I have this problem with dessert size.
See, despite my love for tiny things (mini muffins! macarons!), all of my favourite desserts are ones that are best made in big portions. Pies, cakes, time-intensive pastries that you might as well make a lot of… which is all well and good, except for the fact that 90% of the time I am only baking for my boyfriend and I, and while he is more than willing to reap the bounties of my kitchen escapades I sometimes wonder if my jeans will still be as forgiving the next morning.
I seem to take the number of people I’m baking for and quadruple it. Baking for two? A 9 inch pie seems fine. Going over to someone’s for dinner and bringing dessert for four? Time to make a three tiered cake that serves sixteen!
Hopefully this trait only makes me more beloved by my friends (and doesn’t cause my untimely death by icing-clogged arteries at age 40).
My three-tiered slightly ugly masterpiece (I really need to watch some YouTube videos on how to ice cakes properly) was the ultimate adult cake. It’s essentially a real red velvet cake, created by the masterful Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen. It’s chocolate-y and wine-y (the wine doesn’t fully bake out!) and has this amazing mascarpone icing that I will be definitely be using in future endeavours. It still tastes great on day four. It keeps well in the fridge even if you have to move all your stuff because it’s so large (just me?)
Plus, for a tiered cake, this one is easy. The cake layers and icing are both simple. You don’t even have to frost the outside. (Though I’ll be the first to admit that it exposes when you suck at decorative icing. YouTube, here I come).
Red Wine Velvet Cake
Serves 16-20, or two hungry people for days on end. From the Smitten Kitchen cookbook by Deb Perelman.
- 16 tbsp or 2 sticks (225 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 3/4 cups (345 grams) all purpose flour
- 2 cups (380 grams) packed dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 cups (475 ml) red wine
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups (115 grams) Dutch cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp table salt
- 16 oz (500 grams) mascarpone cheese
- 2 1/3 cups (280 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment and either spray or butter/flour the parchment and sides of the pan.
- In a large bowl, at the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
- Add sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs and beat well, then red wine and vanilla. It will look weird and uneven. It’s okay.
- Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together over the wet ingredients. Mix until three quarters combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula.
- Divide batter among three pans.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool on a rack all the way.
- In a medium bowl, beat marscapone with the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla until light and fluffy, around 1-2 minutes.
- Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake stand and spread with one-third of the filling. Repeat with the remaining two layers. Chill the cake in the fridge until ready to eat. Devour.