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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Cakelets - Marbled Red Velvet Pound Cake

I've been buying, or receiving as gifts, the annual Christmas with Southern Living editions for more years than I care to count.  When we moved from large house in Austin to tiny condo at the coast I had to stop - and I gave away all that I had. Storage is a problem so you do what you gotta do.  Still, it was a sad day! 

I follow a blogger, Sabrina, who writes LouLou Sucre, Inspirations for House and Home and I was so happy to see that she had made a beautiful cake from the 2009 edition.  I pinned it to my Pinterest recipe board with thoughts of incorporating the cake into my holiday baking.  The list had gotten long and somewhat overwhelming...but I kept the cake on, even when I started whacking some of the items that I didn't think I could manage in the short time left.

Wednesday night I decided it was close enough to bake cake, considering it was a moist pound cake and they can handle a couple of days pre-prep.  I decided, of the three choices I had listed, I was going with the Red Velvet Pound Cake I'd seen on Sabrina's blog.  I knew I wanted to miniaturize everything...using my Christmas shaped mini-pans, my small bundts, my mini bundts, and my tea cake pan.  I generally use these to bake Amish Friendship Bread...but I wanted something different, something moist, something pretty, and this ticked all the boxes.  I didn't want a frosting - it would hide the details of the pretty pans (assuming everything came out okay) but I decided a vanilla bean glaze would probably work quite nicely over this cake.  So, I proceeded.

I'm going to ask that you link back to Sabrina's blog for the recipe.  It wasn't changed at all (other than the frosting substitution) and it's the courteous thing to do. (As blogging of recipes evolves, we are all learning some basic courtesies for using other folks recipes and inspirations...things like give it a week or more before you copy something, link back to their blog if you are inspired by someone...common courtesies of blogging life.

This batter is so incredibly decadent, I could have dipped a spoon in and eaten fairly glistened it was so lovely. 

I liked that the red velvet component was minimized for this recipe (it's a pretty cake in general, but it's not usually the best chocolate cake in the world, in my opinion) and that it used melted milk chocolate instead of cocoa powder.  Lots of red food coloring - as usual.  It's dramatic, I'll give you that!

The problem arose when I needed to swirl the red velvet batter into the vanilla/almond a tiny tea cake mold or a mini bundt pan.  It really just didn't work very well.  Nonetheless, it tastes FABULOUS as one would expect any Southern Living cake to be!  I expected it to be more dense in the tea cake molds...I struggle every year to find something that will display the crisp lines of the little molds.  This year was no more successful than past years.  I read somewhere that you needed to use a dense gingerbread or brownie or banana bread type of dough to get crisp lines...cake batters don't do the trick.  I'll try that next...month, or year!  For now though, I know from previous attempts, that the lines would be more visible if I put a little color in my glaze and kept it thin enough to coat but not cover up. 

I also followed the Nordic Ware instructions to fill 3/4 of each little opening...but, again, they rose over the edge leaving an ugly rim around the cakelets.  The same thing happened with my Christmas molds.  I let them cool and removed them from the pans...and then I stood there and carefully ran a paring knife around each and every cakelet.  I did this between 11:00 and midnight...boy howdy was I tired! 

After that I covered everything and glazed them Thursday morning...they took four batches of vanilla bean paste glaze to get everything covered (except the bottoms).  Lots of work, but oh so worth it after I sampled the snowman whose head fell off...poor Frosty's loss was my gain :-)

Here's the ratios I used for each batch of glaze:

Colored Vanilla Bean Glaze

3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar - sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
3  tablespoons water
3-4 drops of liquid food coloring (I used red)

Whisk together above ingredients until smooth.  Drizzle on with spoon or dip small tea cakes in to cover.  Allow to drip on a cooling rack into a baking sheet.

I can't wait to make this cake again, full size, with the cream cheese frosting.  Sometimes it's best not to mess with a good thing.  Mine turned out quite tasty, but at the expense of presentation!  A little lightly colored glaze and some edible glitter and disco dust seemed to pep things up though.  I'm sure no one but me...and you...will know what a trial it was to get to this point!

Here are the rest of the photos of the endeavor!

The small bundts (not mini) came out the best - cleanest and well marbled

The sole unglazed mini bundt in the left corner shows the difference
the glaze and sparklies make

A sprinkling of disco dust gives them
a little glimmer of Christmassy cheer

Viola, the finished products below...I can guarantee they taste incredibly moist and richly flavored with vanilla bean and a subtle background of almond.  I will be pleased to serve these at Christmas.  Thanks to Sabrina for bringing forth this wonderful inspiration recipe for my Christmas Cakelets!

BON APPETIT, Y'ALL...and Merry Christmas!




  1. There is not a person I know that doesn't like red velvet, so this is a welcome sight to come by and see all these festive cakelets. The mix of the vanilla almond with the red velvet sounds delicious. It also makes for some lovely swirls in the cake. You definitely made a good choice with the disco dust over that tasty glaze. Yum! Great post and Merry Christmas!

  2. Love the idea of making a marble cake with red velvet - very festive!

  3. A note - 2014 - Disco Dust is no longer a product I use (and unfortunately I have a large collection) - while it is "non-toxic" - it is not really considered to be edible. Crayons are non-toxic, but we wouldn't really want to eat them! Instead of disco dust I would, instead, use just a sparkly red sugar for these. It is a delicious cake, no matter how you ice it!


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