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Cake—Not Just
To Be Eaten

BY HEATHER SCHLEGEL
EXCERPTED FROM JACARÉ NO.5

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If you could be cake what kind of cake would you be? Probably not red velvet cake. But that’s what Jacaré has been mixing up these past few months.

The story behind the cake question is not an old one. While living in Brazil with four other Americans we came up with the cake question posed above. We of course had to answer it and came up with the following cake personalities. Blue Cake, just very, very blue, Pineapple upside down cake, almond coffee cake, plain vanilla cake without any frosting burnt to a crisp except for the very middle which is perfectly cooked, and of course red velvet cake.

I searched through a lot of San Francisco bakers and not one had even heard of red velvet cake. Thus I am enlightening the whole of San Francisco with my knowledge. From what I can gather, red velvet cake is a Southern native, since none of the cultural San Franciscans have ever heard of it. This is a very easy recipe and can easily be changed to make blue cake of Holly Brazil fame. It’s also fun to see the chemical reaction in the last stage. Have fun, and try not to dye your kitchen red!

Red Velvet Cake
Y’all need these things:
½ cup softened butter
1 ½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 oz. red food coloring
2 Tbsp. cocoa
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. baking soda

Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and mix until smooth. Make a paste with the food coloring and the cocoa. Be careful so as not to stain your kitchen countertop, wooden spoon, dishcloths, and hands with the red dye, like I did. Add this to the creamed butter mixture. Add flour and buttermilk alternately to the mixture, mixing completely. Add the vanilla.

Here is the fun part: measure out the baking soda and put in a small bowl or cup. Then measure out the vinegar and add to the baking soda. Stand back and watch the fizz. Stir this into the batter, you do not want to beat it. Pour the batter into two eight- or nine-inch pans and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes or until done.

I’ve never had any luck making icing, so I personally have just used store-bought. Yes I know, it abounds with preservatives and more, but my icing-making skills are just not up to par. And why waste a beautiful cake with bad icing? This is the traditional icing that goes with red velvet cake. It is not Heather-tested, so you are on your own. If you have a favorite icing you prefer to use, substitute it instead. I like vanilla or light-colored frostings for the red cake, with a fudge ripple between layers. Enjoy!

Icing
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 cup butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Make a paste with the flour and milk. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until thick. Cool. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture gradually until it is of spreadable consistency.

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