Unlike the posts on my childrens' birthdays, I won't regale you with his birth story. You're welcome.
I will, however, give you a little story to illustrate how far he's come. How he's grown. How he has learned that his words can unintentionally hurt others.
The other day I was at the kitchen counter, my back to the kitchen. Hubby and Turken were in the room with me. I heard the following conversation:
Turken: Daddy, watch this!
Hubby: Oh, don't do that! This floor is filthy!
Hubby: And that was not meant to be a comment on the cleanliness of the house.
He's learning. Ten years ago, it never would have occurred to him that his comment may have annoyed me. Perhaps in ten more years he won't even say such things.
Today, to show him just how much I love him, I will bake his favorite cake. The cake I curse. The cake that makes me want to ring his mother's neck.
I grew up with a mother who makes cakes from a box. I am a mother who makes cakes from a box. My mother-in-law is a mother who makes difficult cakes from scratch. Cakes like the dreaded "red cake" that Hubby loves so much. The cake that from the first time I ate it, even before I knew what went in to making it or that I was going to have to make a million of them over my lifetime, I didn't like it. I, a lover of cakes, didn't like the taste of this cake. Twenty-five years later, it hasn't grown on me.
Today, I will give you the recipe. I'll also walk you through it, because the recipe is so flippin' vague that I messed up untold times before I figured different things out. For some reason, men seem to love this cake. If you want to show your husband some love, make it for him.
How to Make the Famous Red Cake
|This would be Hubby's handwriting. He wanted this cake so badly that first year we were married that he called his mom for the recipe and wrote it on a card for me. He loves this cake.|
Before you begin you must prepare. As you can see from the recipe card, things are going to get messy. Change into some serious work clothes. Clothes that you will never wear outside of the house. Whatever you do, do not wear your cute outfit that you wore to the store when you bought the ingredients. Next, you need to get the work space ready. Clear the counter of absolutely everything. . You also need to get rid of the kids. This cake requires serious concentration. Kids cannot help. They will only distract you and mess up the cake. You do not want to have to start over, because some of the ingredients are odd, and you don't want to have to go to the store to buy more.
Gather the cake ingredients:
group e(asy peasy)
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
group t(oo messy for words)
1 oz. red food coloring
2 Tbsp dried cocoa
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. vinegar
group w(aste of a good bowl)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
and don't forget your
1 cup buttermilk
Mix group e. Now concentrate, this is where it starts getting difficult.
Add group t to the group e you've already mixed. And yes, every last drop of that bottle of red food coloring.
I highly suggest that before you turn your mixer on to mix this all together, you first give it a stir with your spatula. Otherwise, you, your counter, your floor, and everything within a five foot radius will be covered in dried cocoa.
Once these two groups are mixed, in a separate bowl mix the group w ingredients.
Now, grow another arm and hand, but DO NOT invite a child in to be that extra hand. This is a critical time and you need all of your focus to be on the everlovin' cake. The next instruction is to alternately add the group w mixture and the buttermilk to the group e/group t mixture while continuously mixing with the mixer and scraping with the spatula.
Now, pay attention, this is the one and only tip I have gained from this recipe that is invaluable to making cakes in general, boxed or otherwise.
To prepare the cake pans, spray the bottom of the pans with Pam. Sprinkle a touch of flour in the pan and knock it around to get a nice thin layer of flour on the wet pan. PAY ATTENTION! THIS IS THE GOOD PART! Cut a piece of wax paper to fit in the bottom of the cake pan and place it inside. If you do this every time you make a cake, you will never again have a crater in the center of your cake that you have to fix with a mound of icing.
Important note about the wax paper: Make sure to take the wax paper off before you ice the cake. There may have been a time or two that I forgot, and wax paper in between layers of a cake really takes away from the deliciousness of the cake. Watching people pull cake-covered wax paper out of a cake you spent hours making is just depressing. When they have to pull it out of their mouths, it's just gross.
