Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy 31st! (And, saying "I love you" with Red Velvet & Chocolate)

 Red Velvet & Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Cream Cheese Buttercream

My husband's 31st birthday was on Wednesday, May 25th.  And, the love of my life has a serious sweet tooth.  I try to always bake something special to celebrate the big day, especially since he won't let me make a big deal about it otherwise.  His favorite cake is red velvet, and he requested it this year, but I couldn't just leave it at that.  Red velvet is just too simple.  Since we just welcomed our second baby girl two months ago, I wanted to make this year extra special because he truly is a wonderful father and husband.  And, especially because he's the only reason I've gotten any sleep these last 8 weeks!  Also, my in-laws were visiting this week and they are both wonderful cooks/bakers.  I had to do something creative.

I had an idea to do a layer cake, but it wasn't until the very end when I really figured out exactly what I was doing.  Until then, I had a vague idea that I somehow wanted to use a dense chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, red velvet and cream cheese icing.  I searched more recipes than I care to admit, and finally decided to use this Chocolate Cake and Dark Chocolate Ganache from Food & Wine, Joy of Baking's Red Velvet Cake and Martha Stewart's Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing.  And, the whole inspiration for the overall cake idea came from a desire to make a ruffle cake with the icing, with Cook Like a Champion's strawberry champagne baby shower cake as an example.  She links to a tutorial that makes the whole process incredibly easy.  The end result was a visually stunning cake and one that I was told was absolutely delicious (I couldn't actually eat any since I'm nursing a milk allergic child and must avoid milk myself).  My mother-in-law, who doesn't even like sweets, ate two pieces so I take that as a huge compliment.

I was greatly surprised by how beautiful the cake was and how wonderful it (reportedly) tasted, but there are a few things I would do differently next time:  the recipe for the chocolate cake called for it to be baked in a jelly roll pan and cut.  I baked it in two 8 inch cake pans.  Since it's nearly a flourless cake, there wasn't much rising and my cakes ended up looking like what my husband's mother calls stadium cakes - high seating on the side, and ground level middle.  I wanted thin layers anyway, so it was okay, as I simply just cut them, but next time it may be easier to cut them from the jelly roll pan.

Also, I think I would use my mother's cream cheese icing recipe.  I didn't have the exact recipe at the time (and still don't) and didn't want to bother her at work for it since I needed it immediately.  Martha Stewart's recipe was fabulous, but I just remember my mother's as better and not quite as sweet.  It's entirely possible, though, that my mom's is exactly the same and I just have an unexplainable aversion to all things Martha.  Whatev.  

So, here are the results:

At this point, I was a little discouraged.  I haven't made many layer cakes in my lifetime, and it just didn't look like it was coming together all that well.  Let's face it, it was fairly hideous at this point.  But, I kept at it (mainly because I had few other options).  

So, what you see here is - from the bottom up - chocolate cake, dark chocolate ganache, red velvet cake, and cream cheese buttercream icing.  All this is repeated once more.

 After the layers were stacked, I put a crumb coat on, then started with the ruffles.  I used a Wilton #150 petal tip. 

The most difficult part of the ruffling process was getting the lines somewhat straight.  I definitely could tell where I started and where I finished because my ruffles were tighter and straighter as I went.  But, in the end, it turned out beautifully and was so, so easy.

This is looking down on the top.  Again, so easy and yet it looks so complicated (and please forgive the lack of photographic quality here).

 My husband loved this cake and is still eating on it, nearly five days later, and I get to live vicariously through him every time he eats a big ole piece!


  1. wow, wonderful cake! I am drooling!!

  2. Wow! I can't wait to try it.

  3. I promise you won't regret it. It was definitely worth all the work.