Always Use Your Leftovers

This dessert might look to you like a huge red velvet whoopie pie, but it’s actually the leftovers from a red velvet cake I made.

I’ve mentioned several times now that I am Chinese and was raised with very strong convictions about the wasting of food.  In our house, it just didn’t happen.  The only thing that was allowed to be thrown out from our dinner table were bones and fish skulls, with all the meat eaten off of course.

I take this same discipline of frugality to my baking.



This is the cake from my red velvet cake to-go post.



These are the tops that were lopped off of the cakes.

I love my cake layer cutter (on the left).  Cuts the cakes nice and evenly.



With a bit of leftover cream cheese frosting, I was able to make a dessert for my family that night.

This also served as a great distraction, because my kids were salivating over the cake I made and of course couldn’t have because it was for a friend’s birthday.  This leftover creation kept them at bay long enough for me to slip the cake out of the room undetected.

Red Velvet Cake to-go

This is the story about a birthday cake…..

at an outdoor campsite…..

late at night…..

under a glaring flashlight…..

perched precariously on top of a cooler.

This is how a lovely red velvet cake lived the last few minutes of its life!

As you can tell from the photo, I wasn’t too worried about the resolution and composition of this shot.  It was pretty much…..”Take the picture so we can eat it already!”

The only disappointing thing about this cake is that I did not do it justice in the photo.  I can’t complain about any other part of it.  I made it for some friends’ birthdays which we celebrated on a camping trip last year and it was divine!  It was a fun juxtaposition to enjoy a regal-looking cake on a tent-camping trip.



Here’s my lovely red batter.  I love watching this color transformation.



One layer baked and leveled.



Can’t have red velvet without the cream cheese frosting, right?



The first layer meets its other half.



In the isolation booth and ready for the reveal at the campsite.

If you think that the cake is too difficult to make, you might find my red velvet cupcake version a bit easier.


Red Velvet Cake


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.

Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside.

Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together really good with another wire whisk.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.

Pour into cake pans and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups confectioners’ sugar

Sift sugar and set aside.

Beat cream cheese and butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla.

Then, add the sugar in batches. Scrape down the sides in between each addition.

And frost away.


Red Velvet Cupcakes

If you always thought that a red velvet cupcake was just a chocolate cupcake with red food coloring, I’m right there with you. I just learned the difference this year.  It took me a while to understand that red velvet really does have a distinct taste of its own. There is some cocoa powder in here, but not enough to call it a chocolate cupcake.

I think the flavor really comes from the smooth cream cheese frosting.  The sour tang from the cheese combined with the sweet cake is just to die for!  The name Sprinknolia pays homage to both Sprinkles of Beverly Hills and Magnolia Bakery of New York and their famed cupcakes.  Now, it’s famous in my house!

Sprinknolia’s Red Velvet Cupcakes


3½ cups flour
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tbsp (3 oz) red food coloring
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ tsp salt
1½ cups buttermilk
1½ tsp cider vinegar
1½ tsp baking soda

12 ounces cold cream cheese
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, firm but not cold
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds (6 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour 2 cupcake pans (24 cupcakes).

To make the batter: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and bake the cupcakes, switching positions of the pans halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before icing. To ice, mound about ¼ cup of frosting on top of each cupcake and use an icing spatula to make a swirl on top. If desired, decorate with colored sprinkles.

Combine butter, salt, and cream cheese in mixer and beat on medium speed 2-3 minutes.
Add sugar until just incorporated. Don’t over mix. It should be thick but not fluffy.
Add vanilla. If necessary, add milk to thin.