Friday, March 9, 2012

Ok guys, for real this time.

My mother is not a chef. She did not bring culinary masterpieces to the dinner table when I was growing up.. in fact, in my house, Daddy did most of the daily cooking.
What my mom DID do well, however, was follow directions. When it came to creating delicious food, her philosophy seemed to be "leave it to the professionals"

In that mindset she made us countless cakes, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, and all sorts of delicious treats, by following the directions on the back of the box.
After struggling and STRUGGLING with the Green Velvet Cake which is due tomorrow, I finally had to go back to my roots. Do it like my mom would have done it - not by using a boxed mix, but by leaving it to the professionals.

Here's why:
In 1889, McCormick & Company was started in Baltimore, Maryland by 25-year-old Willoughby M. McCormick. First products were root beer, flavoring extracts, and fruit syrups and juices, sold under "Bee Brand" and "Silver Medal" trademarks; "Iron Glue" (Sticks Everything But the Buyer) and "Uncle Sam's Nerve and Bone Liniment" (For Man Or Beast). Products were sold door-to-door and the motto was "Make the Best - Someone Will Buy It."

Over the decades, McCormick's product line expanded to inlclude spice blends, seasoning mixes and food coloring.. among other things. They are the parent company of 15 different business entities in the world, including Zatarains and SimplyAsia, some very popular grocery brands.

In other words, McCormick has been around a long time, and they're kindof a big deal.
This means 2 things: 1) It's safe to assume they have a pretty good idea of what they're talking about.
2) It's safe to assume they have a pretty knowledgeable R&D department.

Therefore, if ANYONE has a recipe on how to best use their product (i.e. Green Food Coloring), It's probably the people that make it, and have spent over a century testing and retesting their recipes.
They've already done the work, and probably spend a ton of money doing it.
Who am I to argue and try to find a recipe on my own?

Clearly, if you take my previous experience as evidence.. I am no one.

So this time, I'm leaving it to the professionals just like mom, and I'm gonna follow the directions as explained on McCormick's very own recipe website where I found THIS Red Velvet Cake recipe

Looks delish doesn't it? And seems way easier than my previous recipe.
All I'm going to do is trade the red for green, and obviously switch the vanilla in the frosting for some guinness flavoring.

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 bottle (1 ounce) Green Food Color
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Mix the first 4 ingredients together, set aside.
Mix the remaining ingredients together in the mixer slowly, one thing at a time.
add the first set to the second set in 3 batches, mixing only a little bit each time (so you dont over mix)
After mixing everything up as described, I ran into a snag. I do not own round cake pans. I only have square. and the batter does not fill up two square pans as nicely as it might fill two round ones. Instead, I poured all of the batter into one square pan.. I waited for it to bake to determine if i was going to need to make another batch of cake.. but I was pretty sure I would because this was supposed to be 4 layers tall.
Volume aside - The batter was DELICIOUS. I'm still supposed to be avoiding carbs on my diet, but I cheated like a crazy woman by licking the spatula, the bowl, and the beater attachment on my mixer. 

Bake at 350.. because I used one pan, it took a little longer then the recommended 25-20minutes.
The cake came out of the oven about 45 minutes later. I let it cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then moved it to a cooling rack while I made another batch.
Then I tasted it.

And the verdict was:
The color was a little dark - which I attributed to the higher volume of cocoa powder in this recipe as opposed to previous recipes, but the cake itself was moist and tender while still being dense and luxurious. paying true homage to the "velvet" in the name.
This one is a keeper!

The frosting was a simple cream cheese frosting..
one pkg of cream cheese,
one stick of butter,
both softened then whipped together,
an entire 2 lb bag of powdered sugar,
half can of flattened Guinness draught... if you want a stronger and slightly bitter Guinnessy flavor, go with stout.

Unfortunately, I couldn't slice into the cake since it was for someone else's function. But with a few scraps I was able to make several frosting sammiches for myself. They were fantastic! Moist, tender, and a little hint of guinnessy goodness.

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