Metro-East Living

Stir Crazy: Count ’em —18 layers on this cake

18-Layer Red Velvet Cake
18-Layer Red Velvet Cake

I admire the ingenuity of creative bakers. Daily, I receive blogs, email newsletters and press releases with beautiful photos of food and accompanying recipes. Every now and then, I find something that sets me thinking: “Would I really make this? Could I really make this?”

It happened last week when Tablespoon.com displayed on its site an 18-layer Red Velvet Cake. You could count the layers of alternating white cake and red velvet cake, with a fluffy white frosting. (I’m still not sure if there are 17 or 18 layers.)

Without reading the directions, I tried to figure out how it was done. Actually, all I had to do was look closely at the photo and I saw the cheat: Three round cake pans were used, with six layers in each pan, depending on how you counted. But, even that’s a feat. I would have gone for 12 layers myself to make it look neater.

How is it done? Read the directions and find out. I think it’s doable by anyone who has tackled multilayer cakes. If someone makes it, I’d like to know!

On the more mundane side of cooking, I’m including here a nice winter soup that can be put together in less than an hour. Packed with potatoes, carrots and corn, it’s a great healthy dinner choice and it could easily be vegetarian by using vegetable instead of chicken stock and omitting the bacon bits.

Contact me at sboyle@bnd.com, 618-239-2664 or follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

18-Layer Red Velvet Cake

WHITE CAKE:

1 box white cake mix

1 1/4 cups water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

RED VELVET CAKE

1 box German chocolate cake mix

1 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa

2 tablespoons red liquid food color (1 ounce)

FROSTING:

2 1/2 cups marshmallow creme (from two 7-ounce jars)

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottom of each pan with cooking parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat white cake ingredients on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Loosely cover and refrigerate.

In another large bowl, beat red velvet cake ingredients on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Spread 1/2 cup red velvet batter in bottom of each pan. Loosely cover and refrigerate remaining batter. Place all 3 pans on oven rack positioned in center of oven. Bake about 8 minutes, or until cake is set when lightly touched in center.

For next cake layer, spread 1/2 cup white batter evenly over each baked red velvet layer. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until cake is set when lightly touched in center.

Repeat the last two steps twice, baking 9 to 12 minutes per layer or until top of cake layer is set when lightly touched in center.

Cool 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; remove parchment paper from bottoms of cakes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Frosting: Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat marshmallow creme, butter, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in powdered sugar until fluffy. If necessary, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time until spreading consistency.

To assemble, stack cake layers, spreading 1/2 cup frosting between each layer. Spread thin layer of frosting over side and top of cake to seal in crumbs. Refrigerate cake 30 to 45 minutes to set frosting. Spread remaining frosting on side and top of cake.

Tablespoon.com

Veggie Chowder

2 cups cubed peeled potatoes

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped red peppers, optional

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 can (14 3/4 ounces) cream-style corn

1 can (12 ounces) fat-free evaporated milk

3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons bacon bits

In a large saucepan, combine potatoes, broth, carrots, peppers and onion; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add corn, milk, cheese, mushrooms and pepper; cook and stir 4-6 minutes longer, or until heated through. Sprinkle with bacon bits.

Yield: 7 servings (1 3/4 quarts); 1 cup equals 191 calories, 5 grams fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 505 mg sodium, 29 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 11 grams protein. Diabetic exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 fat.

Simple & Delicious January/February 2007

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