This year, my wife specifically requested a red velvet cake for her birthday party.

That was when I realised that I had never baked a cake from scratch before.

I’ve completed the first semester baking class, which was pretty much everything EXCEPT cake. But I looked up the recipe in my textbook, and found an insane amount of red food colouring. I’ll eat a lot of processed foodstuffs, but after what I’ll describe as an awkward consequence of Lucky Charms, artificial food colouring and I are on the outs. I read up on the olden-timey recipes, natural processed chocolate vs. Dutch processed, the chemistry of buttermilk and anthocyanins. Then I tried an experimental round of cupcakes using beet juice instead of food colouring. It didn’t make a significant difference in the colour, but we sure did eat all of them before I could take a picture.

And that, I think is the most important lesson to take away from this experience:
ALWAYS TAKE PROCESS PHOTOS.

Otherwise, your birthdaydrunk wife will brutally stab and hack the handcrafted symbol of your love, and you will cry a little bit, and be stuck posting what looks like a crime scene photo.

From “mortared brick” to “Bates Motel guest” in 4 seconds.

Aaaaaanyway, the cake you see above was based on sophistimom’s Red Velvet Cupcake recipe, which calls for pureeing roasted beet, so that it also includes all the fibrous, pulpy, nutritive goodness. It came out VERY red, and a bit more dense than traditional red velvet, but moist and delicious! I made an 8″x12″ sheet, which I then cut into thirds, stacked, and frosted. Unfortunately, I got a little outside my comfort zone with the cream cheese variant of LeelaBean’s cooked-flour frosting. It’s sweet and creamy, not grainy at all, but definitely better suited to individual cupcakes than a cake that needs to be sliced and served.

TL;DR – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WIFE!!!  I love you, even though you murdered your cake!  29 is going to be awesome!

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