For My Love…

by Mara @ What's For Dinner? on April 8, 2010

in Baking, dessert, family

I tend to get fairly sappy around people’s birthdays, and today is no different. Today is Adam’s birthday, and much like every other day, I woke up so grateful to have him in my life! I’m so beyond lucky to have married someone so amazing… ok, I’ll stop now.

Something else I tend to do for people’s birthdays is go a bit overboard, especially for Adam’s! I had been planning for his gift for WEEKS now, and I’m absolutely amazed that he hadn’t figured it out when I gave him his card (which I made!)

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We’re going to see Bill Maher tomorrow night! Adam’s a huge fan of his and his show, so when I saw that he was coming to our area, I knew what I had to get for his birthday. He loved it!

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In addition, a tradition in my family is that the birthday person can “order” anything he or she wants for their birthday dinner. In recent years, this has been dinners out, but since we’re going out with family on Saturday, Adam opted for one of his other favorite foods, and asked if I could make it. I hemmed and hawed, mostly because it was something I’d never made before, but everyone assured me it was easy enough: Biscuits and Gravy.

Biscuits have always made me nervous because they’re so easy to mess up. I got a recipe from the FACS (Family And Consumer Sciences) teacher at school (Hi Jeannie!) and followed directions, but managed to roll out my dough too thin and ended up with slightly flat biscuits. They tasted fantastic though!

biscuits and gravy

The gravy was super simple! I browned one package of bulk breakfast sausage in a pan. Then, I added 2 tbsp. of flour, then stirred in about 2.5 c. whole milk and cooked it until it thickened. Then, I added about 2 or 3 tsp. of black pepper and a bit of salt and it was perfect!

I made myself some simply pan-cooked cube steak instead of having scrambled eggs like Adam wanted. Unfortunately, no matter what angle I tried, I couldn’t get a flattering picture of the steak.

biscuits and gravy
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Dessert was really something special. I had decided weeks ago that I would make Adam some cupcakes for his birthday, hence all the practice cupcakes I’ve been making in past weeks. I really wanted them to be perfect! Last year, Adam requested cherry pie for his birthday, but this year left it up to me. Since we were having a Southern-style feast for dinner, I had to go with a Southern-style cake! What’s the most Southern-style cake? Red velvet!

I searched and polled for the best recipes, and finally decided on this one from Kelsey’s Apple A Day, adapted from Saveur. The process was like nothing I’d ever done before, and the sheer chemistry of it was amazing. Apparently, the reason red velvet cake was red to begin with wasn’t because of food dye! The chemical reaction between the baking soda and the cocoa powder creates the initial red color, then that has been emphasized in recent years with red food dye.

red velvet cupcakes

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from www.saveur.com; originally from Cake Man Raven

Ingredients:

For the cake:

* 2 1/2 c. cake flour

* 1 1/2 c. sugar

*1 tsp. baking soda

*1 TBSP cocoa powder

*1 tsp. salt

*2 eggs

*1 1/2 c. vegetable oil

*1 c. buttermilk

*2 TBSP (1 oz.) red food coloring

*1 tsp. vanilla extract

*1 tsp. white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:

*12 oz. cream cheese, softened

*12 oz. butter, softened

*1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

*3 c. confectioners’ sugar

*1 1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

4. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8″ round cake pans. (Obviously, I made cupcakes, so this got divided between 18 cupcake tins)

5. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25–30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely. (cupcakes took about 15 minutes)

6. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5–7 minutes.

5. Chill for 2 hours to set frosting.

6. Frost as desired

red velvet cupcakes
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All I can say about these? YUM YUM YUM YUM! The texture was perfect, the flavor was well, perfect, and the color? Just as it should be!

Happy birthday my love! I hope your day was everything you’d hoped for! I love you!

Mara & Adam_0804_2

Happy Friday all!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is April 8, 2010 at 9:05 PM

Happy birthday to your man! :) Wow- you cupcakes looks PERFECT!!! And biscuits and gravy sound like a delish bday dinner to me!
.-= Jessica @ How Sweet It Is´s last blog ..Happy Easter! =-.

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Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) April 8, 2010 at 9:07 PM

Happy Birthday to your hubby! You are an excellent wife for making this dish for him. My mouth watered looking at it. I need to try making country gravy!

Also, I had no idea that red velvet cupcakes didn’t require food coloring! That’s crazy!

Love the wedding photo of you two.
.-= Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat)´s last blog ..Happy Easter! =-.

