Die Bunny, Die!
I think we all remember the scene from Steel Magnolias when Tom Skerrit is carving out an armadillo wedding cake. What’s that you say, you don’t remember? Let me refresh your memory… OK, that wasn’t the cake but a lame ass attempt at me trying to get a clip of the movie in the posting. My apologies. To the point. Every Sunday night my friends and I get together for dinner, we don’t dine out but instead cook for each other. We rarely have time for a dessert as we are always behind schedule on the cooking so it gets rather late for the sweet goodness. However, every now and then our good friend Gerard likes to surprise us with one of his baked creations. This past Sunday Gerard baked something worthy of a write up. If you are squeamish then be forewarned, its not a pretty site… Just kidding – or am I? Check out the recipe after the jump.
In the spirit of Easter he baked a Red Velvet Bunny Cake, here is the recipe courtesy of Gerard:
Red Velvet Cake
Buttermilk – 1 cup
Red Food Coloring – 3 Tbsp. (At the very least, you can use more. Much more.)
Cocoa Powder – 1 Tbsp.
Flour – 2.5 cups
Salt – 1 tsp.
Granulated Sugar – 1.5 cups
Vegetable Shortening – 1 cup
Baking Soda – 1 tsp.
Vinegar – 1 tsp.
Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp.
Eggs – 2
*Vanilla Extract: Some people prefer an almond extract to a vanilla extract. Usually, I do not.
*Buttermilk: I often have trouble finding real “buttermilk” in DC, but a good substitute is to just take regular milk and add either lemon juice or vinegar (about a teaspoon per cup of milk) and then let it sit for about ten minutes before using it in the recipe. Plain yogurt can often also be substituted for buttermilk.
Now, it’s important to note that the buttermilk, as well as the vinegar, is in the ingredient list to balance the baking soda in the leavening process – so make sure you’re using actual baking soda. Often, people will substitute baking powder for baking soda in recipes if that’s all they have (you can do this easily, by just using more of the baking powder) – but if you’re going with baking powder here, you probably don’t want to do the bootstrap buttermilk method, as it’ll probably screw up the leavening process (and probably affect the taste) – so stick with the baking soda if possible. And, just so that you know, you can’t switch up and use baking SODA when the recipe calls for baking POWDER unless you have an acidifying agent like cream of tartar on hand.
There’s much, much more to be said on the fascinating topic of baking sodas and powders – like the difference between single-acting and double-acting baking powders – but I shouldn’t go into all of that here in a simple notation to a recipe list… For another time, dahling.
Pre-heat the oven to about 350 degrees.
Using a hand-mixer or tabletop mixer, blend together the eggs, shortening and sugar in a bowl until they’re a creamy consistency. Now, when my aunt showed me this recipe, she would mix the food coloring and the cocoa together in a separate small bowl, but I found that you’ll lose less of the coloring if you add the red food coloring elsewhere in the process.
Next, you’ll want to add the cocoa (either by itself or mixed into a paste with the food coloring) to the shortening/eggs/sugar blend.
For the salt and flour, you’ll want to sift them together to ensure even distribution. You’ll be adding this in three equal parts to the shortening/eggs/sugar blend, alternating with the buttermilk. (The buttermilk, btw, is where I add the red food coloring.)
So, add some of the flour/salt, then some buttermilk, then flour/salt, then buttermilk, then flour/salt, then buttermilk, all the while mixing the entire batter.
The last step is to fold in the vinegar and baking soda – then it’s ready to go into your greased baking pans. I tend to grease with butter, but shortening or PAM or oil should work, too. Also, sometimes it helps to lightly flour the pans so that the cakes will pop out more easily when they’re done.
Bake for about thirty minutes, or until a cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean.
Milk – 1 cup
Flour – 2 Tbsp.
Butter – 1 cup (two sticks)
Confectioner’s Sugar – 1 cup
Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp.
Don’t do any substitutions, especially not with the butter – that screws up the color.
Heat the milk while stirring in the flour over medium heat until it thickens. Take it off the burner and allow it to cool completely.
Mix together the butter, sugar and vanilla until it’s light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Then mix in the milk/flour. Then it’s ready to go on the cake.
You can also do a cream cheese frosting – which I didn’t do only because I forgot to buy cream cheese at the grocery store.
For that you’ll need about a pound of cream cheese, four cups of sifted confectioner’s sugar, a cup of butter and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. You basically make this frosting the same way as the icing – by just mixing it all together and beating it until it’s light and fluffy – but you’ll want to add the vanilla after you’ve already been mixing for a few minutes.