so i’m finally in the christmas spirit after a very busy few weeks
one year ago, i was blissfully wandering through Christmas markets in Berlin, gorging down the fantastical German beers, & making my own gluhwein
this year, it’s definitely a little warmer than i would like at Christmas time, but once that little tree & colourful shiny baubles go up, & the glittering, twinkling glow of fairy lights illuminate every corner, it’s undeniably time for some festive cheer
For the velvet cake
3 cups all purpose unbleached flour; spoon into dry measuring cup & level to rim
¾ cup natural cocoa powder; measure & sift
3 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp salt
1½ cup buttermilk, well shaken; can be cold from the refrigerator
1½ tsp vanilla extract
liquid food colouring (red & green)
1½ cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter; can be cold from the refrigerator
2¼ cups sugar
6 large eggs; can be cold from the refrigerator
Adapted from Sarah’s recipe at baking911
For the cinnamon cream cheese frosting
4⅔ cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 tsp butter; room temperature
8 oz cream cheese; cold
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven & preheat to 180˚C/350˚F. If using a dark, nonstick or glass pan, reduce oven heat by 20˚C/25˚F.
2. Generously grease three 8″ pans or line each greased baking pan with a greased piece of parchment paper.
3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Stir together with a spoon. Set aside.
4. Mix the buttermilk together with the vanilla extract. Set aside.
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until soft. (If the butter is cold, it will warm quickly from the beaters – taking about 60 seconds).
6. Add the sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl. Increase speed to medium & beat for 2 minutes until light yellow & fluffy. Stop the mixer & scrape the side & bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.
7. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time & beat for 20 seconds after each addition.
8. After the eggs have been added, increase the mixer speed to medium & beat the mixture for 2 minutes. (If the eggs are cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It’s ok. It will come together as the batter warms from the beaters.) The mixture will become fluffy & aerated.
9. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions, alternating with the milk in 2 equal portions, beginning & ending with the flour. (If the milk is cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It’s ok. It will come together when you add the flour.)
Make sure to add the flour & liquid ingredients in increments quickly; do not wait in between additions too long as you don’t want to overmix the batter.
10. After completing the last addition of flour, stop the mixer, & scrape the side & bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.
Then, let the mixer run for 30 seconds on LOW. The batter will be thick & fluffy. STOP the mixer. Do NOT overmix.
11. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer. With a large rubber spatula, give the batter ONE or TWO quick folds to incorporate any stray flour or milk left at the sides & bottom of the bowl.
12. Pour a third of the batter into a separate bowl & gently mix in green food colouring. Mix red food colouring into the remaining batter. (I prefer to mix the colour in small increments until I like what I see.)
13. Divide the portions into the three prepared pans & lightly smooth their tops.
14. Bake the cake layers for 20-30 minutes or until the top feels firm & gives slightly when touched. (If you insert a toothpick in the middle & remove it, it should have a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter.)
NOTE: The cake can be baked in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch, greased cake pan, taking 30-35 minutes to bake. Cupcakes take 20-30 minutes to bake.
15. Take the pans from the oven to a wire cake rack & let sit for 10 minutes before unmolding. To unmold, loosen the sides with a small metal spatula or sharp knife, taking care not to scratch the cake pan. Invert onto cake rack & place upright to cool completely.
For the frosting
1. Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add the powdered sugar & cinnamon, & mix at medium-slow speed until well combined.
2. Add the cream cheese all at once & beat at medium-high for 5 minutes, or until the frosting is light & fluffy. Do not over-beat as the frosting can become runny quickly.
Serves 12-16 (or 1)
& because Christmas is all about spreading the festive joy, don’t forget to stop by two of my absolute favourite food blogs
& gawk at their luscious photography, or do what I did & wrap their precious books in pretty little paper & give them to someone for Christmas.
You don’t know how absolutely divine it is to do your christmas baking with the smell of gingerbread spices perfuming the air, & the kinfolk christmas 2012 playlist to remind you that it’s that most wonderful time of the year!
Merry merry Christmas everyone!