Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lil and Will's Engagement Cake!

A few weeks ago, I had a really rough 14-hour day at work.  When I came home, my boyfriend was trying to cheer me up, and he knew just how to do it.  "Hannah, guess what!  Lilly and Will got engaged!"  My response, jumping up and down and slightly screeching, "what?!  Really?  No way!  OHMYGOD!"  His attempt to cheer me up worked.  I LOVE everything having to do with weddings and engagements and love in general.  Finding out that my housemate from the summer and her boyfriend were going to be involved in those categories of things made me even happier.


"Lil and Will," as we affectionately call them, are essentially one of the cutest couples I've ever seen.  They have so much fun together, and they represent a lot of what I want in my romantic life.  The fact that they are now engaged gives me hope for my own future.  When Lilly's sister (also a former housemate and now dear friend) said she was throwing them an engagement party, I immediately called making the cake.  Not only would it be my first engagement cake, but it was also a way for me to show two people in love how much they are loved.



Red Velvet Cake filled w/ Chocolate Coconut Ganache, topped w/ Vanilla Buttercream
Cake recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Yield: 1 double-layer 8" cake

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup milk (I used almond milk, as usual)
2 1oz bottles red food coloring (I tried to get away with using only one, but it didn't look red at all)
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 tsps white vinegar

Ingredients
In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients
Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients,  and mix together all at once until smooth
Line the bottom of 2 8" cake pans with parchment paper, then grease the sides and dust them with cocoa powder.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
Bake at 350°F for 30-33 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10-15 minutes
Remove from pans to finish cooling completely
Shave tops of cakes with a long, serrated knife so that they are flat and even
Dairy-Free Chocolate Coconut Ganache Filling


Ingredients
8oz semi-sweet chocolate (non-dairy)
1/2 cup coconut milk

Directions:
Melt chocolate over a double boiler.  Remove from heat and stir in coconut milk.  Cool in refrigerator for 15 minutes.  Whip on high speed until it becomes fluffy (about 5 minutes).


I was super skeptical of this ganache, but I needed to use up the coconut milk, and the last time I filled a cake with ganache, it was essentially a layer of hard chocolate in the middle of the cake.  I figured the coconut milk would make it softer.  And it did!  It was still a little stiff, but for a vegan frosting/ganache,  it's awesome.
It's a little stiff to frost, but if you spread it with a warm knife (dip it in hot water), it's a little easier
Assembly
Fill cake with ganache, leaving an inch of space from the edge, then gently press the other layer on top.
Classic Vanilla Buttercream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs milk (optional: use if frosting is too thick)

Spread evenly across cake, starting on the top and then working your way down the sides
To smooth the base frosting, dip frosting spatula (or unserrated butter knife) in warm water
Make an additional batch of buttercream and then add food coloring to decorate as desired.  I prefer Wilton Icing Colors but I didn't have any, (*hint* my birthday is next week...), so I used regular food coloring.

The final product:

Wil and Lilly met through baseball, so I thought I would incorporate that into the cake.  Little did I know, Will actually proposed by putting the ring in a baseball cut in half!


The happy couple! 
So for red velvet, it wasn't super red, but it kind of got the point across.  Also- check out the amazing ganache!

Thank you guys so much for granting me the honor of making your engagement cake!
So many congratulations, Lilly and Will!  Best wishes for the future!  I love you both!  And if you need someone to bake the wedding cake... :)

Love and cookies,

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