Today is my older brother Reed’s 30th Birthday!
Shhh… don’t tell any one, but his amazing girlfriend Katie is planning a surprise party for him tonight. A few months ago she asked me to make an extra special birthday cake for him. My brother works on video games for a living, so she asked if I could make a xbox controller cake. I am not by any means a gamer (not that I have anything against it), I just never got into it.
I really wanted to make this cake special, I mean it is his 30th b-day, kind of a big deal right? So I decided to make the cake life sized, thankfully I had a friend who generously lent me their controller for a few days, so I could have a visual aid. Because it has to be as perfect as possible for the birthday of someone who uses one every day. If you don’t know what a xbox controller looks like here is a pic:
I made a red velvet cake because it’s his favorite, the recipe I used is also the best red velvet cake recipe I have ever had. I can’t wait for him to see it! I hope he likes it.
Here is the cake before all of the bells and whistles.
and here it is finished! Next week I will post the step by step process so you can make your own xbox cake.
Check back tomorrow for pics of his reaction!
And here is my favorite recipe for red velvet cake. Red velvet cake recipes vary a lot in flavor, some are too chocolaty (for those of you who don’t know, yes it actually is considered a chocolate cake), some taste too much like buttermilk, or are too dry.
This one is just right. You can taste the chocolate, but not so much that it is like eating a chocolate cake, there is just enough buttermilk to add another layer of flavor, and as long as it isn’t over baked it is nice and moist with a fine crumb. These are the qualities that I think make red velvet so popular. I will be posting more on the history of red velvet next week, so don’t be a stranger.
Red Velvet Cake
I got the recipe from pinchmysalt.com
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or three 8-inch round cake pans.
- Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
- Make sure you have cake pans buttered, floured, and nearby. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check early, cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost with buttercream or cream cheese icing (recipe below).
Tips and tricks
*Sift cake flour once before measuring, then sift again with the other dry ingredients per recipe instructions.
Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
1. With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
2. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract.
3. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).