What did I make for Christmas this year?
The most truthful answer is: too many things. My family (myself included) seems to believe in holiday meals as an excellent time to create an elaborate dinner as well as a week of leftovers. In addition to the obligatory piles of turkey, stuffing, signature shoepeg corn casserole, cranberry sauce, etc. I personally contributed a chocolate yule log and a double layer red velvet cake. At this point, my family is pretty convinced that my skills are limited to satisfying my own sweettooth. I maintain that this is false.
Since the chocolate yule log is an annual tradition for me, I know the recipe’s challenges pretty well, but I get a little nervous every time. Cake isn’t exactly meant to be rolled, and the yule log always comes out a little bit more rustic looking than internet photos indicate is possible. I would never call a chocolate yule log beautiful. But since no one ever says no to chocolate frosted in more chocolate, I can boast a little.
This year’s real triumph was the beginning of a newer Christmas tradition. In an effort to bring some flavor and color to Christmas day dessert, my sous-chef (baby sister Caroline, introduced at Thanksgiving) and I decided on Red Velvet Cake. Caroline is an excellent co-captain in the kitchen and she is incredibly photogenic in the mornings.
Red velvet has never been my cake of choice, which is saying a lot since cake has always been my dessert of choice. But this thing is easy peezy lemon squeezy and it comes out the color of Elmo, which should be a major selling point with people everywhere. It’s also not Christmas specific so if you make it in January no noses will be turned up.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
(+ 5 to frost!)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2, 8 oz packages cream cheese
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. First things first, warm up your oven and grease your two pans. Set your appliance to 350 Fahrenheit, and line and butter your pans as described in my Salted Caramel Cake recipe.
2. Combine your flour and other dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. This is easy.
3. Meanwhile, let your oil get friendly with all your wet ingredients. They should get intimately acquainted (read: stir until their smoothly combined).
4. Slowly stir your dry ingredients in to your wet ones. This stuff is like firetruck red. Clifford the Big red dog red. Stain your fingers red (okay, not really).
4. Now, distribute your cake batter into both pans evenly. Bake!
5. Watch carefully. This cake is even better when it is a little bit undercooked.
6. The frosting is also a simple one-two punch. Use an electric mixer to gradually beat the confectioners sugar in to the cream cheese and butter mixture. I like mine a little tarter, so I skipped out on the last half cup of sugar.
7. Once your cakes are baked and cooled, stack them one on top of the other, with a layer of frosting in between. Then, frost all around for a magnificent look and delicious taste. Sprinkles add a festive touch.