So it’s been a long cold winter in Minnesota! One of the highlights to break up our colorless season is Valentines Day. Our friend Simon Hawksworth and his wife Avia who now live in beautiful Calistoga, CA lived in Minnesota a while back and best describes our winters as “like living in a black and white movie for six months” and I couldn’t agree more. Though we have beautiful changes in seasons, winter is too long and often just grey! For me, nothing says “Be Mine” like a little extra sweetness. I contemplated stopping at the little dessert shop in Anoka, but thought it would mean a lot more if I prepared a treat for my hon. Red velvet cake often makes an appearance on Valentine’s Day and many bakeries have their own version of this classic cake. As always when baking, you really should follow a recipe because it’s not like cooking where just dumping works. I found a few recipes on line and took my chances by changing them up a bit and worked simply with ingredients that I had on hand.
Tender, moist and not too sweet, this Red Velvet cake was a superstar following our meal. It’s interesting looking into this treat as food historians differ about the origin of red velvet cake. According to Betty Crocker, conventional wisdom says Red Velvet cake is a Southern invention. While it’s true that it has always been enjoyed in the South (and some say that it was “perfected” there), this is an all-American cake with roots across the country and beyond. One thing is certain, it is a great treat that is “Red” like a Valentine should be and it’s so good! It turned out to be a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift for my sweets-lover in your life, and also a bit of an indulgence for myself and my girlfriends who got to share the left overs at a following girls night!
1/4 Cup Butter, soft at room temperature
3/4 Cup Sugar
1-2 Tablespoons Red Food Coloring
1 Tablespoon Cocoa
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Vanilla Bean
1 teaspoon Soda
1/2 Cup Butter, soft at room temperature
1/2 Cup Cream Cheese, soft at room temperature
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
2-4 Tablespoons Milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two four inch ramekins with nonstick cooking spray and flour and line them with parchment paper that has been cut to fit the bottom.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, soda and salt. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, mix together sugar and butter until combined. Add eggs and beat until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Mix in the scraped vanilla and food coloring. Reduce speed to low and stir in the flour mixture in small batches, alternating with the addition of the buttermilk, stirring well.
Divide batter evenly in the baking dishes. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Transfer baking dishes upside down onto wire racks to cool completely before removing the paper liner.
Serve at room temperature! We enjoyed a fantastic home made dinner of Fillet mignon, lobster tail, risotto with roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. Bill paired our Valentine meal with his all time favorite – Verite! He gave me beautiful flowers, chocolate and an espresso! He figured I made the cake as much for myself as for him and he’s right!