A week or so ago when I was in Durban with mum, Pretty Girl had a birthday party to go to. After a couple of frantic mms pictures of her party outfit to me to check that “it matched” dear husband duly dropped her off. Hours later he returned for her and despite a table that heaved under food and sweets, Pretty Girl was deeply disappointed because there had been no cake!
I can’t imagine where she gets the idea that birthdays and cake are synonymous, it may have something to do with having a mother willing to create (sometimes with more enthusiasm than result) anything from a handbag to the face of Hello Kitty or this year’s pièce de résistancethe homemade doughnut tower.
This week in between the school concert, breakup day, photo shoots and sick children we celebrated the 30-something year of Photogirl, the lady behind the gorgeous photography on pomegranate days. This beautiful friend is such a blessing; she is generous, empathetic, very funny and always good to be around. She loves chocolate and beer, always has fresh flowers in her home, and like me, watches
tacky reality TVeducational documentaries when her man is away. One of my treasures is this fun friendship.
And so, like my daughter, I felt quite certain that Photogirl’s day would not be completely, officially and absolutely definitely, a birthday if we did not have cake, so I made her my favourite cake, Red Velvet. I chose Red Velvet because it is not a super sweet cake, and the cream cheese topping can almost be considered healthy on the basis of the low fatness of the cream cheese, since I knew that Photogirl would probably eat them for breakfast.
A few quick pointers; Firstly, do not overcook this cake, so watch carefully near the end. Secondly, this recipe cannot be doubled so if you need more, you need to make another batch. Thirdly, despite there being no oil in this version of the recipe, the cake is moist and delicious and holds for at least 2 days.
Finally, it is not possible to just eat one cupcake. Really, its not!
- 180 g butter
- 375 g white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 330 g cake flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1 Tsp. bicarbonate of soda
- 1 Tsp. vanilla essence
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 Tsp. white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. (it is one bottle) crimson food colouring (red or pink will give the same result)
- 80g butter (wooden spoon white margarine is great if you want a super white icing)
- 175g tub of plain cream cheese
- 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Prepare your cake pans with margarine or non-stick spray, or place your cupcake holders in your muffin tin if you are making cupcakes.Beat together the butter and the sugar.
- Add the eggs and continue beating till fluffy.
- Sieve together the flour, salt, cocoa and bicarb.
- Mix together the vanilla, buttermilk and vinegar.
- Add the flour mix and the vanilla mix alternately to the egg mix.
- Add the food colouring and beat till the mixture is a deep pink and well blended.
- Spoon into the cake pans or the muffin pans, the mixture is a thick batter like consistency.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes for the cake or 12-15 minutes for the cupcakes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool and ice
- For the icing cream the butter, add the cream cheese, beat for a minute. Add the sifted icing sugar mix to blend. NOTE: do not beat this icing too long! If you do it will go runny and never recover.