Welcome readers! I hope you are all enjoying my blog so far!
Originally, I had planned for tonight’s post to be about (possibly) (one of) the world’s most amazing cheesecakes that I made for National Cheesecake Day (yes, that gets capitalized). I actually decided to postpone that posting in favor of a certain red, white, and blue dessert that I made last month for the Fourth of July. A little background; the Fourth of July is certainly not my favorite holiday, nor do I really get into the patriotic spirit. It comes and goes from year to year; some years I see fireworks, others my mom and I have made the ever popular and amazing American Flag cake (you know the one, blueberry stars, strawberry stripes). This year, however, was a little bit different. My older brother, Jesse (19), is at boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina. (He just officially became a United States Marine). Although he wasn’t home for the fourth, my mom suggested I make something patriotic to honor him, along with all other service men and women. So I hit the cookbooks and the baking blogs for ideas and inspiration! I decided that I would make a red velvet cake topped with a blueberry compote and fresh whipped cream. I thought it was a creative way to get red, white, and blue into a dessert without resorting to the old flag cake (again). I made the red velvet batter first, and much to my dismay because of an off-balance cocoa powder to red food coloring ratio, the batter came out looking far too chocolate-y and not that eye-popping red that I was hoping for! It was beyond the point of salvaging by adding even the largest amount of red food coloring to compensate. I had to accept defeat. However, in the end, cake is cake, and cake is great, no matter what the color! (Unless of course it’s green or something, then there might be an issue). I’m going to post a different red velvet cake recipe below so that no one runs into the same problem. There are only two tablespoons of cocoa powder in this one, so don’t be afraid to give it a try. Next came the blueberry compote. For all the disappointment I went through with the cake not coming out the way I’d hoped, the compote turned everything around! It was spectacular. The tartness of the blueberries and the lemon juice made the compote balance perfectly with the sweetness of the cake and the whipped cream! I was a happy camper. On a side note, I think the compote would go well with pound cake. Personally, I was dreaming of it atop an orange bundt cake. (Future recipe?) Anyway, the cake came out beautifully in the end, and I had the best time photographing it with the American flag in the background. Happy belated, or early, Fourth of July!
Red velvet cake, Blueberry compote, Whipped cream
What you will need:
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 tablespoons red food coloring
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
3/4-1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 cup water
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (or more if you want your whipped cream to be very sweet).
Making the red velvet cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9 inch round pans. (You can also bake these in cupcake tins).
2. Cream shortening and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Add eggs and beat well.
3. Stir cocoa powder and red food coloring. Add to the creamed mixture.
4. Mix salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and buttermilk.
5. Add the flour alternately with the milk mixture to the creamed mixture.
6. Mix soda and vinegar. Fold in cake batter. Do not beat/stir.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Making the blueberry compote:
1. Place sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and water in a medium sized saucepan and stir until smooth. (No heat).
2. Stir in the blueberries and place saucepan over medium heat.
3. Cook the sauce until liquid thickens.
4. Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
4. Add more sugar if not sweet enough.
Making the whipped cream:
1. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream until fluffy (3-5 minutes).
2. Add confectioners’ sugar, and beat until incorporated.
3. Add more sugar to taste.
1. Make sure the red velvet cake and the blueberry compote are completely cool.
2. Cut the cake into squares. Top with 1 tablespoon of blueberry compote and a dollop of whipped cream. (Do the same if you baked the red velvet into cupcakes).
*Recipes for the red velvet cake and blueberry compote are found here:
*A special thanks to all of the young men and women serving our country, and those who are at boot camp training to serve. Never forget to thank military men and women when you see them!
The moral of this story? Just because a batter or a dough or whatever baked good it may be doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, don’t throw it out and start again. Mess-ups in the kitchen can sometimes become huge successes. (In my case, it was just a red velvet cake turned chocolate, but who knows what can come of mistakes?)
Stay tuned for my next few blogs about Insomnia Bakery NYC and the amazing cheesecake posting I’ve been promising! Thanks for reading!