Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Red Velvet Cake with Rresh Berries

[Delayed post! I must be more diligent about blogging...]

I love bringing baked goodies to work (although I don't do it as often now...) because my coworkers devour them. I love seeing people enjoy the things I make and that is why I bake (that just rhymed!) - besides the creativity part and the fun process portion of baking. My coworker Iain is one of the people who make me very happy by taking more than a single serving of whatever I bake. So obviously, I was stoked when Iain commissioned a very special birthday cake for his wife, Martha.

While trying to brainstorm for different types of cakes and flavor combinations, I mentioned a red velvet cake as an option, perhaps with a touch of fresh berry puree to add some freshness to the otherwise rich cake. That's when I realized Iain had never tasted or even heard of the greatest red velvet cake!

For those of you who don't know what it is, a red velvet cake is a rich, moist cake with a hint of chocolate flavor and with a red color most commonly found in southern part of the US. It's best paired with cream cheese frosting. It may sound strange, but trust me. It is DELICIOUS and kind of cool with its bright red color.

Anyways, we could either go with safer cakes like a traditional chocolate cake or vanilla cake with fruit filling. But Iain who is always open to trying something new and exciting and adventurous decided to go with the red velvet cake. And I decided to add a touch of my own to the traditional red velvet cake by incorporating fresh berries and berry puree into the cake layers.

The moist, vibrantly colored cake layers were generously brushed with thickened berry puree made from fresh raspberries and strawberries. In between the cake layers were fresh berries and light cream cheese frosting with a hint of vanilla. Finally, the cake was coated with some more cream cheese frosting for the white velvety finish and adorned with more fresh berries.

I was delighted to hear that Iain, his wife, family, and friends who got together to celebrate Martha's birthday enjoyed the cake a lot. Most of them had not had a red velvet cake before like Iain and I hope that this cake put the red velvet cake way up there on their favorite cake list! 

Thanks Iain!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Raspberry Almond Cake with Fresh Berries

My friend Derrick Jue and I used to literally spend 24/7, every minute together throughout college. We would have the exact same course schedule every quarter (we were both mechanical engineering majors), work on our problem sets, spend miserable nights debugging our impossible code and circuits together. It was only natural that I felt weird, sad, and empty once we graduated and Jue spent most of his working hours in China on very lengthy business trips. My friends and I all got so used to him being away that we stopped worrying about eating nuts and started baking goodies and cooking with nuts (Jue is deathly allergic to all nuts and peanuts).

A while ago, his girlfriend Vanessa made a plan to visit him here during a well-deserved vacation after completing her CA (Certified Accountant) exam, but China, once again, called for him to be shipped in on a very short notice.

Feeling sad that he won't be able to spend time with Vanessa during her visit here, Jue asked me to bake a cake for Vanessa in time for her visit. Something with no chocolate since she's not a huge fan and something with nuts since she had been much deprived of nuts since becoming his girlfriend.

After digging around for that perfect cake, I decided to make a raspberry almond cake with fresh berries.

The cake layer was a simple vanilla cake with a hint of almond and generously brushed with fresh raspberry puree to moisten it. In between the cake layers were a light melt-in-your-mouth almond cream cheese frosting and fresh berries.

Finally, the cake was topped with more fresh berries and cream cheese frosting. The nutty cream cheese frosting was a perfect complement to the sweet and juicy berry flavor and fluffy vanilla cake.

Jue asked me to put some equations and number on the cake as a part of the congratulatory message for completing the CA exam. I had no idea what sort of questions pop out in CA exams. After my roommate and I made an unproductive attempt to Google some CA questions and equations, I started putting on random unrelated numbers... :)

The fresh berries made this cake a good fit for the hot summery day. I hope you enjoyed the cake Van and sorry you couldn't be here Jue!

We miss you here. COME BACK PLEASE.