September 29, 2009

Red Ribbon for Red Velvet Cake

South Plains Fair 2009

The South Plains Fair is back in all its glory. A few hours there is enough to last you for a year until it returns. The freaks of the town come out of the woodwork for it, and that includes me. They even shipped Eddie Money in for a pretty pathetic concert. I don't ever want to get old or listen to his songs again.

The typical assortment of fair foods is available, with nothing too shocking to report. The hit of the state fair, Deep Fried Butter, hasn't made it west to Lubbock yet. The only new vendor I saw was the frozen chocolate banana stand, which I fully expected to see the Bluths manning.

South Plains Fair 2009

As usual, my focus was on the women's building and the culinary competition. This year proved to have no shortage of cake wrecks. I was completely befuddled by a Best of Show decorated cake that had strange blue smears on top and Goldfish pressed into the sides and by the cake with off-center pecans and crumbs scattered on top.

South Plains Fair 2009 South Plains Fair 2009

But what do I know? I delivered my Red Velvet Cake entry with pride, saw another red velvet cake already in the display case, and snickered at it. It's not really fair for me to enter. How could I lose? My cake is twice as big and much better looking. Well, if you can't tell from the picture below, the cake that I laughed at got a blue ribbon, and mine, a red.

South Plains Fair 2009

I wish the judges had to give me feedback on why my cake came in second. I think I should challenge the winner, Theresa, to a Throwdown. She's probably a very nice person, but when it comes to baking, the gloves (cooking mitts?) come off! I think I could take her.

Red Velvet Cake

My undefeated fair run is over, but I guess when you think about it, red is really the best color ribbon to award to a Red Velvet Cake.

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
from Cook's Country - Serves 12
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food coloring
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

16 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs in large measuring cup. Mix cocoa with food coloring in small bowl until a smooth paste forms.

2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add one-third of flour mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add half of buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl as necessary and repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and finally remaining flour mixture. Scrape down bowl, add cocoa mixture, and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, give batter final stir. Scrape into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

3. For the frosting: With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4. When cakes are cooled, spread about 2 cups frosting on one cake layer. Top with second cake layer and spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.


Steve said...

"Can't tell you how many health codes you are violating right now."

I miss that show. Speaking of health codes, do they even apply to food at the fair? I would imagine they do, but sometimes I'm not so sure...

If I were on the health board I will shut down that fried butter stand whether they had violations or not. I don't think I could live with myself as a HEALTH inspector if I allowed the public to a fried stick of butter.

Oh, and I'm boycotting the fair for not giving you first place.

wendy v. said...

"Fried butter is a rock star."

I'm going to find as many opportunities to say that as possible. That quote kind of reminds me of the Paula Deen video you posted a while back.

Elizabeth said...

Just an FYI... The goldfish cake was turned in for the special ed category... The one's on top were, or so my mom said! Stephanie made the Popcorn bucket cake that received 3rd... I saw yours though and definately thought it looked better than the 1st place cake! If I was a judge I would have given you first! :)

Kimberly said...

Awww, well, I'm going straight to hell. I got second place because of my pride. Laughing at other people's cakes = bad karma.

I remember the popcorn cake. It was awesome!

Auntie said...

Red Velvet never was nor will be the equal of German Chocolate, so I agree, it was only appropriate that its reward was a Red Ribbon.

And yes, of course, I also agree--you were robbed!