Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy 30th Birthday Brian

This cake was made for my friend Katie's fiance, Brian. Brian turned 30 this year so he needed a cool cake. My first instinct was to make him a round cake with the Wild logo on it- Minnesota's professional hockey team. Katie had arranged a surprise party for Brian. Let me start over, the party itself wasn't a surprise, but taking a limo to the Wild game with 11 of his closest friends instead of having a party at their home was. After a long debate, I decided that I didn't want to risk him putting 2 and 2 together and figure out that we were going to the Wild game. So, my next thought was to make him a Coors Light cake as this is his beer of choice and he loves his beer. I was fully dedicated to making him this cake until the night before I was going to start baking, when I decided that it was too big of a project to tackle without Jess here to help. So, my husband and I came up with a third option, a duck hunting cake. Duck hunting is one of Brian's favorite things to do. Perfect! I had an idea. Now to execute. Katie and Brian told me that they had recently had a red velvet cake with white chocolate filling and cream cheese frosting. So, this was my mission. I turned to Yes, Divas Can Cook for a recipe for a red velvet cake. I will admit that it took me all of my 28 years before I tasted red velvet cake. I know. I know. You can gasp here. What makes it challenging then is to know whether you have a good recipe on your hands. I made this recipe into cupcakes and had Jess taste test them for me prior to making this cake. She said that they were moist but that it didn't seem as chocolaty has her Mom's recipe. So, I took this recipe and added one more tablespoon of cocoa powder. It turned out beautifully though the extra tablespoon of cocoa did dull the bright red color a bit.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
2-3oz red food coloring
1/2 cup prepared hot plain coffee

1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Whisk until combined. Set aside.

2. In a separate large bowl, mix the sugar and oil together.

3. Add in eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring. Stir until combined.

4. Next add coffee and vinegar. Stir until combined.
5. Pour the flour mixture into the sugar mixture a little at a time, beating until well combined.

6. Pour the batter into two greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake 30-40 minutes at 325 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Then remove them from the pan and allow them to finish cooling on a wire rack.

I should let you know that I did end up using 3oz of red food coloring. I'm sorry to say that I don't have a picture of the inside of the cake. While it wasn't bright, bright red, it ended up having a solid red color. I was pleased. Now to tackle the filling.

I have never used white chocolate as a filling so I again had to search for a recipe. I ended up finding this recipe for white chocolate frosting. This filling/frosting had such a good rich vanilla chocolaty flavor. It tasted sooooo good. Somewhere along the way, my execution failed however. I'm convinced that the error occurred when the eggs were beating. I'm not sure if a bit of yolk was mixed or what the deal was, but those babies would not whip up. I should have stopped right then and there. I know better than that. For some insane reason I went ahead with the recipe and then ended up with a runny filling. I will likely try to one again, making sure that the egg whites are fluffy before I continue. :)

1 cup sweetened condensed milk
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
8oz white chocolate chips
3 large egg yolks
1 cup confectioners sugar

Hahaha. Okay well at least I can laugh about it now. I was supposed to use egg yolks NOT the whites. Oooops. No wonder it didn't work.

Continuing on...

To make the frosting, heat the sweetened condensed milk, butter and chocolate chips in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate chips melt. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the egg yolks and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Add the chocolate mixture and mix until thick.

I spread this between the two 9X13 sheets of red velvet. Then I covered the whole cake with cream cheese frosting. Yum. There were some hiccups along the way, but all in all I think my first red velvet cake turn out pretty well.

Now for the fondant...
So, this the part where my husband became quite involved and boy was I thankful. Not only did he make 2-3 runs to the local grocery store when I ran out of ingredients during the project (do to the frosting failure) but he took the time to create the silhouette scene with me. Him and Brian often go duck hunting together, along with our dog, Jack. This scene perfectly depicts that. Justin was so proud. Together we looked up ducking hunting decals online. He helped me (more like insisted that I) place the ducks in the right position for landing which is when a hunter would shoot at them as shown in the scene. Likely the average person wouldn't have notice this and maybe not even a hunter, but it was so cute seeing him get all involved in one of my projects. So we printed out a bunch of decal images. Justin cut them all out for me and then we taped them together to create the scene. Not to shabby, huh? I laid the paper cut-out on my fondant and went about the tedious task of cut out the silhouette. It all turned out perfectly except my paper stuck a bit to the fondant in a few spots and pulled a bit up when I removed it. It upset a perfectionist like me, but I took a few deep breaths and moved on. For the background, I had covered the cake in white fondant. Then I took a bottle of orange and yellow Wilton Color Mist and created the sunrise scene. I dipped my fingers into a few drips of red food coloring to add a few touches of a deeper color here and there. The few ducks up the top right corner of the cake were drawn by yours truly using a black edible marker.

Brian was utterly surprised when I showed him the cake. Everyone at the party was amazed. I think some even Twittered about it. Ahhh, feels so good. Another sweet success.

Bake on!

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