Sunday 15 February 2015

Love is in the air.....Celebrating Valentine's Day with the classic Red Velvet Cake

Love not me for comely grace,
For my pleasing eye or face,
Nor for any outward part:
No, nor for a constant heart!
For these may fail or turn to ill:
Should thou and I sever.

Keep, therefore, a true woman's eye,
And love me still, but know not why!
So hast thou the same reason still
To dote upon me ever
                                       - John Wilbye

Celebrating love is such a beautiful feeling and Valentine's Day makes it the perfect time to express our love to your family, friends and someone you love in the most special way. February 14 is known as Valentine's Day, Saint Valentine's Day or the feast of Saint Valentine and is celebrated in every corner of the globe. Come February and a million ways to express your love are almost pushed into your face- heart shaped balloons, heart shaped chocolates, flowers, cards, special valentine menus at restaurants all trying to seduce you in toasting your love for that 'special someone' in the most unique way. 
Some of us also see this day as majorly overrated, overpriced and over-hyped - a money making propaganda by most business institutions trying to cash in on peoples sentiments and commercializing the concept of love. Its no wonder that V-Day brings with it unattainable expectations.
Valentines day sure can feel lame if you surround yourself with these feelings. I agree with most people that why need a special day to express your love- shouldn't it happen every day?
Then on the other hand, I feel why not go with the flow. There is nothing wrong in celebrating a day of love, pampering and spoiling your loved one making them feel special. Wouldn't you yourself liked to be pampered and spoiled silly by someone? And if it is done everyday for you then would the emotions not become too mundane and you will soon start taking things for granted? 
Then why not have that one special day set aside to express your feelings?  And as for showing your love, you need not burn a big hole in your pocket by doing something really fancy and spending too much money. You can keep it simple by just spending some time together, cook his/hers favorite dish, go for a beautiful drive, see a favorite movie at home together, laugh together.....I think there are a million things you can have fun doing together. We were lucky as this year V Day was on a Saturday and everyone was home.To add to the charm, it was a beautiful sunny day, the perfect day to just laze out in the sun and that's just what all of us did!!
I think as we age we become too cynical and hard hearted and start being too judgmental about every small things(and that sadly includes me too).
Its about time to 'shake our sillies', loosen up a bit and start taking pleasure in small things surrounding us. Life is too short to start holding grudges, who knows what lies ahead in your next step. So move on ahead with a big smile and grab every opportunity you can to make beautiful memories in your life.
My Red Velvet Cake celebrates all the good things in life that I hold close to my heart and are more precious than anything in my life - my family and my friends. Cheers!! 
21/2 cup flour
1 cup vegetable oil
11/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp red food color
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
11/2 cup buttermilk
11/2 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp red liquid food color
1 tsp white vinegar
For the icing
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 tbsp(1 stick) unsalted butter,room temperature, cut into pieces
1 up confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp milk
For Decoration
Sliced strawberries (optional)
Heat oven to 350 F. 
In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
In another bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.
Using a mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Pour the mixture into a prepared pan.
Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edges of the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate and re-invert it into a cooling tack, Let cool completely.
Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Whisk with a hand beater till it becomes soft and creamy. Gradually add butter and continue to beat till smooth and well blended, Sift in confectioners sugar and continue beating till smooth
Add vanilla essence stir to combine.
If the icing seems too thick, add more milk a little at a time until icing reaches desired consistency.
Once the cake is completely cooled, ice it with the cream cheese frosting. Decorate with sliced strawberries if desired. 
Now it is time to sit back, relax and enjoy the day with your loved ones!!