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!)
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!
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!
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.
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 Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from www.saveur.com; originally from Cake Man Raven
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
*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)
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
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!
Happy Friday all!