Red velvet is one of my husband’s favorite cakes ever, so when it came time to make his birthday cake I didn’t even really have to ask what flavor cake he wanted. But I had two different box mixes in the cabinet (chocolate and red velvet), so I did ask, anyway. That’s right. I said box mix. I’m all about saving time where I can, and I don’t think there’s any shame in that – especially when you’re a busy wife and mother of two little girls.
The girls begged for the chocolate. They don’t understand that red velvet is just a chocolate cake made with red food coloring. Even when I explained that to them, they acted like they didn’t believe it. Red cake just can’t be chocolate – at least, I’m sure that’s how it must seem when you’re seven and five years old.
Since I still didn’t have a new oven at the time, I knew I was going to have to try to bake the cake in the microwave, but I wasn’t too concerned about that. I’d baked several other things successfully in the microwave. This would probably turn out just as well.
I didn’t have any store-bought frosting on hand because my kids are cake frosting monsters. They have been known to raid my baking supply cabinet during the middle of the night and take out the tubs of frosting and chocolate chips and chow down. What I find particularly interesting is that, instead of throwing away the evidence, they’ll put the empty containers BACK where they got them. So Mommy still thinks she has plenty of frosting when, in fact, she doesn’t have any in the house. Life with children is anything but boring.
I made the cake batter according to the package directions (which, for me, was add 1 cup of water, 3 eggs, and 1/3 cup oil to the cake mix and stir together). My older daughter even got into the cake making with me by breaking the eggs, pouring in the water and oil, and stirring the batter until it was smooth and no longer lumpy. I did take over the stirring at one point when the thick batter got a little too tough for her to deal with, but she did an excellent job on her own.
We baked the cake according to my handy, dandy microwave baking guide.
First, I greased a Pyrex baking dish and poured the batter into the dish (the seven-year-old helped with this process a bit too) Then, I covered this with wax paper. I put it in the microwave on Medium-High Power (Level 7), but it wasn’t quite done on the top (there was still a lot of liquid batter) so I put it back in for another 4 minutes at the same power level. That didn’t look like it did quite enough, so I put it in for another 4 minutes and reduced the power level to 6. That did the trick. So, basically, you bake the cake on Power Level 7 for 11 minutes and Power Level 6 for 4 minutes, and you have a wonderfully fluffy cake!
While the cake was cooling (wait at least 15 minutes for this – the icing was ready before the cake cooled), I prepared the icing. You’ll find the amazing recipe below.
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Measure out the confectioners sugar into a medium-sized bowl.
- Pour in the milk and vanilla, and stir together slightly.
- Add the coriander and cinnamon, and whip the icing mixture for about a minute or two, until the mixture is creamy but thick enough for icing a cake.
- Adjust the amounts of milk and sugar as necessary (if mixture is too thick or too runny, respectively).
I’m not exaggerating when I call this icing “amazing!” (not much, anyway). Even the seven-year-old pronounced it to be “The best EVER!”
The thing I love most about this icing recipe is its versatility. I mean, it would be completely delicious on just about any flavor of cake. I think I’m going to try it next on that chocolate cake mix that’s still in the cabinet. My husband’s birthday cake disappeared less than 24 hours after I made it. It’s time to make another!