Blue Velvet is apparently blue powerade mixed with white cask wine (also known as goon). Enjoyed any time, but particularly I'm told, if hungover and needing to get back on it. Hydrates and gets you steamed all at once. Excellent.
Black Velvet is of course a 1980's hit tune by Allanah Myles. It featured on the MTV top 100 power ballads (I am loving MTV classic at the moment by the way) which my darling flatmate and I sang terribly along to (well I did anyway) on pancake Sunday. Although said-flatmate admitted she's not so much a fan of the song any more since an overplaying problem a few years back...
And Red Velvet?
Magic in cake form. Magic and rainbows and unicorns and happiness. In a cake.
This cake. This cake. This cake is incredible. It's made with a paste of red food colouring, vanilla extract and cocoa. It's fudgey, and chocolatey, and dense but moist and red. I was absolutely gobsmackingly enticed when I read about this cake on Joy the Baker ages ago, and when trawling through some recipes recently I decided the time had come again for me to get it going in my kitchen.
I first learned about red velvet back when I still thought cupcakes were ok and used to sniff around cupcakes take the cake. And even though I have voiced my thoughts about Valentine's Day here before, a few years ago while my guard was briefly down, I made these as cupcakes. This week though I just could not stop thinking about creating start-to-finish a beautiful cake. No reason. Just because I could.
Also, when I was severely heartbroken (a distant memory now) and I mean severely (fragile, pre-blog, come home from work to my shit flat with nothing to do but cry etc etc blah blah crap) I really didn't know how I would get up each day. But I did. Somehow. I got up, I knew things could be worse, and I would walk to work along Oriental Bay each day with Florence and the Machine's Dog Days are Over on my ipod. Every morning. I would tell myself that things were going to be ok. And they were! This cake reminds me of that song. Like an empowering song or a wonderful friend, this cake politely helps you up, puts you in a smoking hot dress, gives you a shot of gin, and tells you straight that things are fine and life is good. How can it not be?
Anyway, ew heartbreak. To the cake!
I made the cake on Monday night but it wasn't ready for icing then because it was still warm. And despite following Joy's precise instructions regarding whipping those egg whites for the creamy glossy frosting, mine was not a success. I'd use cream cheese icing next time I reckon.
And even though I really just made this cake as a pick-me-up cathartic re-embrace-my-blog-roots-and-get-me-in-the-kitchen challenge, on Tuesday when our lovely former flatties came for dinner I attempted an icing rescue mission and served it up for pudding. With no classy or beautiful or appropriately sized cake plates to report, I used some brown paper and dished it up off the bench.
And because my massacred icing was salvaged only with about a tonne of icing sugar and some heavy beating, it was all in all quite sweet. The toasted coconut was great though, and if you for some absurd reason choose not to don your red velvet beauty in hundreds and thousands, I would heartily suggest coconut all over.
The boy flatmates both former and current asked what the occasion was for such a celebratory looking baked good on a Tuesday night. When I couldn't exactly articulate one they very helpfully (not) threw ideas at me, before they started singing TLC's No Scrubs while I cut into it and plated it up, declaring it some tragic ode to singledom or something. And while I was attempting a photo shoot, there was even the dimming of lights and the lighting of candles.
I had no retort except to exasperatingly declare "this is what my life has become!"
Fortunately, it was delicious.
Recipe available here on Joy the Baker. Hundreds and Thousands optional.