Sunday, February 14, 2010

My true love

I met a lot of people my freshman year of college. Some of them I met, forgot, then met again. You have those conversations where you discover that you were in the same room at the same time with someone you later got to know well, yet you have no memory of them there at all.

Everyone who knows me has heard this story a million times, of how I "met" my husband (of either 32 or 27 years, depending on where you start counting), but it's worth repeating here, on our 35th Valentine's Day together.

Thinking that I would be a costume designer, I took theater classes my freshman year. Quickly discovering that I absolutely hated being around actors (so why am I working for a theater now? It's a question I ask myself daily), I switched to the art department the following year. I don't remember anyone from my theater year, except that skinny Chinese fellow with the aviator glasses. Sophomore year, having put theater behind me, I was sitting in the choral rehearsal room, and in that guy walks. Christ, I thought, the theater people are following me.

I never did shake him loose (tried once or twice, but he's a stubborn fellow and I'm no match). So this is for you, my own true love, with a little help from my recent trip down memory lane.

Chocolate-Basil Red Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups (250 grams) sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (15 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves (plus addition leaves for garnish)
3/4 cup sour cream plus 1/2 cup milk whipped to a thick liquid,
• or 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (if you can find it)
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter two - 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Place the sugar and basil in a food processor. Process until basil is chopped fine and uniformly green in color (it will look slightly wet).Set aside.

In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar/basil mixture and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream/milk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Because of the basil, cakes will be more of an antique red than the deep bright red of a traditional red velvet cake.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks. Cool to room temp, then glaze with

Light Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
6 tablespoon reduced fat sour cream
1 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl whisk the powdered sugar and cocoa powder; set aside. In a separate medium bowl beat the sour cream and melted chocolate with an electric mixer on low speed until blended. Gradually add sugar mixture to sour cream mixture, beating at low speed until well-blended. Add vanilla and beat well for 1 minute until very smooth and creamy.

Icing from Enlightened Cooking blog
. I swear I came up with the basil before I started looking for frosting recipes, proving the internet truism that if you can think of it, there's already a website. Cake recipe adapted from Joy of Baking.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds so good. Now that you've posted this, I can imagine how well basil and chocolate taste together.