Becoming a Cake Boss Part III

Last week on “Becoming a Cake Boss Part II” I decorated my first cake! This week we tackled cupcakes. Not to be outdone, I made delicious red velvet cupcakes and then filled with cream cheese frosting. This weeks lesson was about piping out flowers, swirls & shells. Continue reading for a closer look & recipes!

So obviously from the picture the “red” part of red velvet didn’t work out. But as I food scientist, I know that making a mistake isn’t that BIG of a problem, as long as you know why it happened. In this case, I do. At work I put food colouring in lots of products. This recipe called for a whole ounce! I’ve even read some recommend doubling this and adding two ounces. But I didn’t want to waste the entire bottle of food colouring on these cupcakes. Plus, is red food dye really that good for you? More on that in another post. With only about a tablespoon of food colouring added in, that meant that my cupcakes once cooked, weren’t really that “red”.

Here is the recipe that I used, from the Joy of Baking

  • 1 1/2 C sifted all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp of dutch or regular cocoa powder
  • 1/4 C unsalted butter
  • 3/4 C white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1 oz liquid red food colouring
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

I baked this recipe believing what I was told about red velvet cake. That the anthocyanins in the cocoa powder when combined with the acidic ingredients like buttermilk and vinegar,  will give this cake a red colour. That is to say, that without adding in the red food dye, these puppies should have turned red! So what happened?! Well friends, we were all lied to! The vinegar and the buttermilk mearly help in the leavening process by creating a more acidic environment. Acidity increases the leavening power of the baking soda and baking powder. Sadly, there is no chemical reaction involved with the colour of these cupcakes. Red velvet cake is ultimatly just a devil’s food cake with a whole whack load of red dye added. But doesn’t that say something about the power of perception? Somehow if a boring chocolate cake is red it’s suddenly more delicious?

Regardless of the colouring I still took them to the class and continued to fill them (using tip 230) with a store bought cream cheese filling and then topped with fun designs. We worked with our star tips to create swirls & shells. Leaf tips for… leaves! Remember to hold it in the right way though! Our instructors helpful reminder was to think of how a bird eats. We also used the open circular tips to create drops. The multi-opening tip helped to create a “shaggy mum”. Though I think mine could still use some work….

All in all this class was a great way to practice cake decorating, learn techniques and create yummy things to take home! Also sorry about ruining the red velvet cake myth!


About Adi

A baker, a food scientist and an overall lover of new food creations

One response to “Becoming a Cake Boss Part III

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