Monday, February 10, 2020

Red Velvet Mini-Cakes & Toasted Rice Crispies

I've never been big on Valentine's Day but hey, I'll take any excuse for a fun sprinkle-themed shoot. My original plan was to make red velvet whoopie pies but the cake turned out a little thicker than intended so I ended up just making little layer cakes and then dark-chocolate dipped toasted marshmallows rice crispies because WHY THE HECK NOT?!

A little trick I like to do to elevate my crispies is to take a creme brulee torch and lightly toast the melted marshmallows before you mix in the cereal. I think this increases the depth of flavor and you get a touch of that campfire marshmallow goodness. I also always use mini marshmallows because not only do they melt faster, you can also save a handful of whole ones to mix in right before refrigerating.

Here are some recipe questions & subsitutions

  • Q: Do you have to use cake flour for this recipe? Personally, I think using cake flour creates a better texture. Cake flour has a finer texture a lower protein content so your cake will be lighter and fluffier than with All-purpose flour.
  • Q: Is there a natural way to achieve that red color without using food coloring?  YES and I actually prefer this method. Replace the 1 cup vegetable oil with 1 cup of pureed beets (either fresh or canned will do but NOT pickled).
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own "sour milk". To do so, add 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough regular milk (whole milk is best) to make 1 cup. Stir the two together and let sit for 5 minutes before using.

Red Velvet Cake

makes two 9-inch round cakes OR one sheet cake

3 cups cake flour (spoon & leveled)
1 tsp baking soda
2 TBS unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs, room temperature and separated
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
liquid or gel red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease one full-sized sheet pan and/or line with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and vinegar and beat on high for 2 minutes. (Set the egg whites aside.) Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 2-3 additions alternating with the buttermilk. Beat in your desired amount of food coloring just until combined. I use 1-2 teaspoons gel food coloring. Vigorously whisk or beat the 4 egg whites on high speed until fluffy peaks form as pictured above, about 3 minutes. Gently fold into cake batter.
5. Pour into pan and even out with a spatula. Bake for 15 min. then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 15-20 min. or until the top of the cake springs back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Remove cakes from the oven and cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.

Cake recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction

For the frosting...

1 (7oz) container of marshmallow fluff
16 oz. of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (can also use vanilla extract)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. Mix all ingredients with handheld or stand mixture. This is plenty sweet for me but you can add confectioners sugar if you prefer.

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