Of course, today when I got the wax paper out of the cupboard, there was only a sliver left in the container. I just ripped it in half and put the little bit I had into each pan. No nice, neat circle today, the day I'm actually taking pictures. Typical.
Pour the batter evenly into two round cake pans, then bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
I did tell you it was going to be red, didn't I?
While the cake bakes, take a nap. You will need all of your strength and mental capacity for the icing.
While the cake cools, get started on the icing.
Ingredients for the icing:
group p(ain in the rear)
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp. flour
group m(akes me gag)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
and don't forget your
1 tsp. vanilla
This is where the directions really get interesting. I'll quote the recipe, then give you my thoughts and hints.
"Cook in microwave group p ingredients until thick and smooth. Let the mixture cool."
For one thing, some general idea of a time would be helpful. Considering it will be in the microwave, where I can't actually see it, I have no idea how long that might take. And for another thing, the mixture doesn't by any means just magically turn thick and smooth. Some serious stirring is involved. I threw out untold batches thinking that I was doing it wrong, only to find out that I just needed to stir. I suppose this could easily be done on the stove top, but I am a rule follower, so...To clarify for my readers:
Cook in the microwave for a minute, stir, cook for another minute, stir, stir some more. Cook again if needed. It should end up the consistency of yogurt.
Once it is done, put it in the fridge to cool.
While it is cooling,
"Mix group m for about 10 minutes. Dissolve the sugar in the butter."
First of all, I don't know if it is scientifically possible to dissolve sugar in butter. Secondly, I do not have the attention span necessary to stand and mix something for 10 whole minutes. And neither does my mother-in-law. On this, I have to call a whole mess of hogwash. I do believe she was just messing with me, just another booby trap in my attempts to make this cake. Her way of keeping her baby boy attached to her instead of me. To clarify for you:
Mix the sugar and butter for about 5 minutes, or until you lose interest.
"Add the cooled group p mixture and 1 tsp. vanilla to group m mixture. Mix until it's good, 5-10 minutes depending on the weather."
First of all, good is an extremely relative term, and as far as I'm concerned, this icing will never be good. Second of all, since when does weather get a say in how long it takes to mix icing? I won't be making this in the out of doors, so I don't have to worry that the rain will cause excess water to get into and thin the icing. What exactly does this mean??? To clarify for those who have stuck it out this far:
Mix all of the ingredients until it looks like icing.
Now, before you get all excited and think that we're done, calm down. We have to make this fancy now.
"Split the layers using a bread knife and ice."
I have yet to see this amazing trick of splitting the layers with ice, so I simply use a butter knife. Apparently two layers just aren't good enough for Hubby. We have to make it a four-layer cake. Some people will say to use plain dental floss or some other clever method to cut the layers in half. By this point, I am so over this cake that I don't care how lopsided the layers are. To clarify:
Stab each layer with a butter knife, and while using a sawing motion with the knife, twirl the cake to cut it in half horizontally.
Remember, before you spread the icing,
remove the wax paper!
Get out the fancy cake stand and ice between each layer. The first time I made this cake I covered the entire thing with icing, not just between the layers. The look on Hubby's face told me that I had made a terrible red cake faux pas, so I have never done it again.
Now, unless your house is as climate controlled as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, put the cake in the refrigerator. One time I left a cake out on the counter, and the next morning all of the icing had melted, slipped out from between the layers, and puddled around the bottom of the cake.
I try very hard to keep this cake away from my children. They get one piece on Dad's birthday and that's it. I am always thinking about the future, and I don't want my many future daughters-in-law to hate me forever. Yes, I will sacrifice my sons' pleasure to preserve the relationship with the daughters-in-law of my dreams. I certainly don't want them cursing me the way I do my own mother-in-law one day each year.
I'm off to clean that mountain of dishes it takes to create this work of art before Hubby gets home.
Let me know if you ever make this. I'd love to know how it turns out.
Have a lovely day!