Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rollin' Out the Red...

...Velvet that is. Yep, you know it's holiday time at Poodlevania when the kitchen looks like a set for Saw XXIV or whatever number that unholy franchise is up to now.

Seriously, I feel that it is my duty to seek out and consume as much red velvety goodness as I possibly can during the month of December...for some reason, it doesn't taste the same during any other time of the year. Probably goes back to my grandmother only making it during the holidays, so it really was a special treat.

(Do not get me wrong--you put a slab of Red Velvet cake in front of me in the middle of July, I'm eating it...don't even try to stop me. "Seasonal" only goes so far...)

So, I'm in the process of making my first one this year, and I have decided to try something new. I know, I know, it sound sacrilegious, but sometimes, you just have to think outside the cake pan.

I was going through the recipe folder in my inbox and found one for a Red Velvet Roll cake. Never having made a roll cake before, I thought why the hell not? Plus, I'm supposed to bring something to a party tonight, so why not experiment! These are probably famous last words...

Here's the recipe, and I'm not really sure where the heck I got it. I apologize profusely for not giving credit. However, I think I got it from the Baking Bites blog, because it seems to be the exact same recipe, but I am not 100% sure. I could have gotten it from somewhere else on the vast Internets, and that person swiped it from Baking Bites.

Red Velvet Roll Cake

3/4 cup sifted cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a jelly roll pan (approximately 17"x12"x1") with aluminum foil and grease it well with some vegetable oil or cooking spray.

Sift together sifted cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into asmall bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs together with an electric mixer on high speed. Once they are frothy, slowly add in the sugar. Beat until light, approximately 5 minutes. Beat in the vegetable oil, buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and red food coloring. Working steadily, but gradually, mix in the cocoa mixture with the electric mixer at a low speed.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center.

While cake is baking, sift some confectioners' sugar onto a large, clean dish towel. When you remove the cake from the oven, carefully flip it over onto the dish towel. Peel off the foil (it should come off easily because it was greased) and roll the cake up in the dish towel, beginning with a short end.

Place cake, hot but wrapped in the towel, seam-side down on a wire rack to cool completely (at least 1 hour). Prepare filling (below) while it cools.

Cream Cheese Filling

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together until light and spreadable. When cake is cool, gently unwrap it and spread the inside with the filling. Re-roll and place on a serving platter. Dust with more confectioners' sugar before serving. Serves 8-10

The batter for this cake was extremely thin and seemed a bit more cocoa-ey than a regular Red Velvet. I jacked up the food coloring a bit, because I like my Red Velvet to be r-e-d. Otherwise, it's just a dirty brown chocolate cake. And, I was kind of worried about what it would look like, based on the sheer amount of cocoa...this was really leaning into the "dirty brown" category.

I used parchment paper as well, instead of foil, because I could and I had more parchment than foil in the cabinet. I don't know if that change contributed to the outcome or not...'cause you know there was an "outcome.'

The hardest part at first was trying to get the batter evenly spread over over the parchment lined pan. Of course, one side has to be thinner than the other, always. I envy people who can get their batters even for cakes...envy them.

So, I cook the cake for about 12 minutes, popped it out onto the dish towel and removed the parchment. I rolled it up in the towel, knocking over the box of vanilla extract on the counter. Hmm...it was a new bottle of vanilla, still in the box, which meant I forgot to put it in the cake. Yeah. Well, hell, with all that cocoa powder, who is going to notice if there's a wispy little note of vanilla or not.

I pulled the cake out and rolled it in the dish towel...so far, so good, but it really is more brown than red. I cooled it for the requisite hour, unrolled it, and spread the filling inside. During the unrolling process, part of the cake stuck to the towel...sort of like the "skin" of the cake. The resultant "log" looked like it had the mange or some other affliction.

I dutifully cut the ends off to tidy it up and ate them and was extremely disappointed. It was dry and too chocolatey...not red velvety enough.

The ends/edges were drier because the batter didn't spread evenly, but there really was way too much cocoa powder involved in this train wreck of a cake. I think if I were to make it again, I would definitely reduce the amount of cocoa...and feel free to chime in with suggestions of your own. Also, more red food coloring. Don't care that it might make me crazy or cause tumors, I want me some R-E-D velvet cake. Besides, I think I already are crazy.

I had some serious misgivings about the amount of cocoa in the recipe, because this is not really a chocolate cake...I've read articles and other blogs' posts about it being just a "chocolate cake colored red," but it's not. Most of the recipes call for 2 tablespoons at the most, which is half the cocoa in this recipe. IMSBO (that would be "in my seriously biased opinion," the cocoa's purpose is to give more complexity and depth to the cake's flavor and not be overwhelming...sort of like all those fancy wine descriptions that involve "hints of oak and notes of kumquat." (When kumquat start writing you notes, then you know you've had too much wine...I'm just sayin'.)

However, the one good thing to come out of this is that the parchment paper was a great success in keeping the cake from sticking. I like that part.

And, all was not totally lost for the day, because I made a smacking good dip, which was the main thing I was taking to the party anyway, and I'll post that recipe in my next entry, 'cause I'm tired and I have to get some sleep and put on my game face for the customer tomorrow...kind of like the Fat Dog.


J said...

I'm a total convert on the parchment paper! No longer do I grease and flour, I just line with paper. I made a rolled cake for Thanksgiving and it cracked. I know now that I baked it too long.

Anonymous said...

My tried and true red velvet cake receipe only calls for 1 Tbps of cocoa and 2 oz of red food coloring. Try that next time.