I’m the type of person who forgets to pack shoes for the pool.
I’ll arrive late (as usual) and am left with the option to either strut my stuff on deck in the 5″ wedges I’ve worn to work, or wander around barefoot with an awkward expression that pleads “I promise I’m not homeless!”
I’m really not, my home is lovely.
I also somehow manage to almost always misplace my keys.. Which are almost always later found in my bag. Yet I consistently have a mini panic attack at the thought that I will have to sleep at the Aquatic Centre.
At least that look would go with my barefeet, right?
This week I’m taking a break from swimming and other extracurricular activities having just made it through a brutal 4 day weekend.
My Easter days were filled with water polo watching, the Easter bunny, free carrots, chocolate eggs, hours of sun soaking, late night planking competitions and dancing – a lot of dancing.
Tough life, I know.
Mmm midweek drinks? Yes please!
Tuesday night, however, my mum asked me to make a cake for a leaving do she helped host for a friend.
Cream cheese frosting for dinner? Don’t mind if I do!
It was nice to bake on a Tuesday night (surely this is what Martha Stewart does?)
Although I stayed up way too late waiting on the cakes to cool, the kitchen was nice and quiet and I managed to get in the Easter masterclass episode of The Great British Bake Off while the cakes were chillin’.
I know Tuesday isn’t actually midweek at all but it’s a short week so I was overly happy and optimistic!
Maybe Tuesday/midweek baking will take off and become a “thing”! Or is it a thing already? Maybe I should have done some research..
Note to self: Call Martha
There is something really fancy-feeling about Red Velvet anything, but luckily this recipe is nice and simple – so if you’re feeling for a little week night cream cheese frosting fix, have a midweek celebration or just a bit of free time, get baking!
Your mum and all her friends will love you. A lot!
Red Velvet Cake
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
120g of butter, softened
300g of caster sugar
20g of cocoa powder
heaped ¼teaspoon of red gel food colouring (or 4 tablespoons of the liquid kind)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
240ml milk + 2 teaspoons cider vinegar, left for 5 minutes (homemade buttermilk)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 175ºC (350ºF) and butter two 8″ round layer cake tins liberally, add parchment rounds and another butter layer.
Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated.
In a small bowl, mix the food colouring and vanilla extract into the cocoa powder to make a thick paste. If it’s too powdery, add a little water.
Add to the butter mixture and beat on medium until the pretty marbled mix has blended into an even deep pink colour. Scrape the sides of the bowl to be sure all the paste has been mixed in.
Turn the mixer down to low speed and add half the milk mixture. Beat until incorporated. Add half the flour, beat until incorporated and repeat with the rest of the milk and flour.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, turn the mixer up to high speed until the batter is smooth and well mixed, about 2 minutes.
Turn the mixer down to low and and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar until blended. Mix on high again for another 2 minutes.
Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean and the sponge bounced back when touched lightly.
Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
When the cakes have cooled completely wrap them securely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour to firm up (if you’re getting sleepy stick em in the freezer for ten) and start the frosting
480-600g icing sugar (the recipe called for 600g, but I only had 480g.. I still ate copious amounts of it, I’m well past convinced any ratio of butter, sugar and cream cheese would be delicious)
100g unsalted butter, softened
250g cream cheese, cold
¼teaspoon of cinnamon
Beat butter and icing sugar with the paddle attachment on low speed until a sandy consistency is formed.
Add the cream cheese all in one go and mix until completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until light and fluffy, 2-5 minutes. Be careful not to over beat – if the mixture looks too soft after 2 minutes stick in the freezer for 5 and beat again. (Don’t be fooled that evenings in Barbados are always cool). Add the cinnamon and beat until evenly distributed.
Take the cakes out of the fridge/freezer and trim any uneven doming off the tops. (Or you could cheat by using a plate with a sunken middle that the muffin top can sit in, probably a little annoying for the cake cutter but not enough for them to hate you)
Spread a quarter to a third of the frosting on the first layer and top it with the second one. Spread frosting around the whole cake and make pretty patterns with your spatula or cover in your favourite sprinkles.
Ta-da! Time to eat leftover cream cheese frosting!
ps – If you’re not keen on frosting for dinner (aka you’re crazy), divide the batter between three layer tins instead of two and you’ll have enough frosting for a 3-layer cake. Spread a quarter of the mixture between each layer and use the remaining on the outside of the cake.