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jen (@bwJen) April 8, 2010 at 9:40 PM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADAM!!!
.-= jen (@bwJen)´s last blog ..on the way to Cape May =-.

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Christina April 8, 2010 at 9:53 PM

Happy Birthday Adam!!!

Love the biscuits and gravy Mara!
.-= Christina´s last blog ..Kids in the Kitchen: Pasta Pie =-.

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Christina April 8, 2010 at 9:54 PM

Oh and make sure to submit to tomorrow’s Friday Firsts since it’s the first time you made it! :)

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Andrea of Care to Eat April 8, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Happy Birthday Adam!
You are such a good wife. Chris is lucky if he gets a card!
.-= Andrea of Care to Eat´s last blog ..Andrea: Gimme the dirt! =-.

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Gabriela (froyolover) April 8, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Happy Birthday to Adam!
:D
Have a lovely day, you two!
Brazilian XOXO´s,
Gabriela
.-= Gabriela (froyolover)´s last blog ..SURPRISE! =-.

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Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary April 8, 2010 at 11:23 PM

Happy birthday Adam! You’re a lucky guy ;)

I’ve never had home made red velvet!!! So jealous!

-Mary
.-= Mary @ What’s Cookin’ with Mary´s last blog ..Seared Ahi Tuna with Pineapple Salsa =-.

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MizFit April 9, 2010 at 4:57 AM

MAZEL TOV ADAM!!

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Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly April 9, 2010 at 7:55 AM

Happy Birthday to Adam!!! That was really interesting about the red velvet cake…I always thought it was just food coloring too! Who knew?
.-= Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly´s last blog ..Tuesday Trooper =-.

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brandi April 9, 2010 at 8:00 AM

aw, what a fun dinner to make! My husband LOVED biscuits and gravy, too :) He taught me how to make them!

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Naomi (onefitfoodie) April 9, 2010 at 8:08 AM

WOW those cupcakes look PERFECT!!!

happy birthday to your hubby! enjoy the day! :)

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Ashley April 9, 2010 at 8:18 AM

Awww, I love your sappiness and I love red velvet! Our wedding cake is going to be red velvet.
.-= Ashley´s last blog ..Tijuana Flats =-.

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 9, 2010 at 8:52 AM

2 tiers of our wedding cake were red velvet too!!! Its among our favorites :)

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Andrea (Off Her Cork) April 9, 2010 at 10:26 AM

*squee* OH I just love this post! :D I love b-days and we go all out too, it’s just so fun. :D

Jealous of you seeing Bill Maher!

I’m not southern but I love me some sausage gravy. Oh yes sister, I totally do! That breakfast looks so full of yum!
.-= Andrea (Off Her Cork)´s last blog ..Pizza Thursday Report for April 8th, 2010 =-.

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JMJ April 9, 2010 at 11:16 AM

I’m thinking of making red velvet cupcakes for my friends bridal shower. These look awesome. I’m making mini cupcakes. What would you recommend for the cook time?

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 9, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Hmm… I would say anywhere between 7-10 minutes for mini cupcakes. I’d just really watch them and check for doneness. I liked that these were done but not overly browned!

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Jenn (j3nn.net) April 9, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Happy birthday to Adam! Love your wedding pic :)

I’ve never had the pleasure of eating biscuits and gravy, but it looks fabulous. I have had red velvet cake before, though. Your cupcakes look simply sinful (in a GOOD way!).

Jenn

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Heather (Heather's Dish) April 9, 2010 at 12:24 PM

holy DROOL. i love biscuits and sausage gravy. i really am salivating right now! happy birthday to your sweetie!

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Dawn (HealthySDLiving) April 9, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Ok 1st-that is the CUTEST picture ever! :) 2nd-LOVE red velvet–those look awesome 3rd-Have SO much fun tomorrow!
.-= Dawn (HealthySDLiving)´s last blog ..My Favorite Day =-.

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Fancy April 9, 2010 at 11:59 PM

Happy Birthday, Adam! I hope you had a wonderful day! :)

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Biz April 11, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Happy belated birthday to Adam!! I think your biscuits and gravy turned out great!!
.-= Biz´s last blog ..I Cried. =-.

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Andie October 19, 2012 at 6:09 PM

I saw a recipe just like this in another food blog a few days ago… but they were british. Also, their frosting was a little runnier. Yours look more like traditional cupcakes.

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