Friday, January 13, 2012

Kitchen Helper

This year for New Year's Eve we headed out of town. Thatmom had suggested a family trip to our timeshare in Palm Desert. Since it was just a quick couple of hours away, we thought it would be a safe first vacation with new baby in tow.

A couple of days before we were to leave, I received this email from Thatmom:

Hello my loved ones,

Next weekend we are dining at Zins in palm springs for dinner on Friday eve, then having breakfast at Cheeky's the next day. On New Years eve, we will cook indoors at the Time Share and if okay with you, I have assignments for dinner.

Thatbrother will do the appetizer (caprese is fine)
UDubb will do a small salad
Thatboy will pick out the wine
Thatgirl will prepare the filet mignon
Thatmom will do the side dishes
Thatbaby will do the desert.

Everyone had a job to do. And it worked out really well for the most part. I ended up making some baked potatoes to go with the filets, and UDubb and Thatbrother ended up bringing the wine. Really Thatboy was the only one who got out of doing anything. Even Thatbaby got in on the action, taking his duty of dessert very seriously.

Because my mocha walnut cake had been such a hit, he thought he should try a Fannie Farmer cake also. He chose a velvet cake - so called because of "velvet texture." The recipe was unlike anything I'd ever seen. It called for 1/2 a cup of cornstarch and 4 tsp of baking powder. And it called for beating the egg whites until stiff before folding them into the batter. I figured the cake would probably float away! Or explode.

I'll have to do some Alton Brown research on those ingredients, but I can tell you that they made this cake perfectly light, crumbly, and buttery. (Well the butter probably made it buttery.) With a simple boiled chocolate frosting, this cake is classic and simple, but a sure fire winner. Thatboy thinks it's the best homemade cake he's ever had. Which I'm sure is partly due to Thatbaby's loving hand in it's creation.

One tip - on New Year's Eve we cut the cake cold from the fridge. It was alright. It wasn't until the next night when we took it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature that it really shone. So make sure you let it come to room temp before serving.

Velvet Cake (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1/4 lb butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 8-inch cake pans with baking spray. Cream the butter in an electric mixture.
  2. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.
  4. Beat in 1/2 cup of cold water.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in stages and mix thoroughly.
  6. Beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Stir a third of the whites into the batter.
  7. Fold in the remaining whites and spread the batter into the pans. Bake for about 25 minutes. Coll in pans for 5 minutes before turning onto racks. Cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Butter Frosting
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 lb butter
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  1. Boil the sugar and 1/4 cup water until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F.
  2. While the sugar syrup is cooking, beat the egg yolk well. Pour the syrup over the egg, beating constantly.
  3. Beat in the butter until it's incorporated.
  4. Mix in the melted chocolate and continue to beat until the frosting is of spreading consistency.


  1. Thatbaby is a natural in the kitchen!

  2. Do I see a budding food blogger in the making??

  3. Thatbaby is getting so big and cuter by the minute. Yummy cake.

  4. Cutie is going to take over the kitchen.

  5. That cake looks really interesting. And I love seeing the handsome thatbaby's face