Yet another Christmas party with a fancy festive theme.
“The third one in three weeks!” exclaimed Koji, half bemused and half annoyed (Grinch that he is).
“Yes, but you know everyone at this one, or just about know them, and we only have to make one thing each” replied I, contemplating the theme. “Also, we agreed to go way back in October. Or November. Or something.”
“Well in that case, I’m making jelly.”
“Green, Red & White” read the fairly festive email invitation. “One dish each, let us know what you’re bringing so we don’t double up.”
We discussed potential dishes over fro-yo.
“It’d be good to have lobster.” said one.
“Yes. It’s red enough, isn’t it?”
“But who’s going to bring it?”
“I guess we’ll be eating curry and ham then.”
“Oh, and cake.” I interjected, having been momentarily distracted by the awfully stale mochi bits in my pomegranate flavoured cup “I’m making a cake.”
“Red velvet?” asked Brian, eyes brightening.
I had grand plans, you see, that involved a forest of green-tinted white chocolate trees perched atop a mound of cream cheese icing. And in the centre, a red velvety surprise.
Striped with white vanilla cake.
Like a candy cane, only… swirlier.
“Ooh!” came the chorus (accompanied by a flurry of camera flashes) when the cake came out of the fridge and was laid on the table.
“Aaaaahhhh!” came the cries of intrigue as I pulled out the first slice.
“I think I ate too much of Lex’s rib eye…” came the moan from cake-aversion-filled Koji.
(He ate a slice later, topped with jelly and ice-cream, and was never the worse for it.)
We ate just one half of it between 18 (though the rest was polished off soon after).
I piled all of the left over, slightly broken (they are very fragile) and otherwise misshapen trees in a heap in the centre of the cake when serving it. Partially to hide the marks from when I cut it open for these photographs (though extra cream cheese icing did a semi-decent job of patching the gaps) and partially because I hate to see good green (white) chocolate go to waste.
They went down a treat, with pleas of “One slice with extra green stuff for me please!” being not quite uncommon.
And with that, the room fell into contented chatter, broken up by the occasional silence that comes with munching.
This will be the last post I stick up here before Christmas Day, and we’ll possibly be just a little quiet around these parts for the next week or so whilst I spend time with loved ones (and eat far too much ham. Is there such a thing as far too much ham? I’m not sure so, but I’ll push the limits of my abilities to find out.)
(There may be a sneaky New Year’s Eve themed post, but we’ll have to see if it can be squeezed in amongst the beaching that needs to be done.)
So, for now, thank you for your visits, for your kind words and for your support throughout this year. I’ve treasured all of your comments (even the crotchety ones, which I fret over before bed until Koji tells me to stop being such a goose) and have loved creating all of this here food for you to look at and vicariously eat.
Best to you and yours during the holidays! Be safe, and I’ll see you soon!
marbled red velvet cake
makes three 23cm cake rounds (which would have been pictured here, but I ate the other one)
you will need:
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla essence
4 cups plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt flakes
2 1/2 cups (375ml) milk
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
red food colouring
how to do it:
1. Chop the butter into cubes and toss it in the bowl of a stand mixer (or bowl). Beat the butter until it starts to look creamy and then add the sugar and vanilla essence and continue to beat until it is light and fluffy.
2. Crack the eggs into the bowl one at a time, beating well between each addition.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the bicarbonate soda, baking powder, flour and salt together. In a separate jug, mix the milk and vinegar together.
4. Mix the flour mixture and milk mixture into the butter a third at a time, alternating between additions. After the last addition the cake batter should be nice and smooth.
5. Take half of the mixture and put it in a bowl by itself. This will be your white cake mix.
6. Combine the cocoa powder, coffee powder and red food colouring (plus about 2 tbsp of milk) in a small cup and add it to the original bowl of cake mix. Stir thoroughly. You’ll need enough red food colouring to turn the mixture a lurid shade of red. Think lipstick.
7. Line and grease your cake tins. Pour a scoop of red cake batter into the bottom of each tin. Then ladle a scoop of white cake mixture into the centre of the red mixture. Repeat until you have what looks like a red and white target in each tin, filled to about 2/3rds full.
8. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes in a 160C oven. Leave to cool.
cream cheese frosting
makes enough to cover and sandwich two layers of cake
you will need:
450g cream cheese
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
6 cups icing sugar
how to do it:
1. Beat the butter and cream cheese and vanilla essence together until light and fluffy.
2. Add the icing sugar one cup at a time and beat well between each addition, until you have a consistency you like.
white chocolate trees
makes more than you’ll need (which is good because they’re fragile)
you will need:
220g white chocolate, eating quality
green food colouring (powder or gel, not liquid)
how to do it:
1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (I used a glass bowl perched atop a saucepan of simmering water). Add green food colouring and stir well to combine.
2. Let the mixture cool slightly then tip it into a piping bag. When it is squishy and room temperature, pipe green tree shapes onto baking paper until all of the chocolate is gone.
3. Chill the chocolate in the fridge overnight (particularly if your temperatures are as warm as they are here). Lift the trees off the paper whilst still in the fridge and apply to the cake, securing with more cream cheese icing.