Red Velvet Cake Bars
What do you guys do with leftover cake scraps or stale cake? I know most people like to nibble on it (I'm in that club) but I was trying to think of more inventive ways to use the pieces. I hate wasting any bit of my food especially with all the statistics of the amount of people who go hungry and the amount of food that generally goes to waste in the world.
For cake scraps, I've always found cake pops or balls are often the most crowd-pleasing way to go. But lately, I've been in the mood for something different. I also already did cake balls fairly recently and they're rather time-consuming.
A month ago, I made way too many red velvet cupcakes for a friend's proposal. Since there were only a few of us meeting to celebrate, I didn't want to bring too much, so I stored the remaining cupcakes in a Ziploc and froze them away for another time.
I surfed the interwebz and was inspired by random message boards and articles to try this. What if I dried out the cake crumbs and they turned into the consistency of a cookie or a cracker? Could that then be mixed with some butter and be combined into a base for something like cheesecake or mousse? Would that even taste good?
When I dried out the crumbs and came home all excited with a bag full of something that looked like dirt, Joe looked warily at the bag... and then stuck his hand in to scoop some out.
"Hey! This is surprisingly really good!" were his first words.
(I'm not sure what he was expecting, since it's basically like eating a red velvet cookie...)
So I guess one of your options could be to just stop there and nosh on crumbs, if you like crunchy things.
The first time I tried to make the bars, however, I failed miserably. Of course, Joe swears I'm wrong. He was so mad that I wanted to throw away the first batch because I thought I had ruined them. Although the crumbs dried out perfectly, I melted way too much butter in them so it was difficult to discern any other taste. I also over baked it in the oven so every bite had a slight burnt aftertaste.
On my second try, I cut down considerably on the butter (you can always add more to your own taste) and baked it for less time. I figured, the baking is only necessary to crisp-ify the crust some more and stabilize it for the filling, something I should have probably researched better the first time.
The results? Amazing. The cookie base still retains that lovely hint of a bit of a cocoa along with richness from the butter. The filling melts in your mouth and is very fluffy and tangy, and is also what I used as frosting for the cupcakes.
I wanted to make something where the filling did not require any baking, so that I wouldn't have to bother with a water bath and all that jazz. The sprinkles on top add just a bit of an extra kick of chocolate, although cinnamon would be just as delicious.
These were devoured much faster than I expected, and most people had no idea it was a red velvet cake they were eating, just in cookie bar form! I found myself nibbling on some edge pieces for days as well.
So next time you have cake scraps or cupcakes lying around, try something other than cake balls. You'll be opening yourself up to a whole new level of sweetness.
Red Velvet Cake Bars
Makes about 1 8x8 pan
Cake "Sand" Base
8 ounces red velvet cake (about 4-5 cupcakes, or any cake scraps you may have)
2 ounces butter
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Crumble cake into tiny pieces and spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for about 15 minutes at a time, rotating the pan if necessary, and touching the crumbs to see if they're dried out.
Once the crumbs are dry to your touch, it's ready!
Remove from oven and let cool.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Toss all the crumbs (which should be hard) into a food processor and add the butter.
Pulverize until it combines into a paste. You may want to add more butter according to preference (more buttery taste, or more paste-like).
Spray an 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray (or put parchment paper on it) and press the base into it until it's completely covered and flat.
Bake for about 8 minutes, then remove and let cool completely before spreading filling on top.
Adapted from here
1 8oz packet cream cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla or extract of your choice
Beat the cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks, then add the whipped cream into the cheese mixture and quickly and briefly beat to combine.
Do not over beat.
Spread over the cooled cake base and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before consuming.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Chocolate sprinkles on top!