The South Plains Fair is back in all its glory. A few hours there is enough to last you for a year until it returns. The freaks of the town come out of the woodwork for it, and that includes me. They even shipped Eddie Money in for a pretty pathetic concert. I don't ever want to get old or listen to his songs again.
The typical assortment of fair foods is available, with nothing too shocking to report. The hit of the state fair, Deep Fried Butter, hasn't made it west to Lubbock yet. The only new vendor I saw was the frozen chocolate banana stand, which I fully expected to see the Bluths manning.
As usual, my focus was on the women's building and the culinary competition. This year proved to have no shortage of cake wrecks. I was completely befuddled by a Best of Show decorated cake that had strange blue smears on top and Goldfish pressed into the sides and by the cake with off-center pecans and crumbs scattered on top.
But what do I know? I delivered my Red Velvet Cake entry with pride, saw another red velvet cake already in the display case, and snickered at it. It's not really fair for me to enter. How could I lose? My cake is twice as big and much better looking. Well, if you can't tell from the picture below, the cake that I laughed at got a blue ribbon, and mine, a red.
I wish the judges had to give me feedback on why my cake came in second. I think I should challenge the winner, Theresa, to a Throwdown. She's probably a very nice person, but when it comes to baking, the gloves (cooking mitts?) come off! I think I could take her.
My undefeated fair run is over, but I guess when you think about it, red is really the best color ribbon to award to a Red Velvet Cake.
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
from Cook's Country - Serves 12
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food coloring
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
16 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
preparation1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs in large measuring cup. Mix cocoa with food coloring in small bowl until a smooth paste forms.
2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add one-third of flour mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add half of buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl as necessary and repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and finally remaining flour mixture. Scrape down bowl, add cocoa mixture, and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, give batter final stir. Scrape into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
3. For the frosting: With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
4. When cakes are cooled, spread about 2 cups frosting on one cake layer. Top with second cake layer and spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.