Imagine this: it’s the Tuesday afternoon before Thanksgiving Break—the first extended break of the school year—and as we stumble into my kitchen, the stress from school dissipates into the air, replaced with holiday cheer. For the first time since September, there are no looming deadlines or responsibilities; when we breathe, we breathe easy.
To reward ourselves for surviving the first quarter of senior year, my friends and I decided to bake a red velvet cake! We thought we deserved some sugar.
Even though we made the cake from a box mix, I’m pumped to share this creation with you all, because it was so fun to make. The only thing better than sharing cake with friends is making cake with friends! So, without further ado, let’s get started!
The first thing to do is follow the instructions on the cake mix box and divide the batter equally into two circle pans.
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate cake, but for some reason, when red food coloring is added, I’m all for it! Must be the color; look how gloriously red these cakes are!
To make up for the out-of-a-box cake, we made cream cheese frosting from scratch. We didn’t really follow a set recipe, but the frosting is approximately one part cream cheese, one part softened butter, powdered sugar, and 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Adjust the amount of cream cheese/butter/sugar as you go; no one wants a frosting that tastes like straight butter (plus, it’s a good excuse to lick the spoon)!
When the cake cools, pop them out of pans and place one cake one a large plate as your base. Since our cakes came out slightly domed, we used a serrated knife to cut the top off so we had a flat surface to frost. Then it’s time to slather on as much frosting as you want! While it’s easy to be tempted to pile on as much frosting as possible, make sure to save enough frosting for the top and sides!
The frosting might be slightly crumby (especially if you cut the cake like we did), but that doesn’t matter so much in the middle layer. Once the bottom cake is frosted to your liking, plop the second cake on top! We didn’t bother to cut off the dome of this cake; we thought it gave it character.
Devote the majority of your frosting to a thick, clean layer on top (accomplished with a crumb layer and then a second coat), and if you have enough frosting, you can frost the sides as well! We had more than enough frosting, so we did the whole shebang.
Our decoration was very simple and inspired by Costco’s red velvet cakes. Scraping off the cake left in the pans, we accumulated a small pile of crumbs which we sprinkled on the top of the cake.
I have to admit, when we finished, our out-of-a-box cake looked pretty professional! So proud were we that we almost didn’t want to eat it! Almost.
After a prolonged photoshoot with our baby, we cut in, and oh my gosh, it was incredible! Even if you make the cake from a box like us, I would advise creating your own frosting, because homemade frosting is unparalleled and really ties the whole cake together. Once we had the first bite, it was hard not to eat the whole thing. Can you believe that we ate more than half of the cake that first night? Clearly, school had created a void that we were desperate to fill with empty calories. Solid start to Thanksgiving break.
Thank you so much to my friends—Ingrid, Jenny, Lucy, & Michelle—for coming over and baking with me; I had so much fun sharing the love! Be sure to check out Michelle’s blog and give a warm welcome to Lucy, who recently joined the blogosphere at Farts and Crafts!
Finally, I hope everyone reading had an absolutely wonderful holiday; I know I did! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I did a lot of baking that I can’t wait to blog about. Keep your eyes peeled for more Thanksgiving goodies in the upcoming weeks! Until then, au revoir and qu’ils mangent de la brioche!