It’s that time of year again folks, Idgy’s birthday. Can’t believe that my wee girl is now 17 years old! Where has all the time gone? I feel ancient, a veritable crone when I see how the years have fluttered by and my once cute, cuddly little girl is now a clever, witty, funny and wonderful young woman. How lucky I am to have her, how very, very blessed.
Idgy was only nine when I started this blog and I was forever taking snaps of her and sharing them on my virtual pages. How times have changed, “Get that damn camera away”, “I do not want this to appear on your blog”. My once willing accomplice has put her foot down on the photo front, but not today. I am permitted a snap of my gorgeous girl as she blows out the candles on the red velvet cake I have made for her birthday.
I’ve made her birthday cake every year and they have ranged from the quirky to the basic, from the stunning to the downright disastrous. For someone who has written a successful book on Scottish baking I am somewhat challenged when it comes to creating birthday cakes. I guess it is the pressure I put myself through, This is for my favourite person so must be perfect. I then try too hard, go too far and invariable have some sort of catastrophe.
Last year it too two cakes to get it right when I cocked up the icing on a chocolate cake. This time I went over the top, did an enormous four level red velvet cake and watched in horror as the whole bloody thing tilted like the tower of Pisa after I slapped on the butter cream frosting and then ever so slowly collapsed completely into a heap of crumb and chaos.
Idgy (bless her) just laughed and said it definitely had a homemade look, quite frankly it had the look of a total car wreck. No, no, no, must start again. This time I halved the measurements of my ingredients and went for a simple two layer sandwich cake. I was using traditional beetroot in my red velvet cake to get that gorgeous blood-red colouring, but I cheated and added in a tablespoon of red food colouring as well to really ramp up that dramatic redness.
Instead of trying to be clever with the decorating I just ambled round the garden and picked the last of the pretty primroses, some delicate tiny blue forget-me-nots, frothy white sweet woodruff flowers and of course daisies. Throw in some of those yummy chocolate filled silver candy balls and the obligatory candles and that was it.
One birthday cake. Red velvet cake as requested by the birthday girl. Only two days and one cock-up to create it. I call that a bloody good result.
Happy birthday darling Idgy, you are the light of my life and I am so incredibly proud of the wonderful person you have become.
- 125g/4 oz unsalted butter
- 100g/3½ oz dark chocolate (75% cocoa)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 250g/9 oz plain flour
- 250g/9 oz caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 100ml boiling water
- 100g/3½ oz Greek yogurt
- 200g cooked beetroot (in juice not vinegar!)
- 1 tbsp red food colouring
- 100g/3½ oz cream cheese
- 100g/3½ oz unsalted butter
- 250g/9 oz icing sugar
- Chocolate Filling;
- 25g/1 oz plain chocolate
- 25g/1 oz milk chocolate
- 3 tbsp double cream
- pinch of instant espresso powder
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and grease and line two 8" baking tins
- Melt the butter and chocolate and then mix with the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- Whazz the beetroot in food processor until a smooth puree and add the egg and yogurt before mixing this with the other ingredients already in your baking bowl.
- Now add the boiling water and food colouring and mix thoroughly.
- Pour into your prepared tins and bake for approx 25-30 minutes until you can pierce centre with a skewer and have it come out clean. Don't over cook or the cake will go from red to brown.
- Remove from oven and cool before removing from tins and cooling completely on a wire rack.
- Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and stir in the cream and espresso powder till you have a rich creamy consistancy.
- Spread the chocolate creram on one of the cakes and add the other on top to create a sponge sandwich.
- Mix together all ingredients for the butter cream frosting and spread this carefully all over the cake and all around the sides.