Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Raspberry Red Velvet Birthday

I had the best birthday ever.

My dad made me raspberry red velvet cake, from scratch.

How delicious does that look?! It was fabulous. Don't worry, I'll share the recipe. Amazing dad to bake the cake not included, you've got to find your own!

For supper we had one of my favorite meals from when I was a kid- grilled burgers, (we jazzed them up last night with mushrooms and provolone cheese) egg noodles, and baked beans. The beans get served over the pasta, they make a great gravy :)

Loved it! But, before we ate all this delicious food, we had to work up an appetite. And so, we went to the Okefenokee Swamp.

My goodness kids! It was wonderful! We saw lots of gators, various birds, turtles, and even a raccoon. I have way too many photos to post here, but I have selected a few to share with you.

The Okefenokee Swamp is entirely dependant on rain water. No water sources flow into the swamp. Because it's been so dry here, the swamp is about a foot lower than usual. So, as much as we desperately need the rain, I was happy God gave us a break for the day so I could see more of His glorious creations :)

The swamp is a wild life refuge, so all the animals are protected, but are free to live their lives without man interfering.

With all that said, let's look at some pictures!

Here's a big boy who was just hanging out on the banks by the visitor center. Swim anyone? The landscapes are so varied- And look at the water lily- it seems to radiate light from within. How beautiful!

So, there you have it kiddos, a very very small insider view of my birthday. It was fantastic.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Raspberry Red Velvet Cake
Serves 18
308 calories per

Cooking spray
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 large egg whites
2 cups fat-free buttermilk
1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

7 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Remaining ingredient:
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray, and line bottoms of pans with wax paper.

Lightly spoon 3 cups cake flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, and next 3 ingredients (through salt). Set aside.

Beat granulated sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed 4 minutes or until well blended. Add egg whites to sugar mixture; beat at medium speed 5 minutes or until fluffy. Combine buttermilk, food coloring, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until moistened.

Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool cake layers completely on wire racks.

To prepare frosting, combine cheese and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat).

To assemble cake, place 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread with jam; top with second cake layer. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

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