Last weekend, my husband and I were sitting around over morning coffee talking about the upcoming week. Nonchalantly, he mentioned, “It’s my half-birthday, you know.” I sort of shrugged my shoulders. “Ok…” “You should bake me a cake!” This garnered some raised eyebrows. We aren’t talking about a six year old here…this is my 6’4″, grown-ass man husband. When I reminded him of this, he sort of gave me puppy dog eyes. “But my half-birthday! And cake!” I flatly responded, “You are a dork.” To which he answered, “Yes, but you love me.” Touche, my friend.
After that, our conversation shifted to more important, adult topics (like whether we should play Mario Kart or Super Smash Brothers), and the fleeting thoughts of his half birthday faded away. I, however, wasn’t going to forget that quickly. If he was going to be a pain in the butt, I was going to call him on it. After he left for work on Tuesday, I preheated the oven and got to work on my cake…well, my half cake. Because if it’s your half-birthday, you get a half-birthday cake!
I decided on Red Velvet as a nod to Valentine’s Day in conjunction with his half-birthday. While I’ve made Red Devil’s Food cake countless times, Red Velvet is a different story. I’ve always been a chocolate girl, and the pseudo-chocolate nature of Red Velvet just makes me shrug my shoulders. I’m obsessed with cream cheese frosting though, so all things considered I like it. Overall, I was pleased with how it turned out, although there were a few drawbacks. For one, it turned out to be more of a burnt sienna velvet than red velvet, but that’s just a function of the amount of food coloring I used. On that note, I used gel instead of liquid food coloring, which made the cake a touch drier than I would have liked. Next time, I’ll increase the amount of buttermilk by a tablespoon or two. The flavor was definitely there, though, and it paired perfectly with the frosting.
Now, I know you’re wondering how Brendan reacted to the cake. He came home and went in the fridge to get out the water pitcher. He saw the cake and turned around, grinning, and simply said, “You’re adorable.” Yeah, I am 🙂
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Red gel food coloring
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 ¼ cups gluten free flour, with xanthan gum
- ½ cup buttermilk (*note: I would probably add an extra tablespoon or so*)
- ½ tsp red wine vinegar
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 stick cream cheese, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 lb powdered sugar (approx. 4 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350, and line an 8” round cake with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add desired amount of red food coloring, and beat until fully incorporated.
- With the mixer on low, alternate beating in the flour mixture and buttermilk, adding in the vinegar with the last batch of buttermilk.
- Transfer batter to pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for ten minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- For Frosting: Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth. With mixer on low, beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and airy.
- To assemble: Cut cake in half. Spread frosting on bottom layer, top with rest of cake. Frost with a thin crumb coating, then refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to set the frosting. Top cake with rest of frosting. Store chilled, and bring up to room temperature for serving.