February 18, 2013

red velvet is weird.

I lost myself this Valentine's Day. I surrendered to a trend and now must pay the consequences. 

There's a great big red velvet cake sitting in my fridge and I don't want to eat it. Every time I open the door its thick crimson layers glow at me with red-dye radiation. It's weird. There's nothing wrong with it. It tastes fine (albeit a little boring). The icing is tasty (if not a tad drippy). The cake is just really, really, really red. 

I had always wanted to try my hand at a red velvet recipe. Not sure why. Red velvet just seems to be everywhere, dominating everything from bakery shelves to Pinterest boards, and I wanted to rise and meet the challenge! Look out, cake!

I'm all about reaching my goals. Big goals. 

Valentine's Day came around. Perfect, I think. I don't buy Wayne gifts. I make Wayne cakes. I'll make a red cake. This will be AMAZING. 

First of all, don't try to make a red velvet cake when you're in a klutzy state of mind (which for me is about 80% of the time. I am by no means a graceful swan, though my wingspan is rather impressive). Red velvet cake batter is, well, really red. And when it gets on something... that something will be red. You'll be happy to know that after some intense elbow grease my countertop is now only a pleasant pink colour!

I was excited to make this cake. It was going to look pretty and taste like Valentine's Day. Then the recipe told me to put a lot of red food colouring in. I did a double take. The recipe told me to put a lot of red food colouring in. I debated with myself, but ended up doing what the recipe commanded of me. My track record with changing ingredients around in recipes isn't so good. Recipes exist for a reason.

As soon as I put that horrendous amount of red dye in the batter, I thought, red velvet is weird. I don't think I'm going to like it very much. I stirred the dye into the rest of the batter. I looked in the bowl and saw my crimson reflection shimmering back at me in the blood-red batter. Something in my stomach fluttered. 

I thought, red velvet is gross. 

I baked the cake. I ate some of the cake. It tastes fine. It's moist and light and pretty. But it's red. Turns out I don't like it when things aren't the colour they're supposed to be. Cake is supposed to be white or yellow or brown. Ketchup is supposed to be red. Cake isn't.

I'm aware that it's a purely mental thing. Mind over matter. Suzanne's brain over red cake. Chances are, however, that red velvet will not be making an appearance in this kitchen again. But -- speaking of ketchup -- here's the 2013 version of Wayne's Valentine's Day card:

He loves ketchup on his mac n' cheese. Me... not so much (I'm not always this picky, I promise!). I also tried to compensate for the undesirable cake by making romantic shortbread cookies. Much tastier. They go nice with a cup o' chocolat chaud. And that's it for Valentine's Day, folks. Just another day of kitchen mishaps and cheesy greeting cards (HAH! Cheesy. Punmaster, right here).