Monday, February 13, 2017
Red Velvet Poke Cake
Valentine's Day is tomorrow and everyone around here is so excited for "the day of LOVE" as Emma calls it. Traditionally, I always serve a special breakfast on Valentine's Day morning where I decorate the table in hearts and a red tablecloth and serve everyone a fancier-than-normal breakfast. Last year, we had Eggs Benedict and Heart Shaped French Toast. This year, I am making Double-Chocolate Pancakes with Strawberries and Chocolate Sauce. Nothing like a bunch of sugar to start off the day. With every sugar high, comes a sugar crash so I'm hoping there will be some good napping from the girls in the afternoon. Later in the evening, Emma's favorite babysitter is coming over to hang with the kids while Paul and I escape for a night out. Valentine's Day is also the anniversary of the day we started officially dating 12 years ago. Twelve years. Yikes! Twelve years before we started dating, I was six. Ridiculous how fast time flies when you get to be an adult.
Valentine's Day holds a special sense of urgency for Matthew this year. Earlier last week, he came home very despondent and mopey from school and, instead of commencing his usual round of duking it out over trivial matters with Emma, chose to quietly sit on the couch looking thoughtful. I asked him if he was feeling alright and felt his perfectly cool forehead. He told me that he was upset about Lillian. For those who might not be aware, Lillian has been Matthew's "girlfriend" for nearly two years. She's a sweet, spunky little girl who, in addition to openly declaring her intent to marry my son, has been a very good friend to Matthew. However, Matthew had just been informed that Lillian no longer loved him. "She wants to give her love to Nate! I need to figure out a way to get her to love me!" said my very depressed little boy. Oh Matthew, I very much doubt this little girl is your one and only.
Nevertheless, Matthew very carefully selected a valentine to bring to Lillian tomorrow. I'm sure that a tiny card featuring a pair of grinning, bright yellow minions that reads Bananas Over You! is just the ticket. Wish him luck. I listened to his woes, but offered no advice. He suggested that I should tell Lillian to stop loving Nate and to love him again, but I told him he's on his own. I don't want to be part of this love triangle they've got going on.
Speaking of your loved ones, I made the PERFECT dessert for your Valentine's Day - this gorgeous, moist, incredibly indulgent Red Velvet Poke Cake. And the good news is that if you are looking for a last minute addition to your celebration, this cake is incredibly easy to throw together. I made the cake in a jiffy while watching a movie with Paul and then let the kids decorate it the next morning. They were thrilled with the red color, but disappointed that I didn't bake it in a heart-shaped pan. Sigh. They find fault with everything.
However, nobody found fault with the flavor of the cake. We ate it tonight since Paul and I are not going to dine with the kids tomorrow night and I am shocked to announce that this might be the first time in my entire baking career where every single one of my children cleaned their plate. Emma is notorious for just sucking the frosting off her slice of cake and leaving the actual cake part behind, so completely saturated with her saliva that it is incapable of being saved or passed to another still-hungry taker. This time, however, she polished off both with gusto and then thrust her plate forward and sweetly asked for another slice. No, one slice is plenty of sugar before bed. Sugar has an extreme effect on Emma especially. Lucy and Matthew are both currently sleeping peacefully but I can still hear Emma bouncing off the walls upstairs.
Despite any consequences that the sugar intake might have on your littles, you really should make this cake. It's awesome. Even if you're not a lover of Red Velvet Cake, make this. Paul and I both kind of hate Red Velvet but loved this. It'd be a great cake for any occasion, not just Valentine's Day.
Happy Valentine's Day! I'm bananas over y'all!
Red Velvet Poke Cake
from Brown Eyed Baker
For the Cake:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 small bottle of Wilton's Red Food Coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
For the Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
Generous pinch of salt
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pyrex pan.
On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the eggs. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining buttermilk and flour. Beat on high until smooth, about 1 minute.
Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another 2 minutes until completely combined and smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top into an even layer with a spatula. Bake until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.You can also do the "touch test" for cake, by lightly pressing into the center of the cake with your finger and releasing. If the cake bounces back quickly, it is ready! If your finger indentation stays, close the oven door and let it bake a little longer.
Remove the cake from the oven and immediately poke holes all over the top of the cake with a fork. Gently pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk over the warm cake. If it pools along the edges, use a spoon to scoop it up and redistribute it on top. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting and decorating.
To make the frosting, use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary. Taste and adjust sugar and salt to your preference. Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake and decorate as desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Linking this post up with Tuesday Talk at Sweet Little Ones.