October 17, 2013

Brick Cake (heirloom Red Velvet)

When I was 8 or 9 years old, my aunt brought to a family dinner the most delicious thing I’d ever tasted. My siblings & I dubbed it “brick cake” because of its appearance when we were served a piece flat on the dessert plate.DSCN8774That incredible cake graced a good many happy family dinners in the years that followed. (A couple times my mom substituted green food coloring for St. Patty’s day… Smile)
My first solo attempt at this dessert masterpiece was as a newly-wed wishing to impress my husband & family for his birthday. The cake was a triumph; alas, the frosting was not. It looked something like this:borrowedfromcupcaketakesthecakeRemember: read recipe thoroughly & follow each direction. (…or you might end up with a hot roux melted butter mess…)
When I first went gluten free, I made these Red Velvet cupcakes. But, I’ve been craving the flavor of Aunt Ruth’s authentic recipe; so when Kristen announced that October’s Improv Challenge would be CAKE & FROSTING, I knew I had to challenge myself to make a genuine Red Velvet tastefully gluten free. (I am not going to go off on the ubiquitous boxedmixwannaberedvelvetsomethingfrostedwithcreamcheeseicing…)
First thing I did was to call my cousin and beg for pictures of her mom’s recipe card. (So love seeing Aunt Ruth’s writing in green felt-tip pen. Can you tell she was a teacher?)ruthsrecipe(OH! And thank you, Laurel!)
Next I did a bunch of research on flours, their weight and protein content. I detailed that thought-process in a blog post here: (well… it will be as soon as I finish it…)

¡voilà! My recipe for you:ejRVrecipe

 (I realize the format looks a little strange, but it helps me see how the individual steps work together.)DSCN8740

Rounded up the ingredients, then prepped my pans…

DSCN8744So thankful to have Colby (our cobalt KitchenAid) fully functional thanks to my resourceful daddy. This recipe would’ve been difficult to manage “by hand”.DSCN8745

After the initial “wet” ingredients were mixed, I weighed my flours.DSCN8746

The batter was a little thick going into the pan…DSCN8747

but baked with a decent rise.DSCN8749

Frosting attempt was next.DSCN8753

Here’s my obligatory steam shot.SmileDSCN8754

The rice flour thickened the milk quickly.DSCN8755

I managed to split the layers, but could tell I was going to have to work around a lot of crumbs.DSCN8756

Took me so long to frost that the butter started melting.DSCN8757

Glamor shot:DSCN8769

Aside from the frosting looking slightly lumpy (it actually felt fairly smooth in the mouth...) I was pretty pleased with my final product.DSCN8771

…except for the taste.
My guys all loved it (but they’d never had a chance to sample Aunt Ruth’s stellar cake). There was just something lacking for me in the flavor department. DSCN8790

So I baked another one this morning. I decided to ditch the brown rice flour and use more of the sorghum, some tapioca starch plus a little potato flour.
The texture seemed right & the batter tasted pretty good; but the cakes didn’t have much rise. DSCN8794The texture was finer, but the layers didn’t split well.DSCN8797Thus, I didn’t frost them & am “forcing” myself to eat them in pieces. Actually, I do like the flavor much better and the texture appears to be the right densityDSCN8796 so I’ll be working the balance of ingredients to see if I can’t get some better loft next time I bake Red Velvet.
My Improv Challenge companions would love it if you would check out their cake & frosting links here:

Holding the rope

What are you doing with that rope in your hands?08 244 Are you assisting a friend as he ascends the heights? borrowedDo you come along side with others to help a friend in need?

My Kindergarten Sunday School lesson this week was Mark 2:1-12. We read the story. We showed pictures of the story. We acted out the story.1374859_10202286661716721_1612661947_n

1395349_10202286662956752_43674809_n1385630_10202286662236734_694300552_nWe also ate the story.

October 8, 2013

James & the Giant Peach

...otherwise known as "COSTUMING 5.0"
Saturday we bought 40 - 50 yards of orange nylon fabric. (We have to "dress" a rather large peach, ya know...) We've got this favorite lady behind the bridal counter at the discount fabric store. She measures and measures and weighs and counts all the goodies we've found for the production. Sometimes she'll ask what is this for? We tell her and she's properly amazed at our collective creativity.  Svetlana misses us if we don't show up every 3 months, or so...
(forgot to add Centipede's fabric to the stack...)

After the fabric store we hit Goodwill (along with half of Phoenix...) to find some outfits and particular pieces to alter for costumes. We grabbed a fabulous pair of corduroy trousers for Old Mr. Grasshopper. Unfortunately, we needed green. Fortunately, I have a 10 year-old box of dark green Rit dye.
(yup -- '03!)

Yesterday I cut, serged, sewed, and pressed.
(Aunt Sponge's wardrobe basic)

Today was spent cutting, serging, sewing, pressing and dyeing.

(of course, I don't have a "before" shot...)
Tomorrow I believe I will change it up a little and sew, serge, press and then cut out fabric for the following day...