the cuffs of my pants will get soggy, my fingers will be cold, it will be no fun driving...
But the things is, when the sun does shine, it is beautiful. It is gorgeous. Absolutely 100% spirit lifting. I think it's the deprivation that does it, never seeing the sun makes it a really big deal when it finally comes out.
One of the things that makes my day so much better when the sun comes out is the trees.
Trees are awesome. I remember one time when me and a friend were on a hike I told her that I didn't think I would ever fall in love because no boy would ever understand how much I liked trees. (She thought I was crazy. She was completely right. I was nuts. I am nuts.) I've since come to realize that understanding a person and what they enjoy might not have anything to do with if you fall in love with them or not. Eh. Give me a break, I was 13, and the idea of trees affecting my romantic life was poetic.
Anyways, enough about my weird middle school days...but trees! Trees are great, and the huge tall dusky ones that live here in Seattle were the inspiration behind this cake.
Oh, and this post of Chocolate and Carrots here. She had the idea first. But I out did her...because I have cupcakes too. ;) Three layers of red velvet. Cream cheese icing. Chocolate trees.
And it went perfectly! Not a hiccup. I thought for a moment that I might have over-baked the first two layers. Nope. Just right.
I don't even like Red Velvet cake and this stuff was good.
Best part? It was sunny the day I took these pictures! ;) The sun makes everything better. So much better.
"When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from ...home. But every step and every day lead you back again. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all." -Herman Hesse
Oh, and I made cupcakes too. Ha. You thought you were going to escape from cupcakes this post. No such luck, amigos.
-This recipe is for one two layer 8 inch cake. I made a double batch which gave me three layers and one dozen cupcakes. Either way is tasty and awesome.
-The original recipe calls for a whole bottle of red coloring. I used one half for each batch, which resulted in a more subtle red color. I like it better this way. That's how traditional red velvet looks. (at least, in my obvious expert opinion it is. Ha!) If you like a deeper color red than use the whole thing. Dump it in there like a crazy person! Whoohoo!
-This cake will stick to your pans. It is inevitable. It's because its so tasty the pan doesn't want to let it go. It's okay...just put a wax paper circle or parchment paper circle in the bottom of your cake pans after you grease and flour them. Your cake will pop right out and you can peel the paper off your layers after they're cool.
-I had some raspberry pie filling (just a tad) leftover from some hand pies I made last week so I spread it very very thin in between the layers, just on top of the cake, under the frosting. I wanted to keep it from being too dry. But it isn't part of the recipe is definitely is up to your discretion. But seriously, I'm questioning your discretion if you veto raspberries at anytime. ;)
-I had to make three batches of icing for the cake and cupcakes. But two should cover it...and that's if you love mountains of frosting on your confections.
2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 TB cocoa
2 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 bottle red food coloring
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 c. coffee
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour your cake pans. Cut wax paper or parchment paper circles to put in the bottom. Whisk together your dry ingredients in a big bowl. In another large bowl combine the sugar and oil and eggs. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and red food coloring. It will get interesting now because it now appears like you're involved in Aztec human sacrifice. Red food coloring looks really bloody.
Cream Cheese Icing
1 stick butter-soft
1 8 oz package cream cheese-soft
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-3 TB of heavy cream if needed
Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar slowly, while keeping the stand mixer on the lowest setting. (Or you could dump it all in at once on high speed and have it spray you in the face and you could sneeze powder sugar boogers all day. That works too.) Add vanilla. If it is too thick to spread or pipe, add the cream one spoon at a time, whipping well after each addition. It will get fluffy and perfect in no time. Spread this all over, between, on top of your red velvet masterpiece. Oh yeah.
|Halfway though our frosting party. Look at that! It's a lot of cream cheese. It's so happy.|