Warning: Spoilers everywhere!
The Red Wedding
Season 3, episode 9: The Rains of Castamere
It's February 2019 and Valentine's Day is fast approaching, the day where we all take moment to celebrate love, passion and romance. But this is Game of Thrones and here love can get a teeny bit complicated - let's take for example the infamous Red Wedding, not named for the red of wine and roses, oh no. And if you happen to be King in the North Robb Stark, relationships are especially complicated - with love and desire on one side and on the other, betrayal, death and revenge. A brutal lesson for House Stark in the form of the Red Wedding.
This Valentine's Day we remember (the north remembers!) the devastating consequences of Robb Stark's personal love story with a recipe for 'Red Wedding' cakes - mini molten red velvet cakes, a beautiful little dessert cake hiding a dark surprise. Those wedding guests might have really enjoyed these little treats, had they not been so severely interrupted. So rude.
Velvet cakes date back to the 1800s, made with soft flour for a more tender, 'velvety' texture, but the modern version of red velvet cake seems to go back to the 1920's in America. Some trace its popularity to the South, where it remains an extremely popular and traditional cake, while the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City claims to have originated the recipe. But one thing is clear, a modern trend in recent years has made red velvet cakes the go-to trend of the last decade and red velvet cakes are everywhere - some rather good and many, terrible and cloyingly sweet.
But it's Valentine's Day and easy to fall in love with this version of red velvet with a tender, chocolatey crumb, not too sweet and a slight tang from both the buttermilk and apple cider vinegar, based on the traditional southern take on red velvet cake. It is a perfect foil for the rich dark chocolate sauce hiding in the center. Finished with a light dusting of powdered sugar for the snowy north of House Stark (Winter Is Coming) and we have a perfect little dessert dedicated to one of the most horrific events in Game of Thrones. When you cut into this cake, still warm from the oven, and that dark chocolate sauce pools slowly and dramatically onto your plate, you may swear you can hear the tragic strains of The Rains of Castamere in the air. On second thought, maybe you shouldn't dwell too hard on the Red Wedding during your romantic dinner.
But go ahead, give these cakes a try, it's easier than you imagine. This recipe makes 4 delectable little cakes, perfect for 2 happy couples or for a more intimate affair, makes 2 extra for practicing. This cake is a passionate love letter, romantic, intense and full of drama - it may even get you what you want. But be mindful of the consequences, and remember Robb Stark and the Red Wedding.
Happy Valentine's Day.
Red Velvet 'Wedding' Cakes
makes 4 servings
1. Prepare the Sauce: Combine chopped semisweet chocolate and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 30 seconds. Let stand 1 minute; add drops of red food coloring for desired color (I used 2 drops), whisk until melted and smooth. Place plastic wrap directly on chocolate mixture (to prevent a skin from forming); chill until firm, about 2 hours. Chocolate mixture can be prepared 1 day in advance; store, covered, in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 385°F. Grease 4 (8-ounce) ramekins with butter; dust with unsweetened cocoa, and tap out excess. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together melted butter, granulated sugar, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar, and egg yolk in a separate bowl. Add butter mixture to flour mixture, and whisk just until blended. Divide 1/2 the batter evenly among prepared ramekins.
3. Using a small (1 1/4- or 1 1/2-inch) cookie scoop, portion chilled chocolate mixture into 4 balls. Place 1 chocolate ball in center of batter in each ramekin pressing lightly and add remaining batter until each ball is completely covered. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until center springs back when lightly pressed, but still presents a bit of a wobble, about 15-18 minutes. Watch very closely, as the cakes can burn quickly.
4. Remove cakes from oven. Immediately run an offset spatula or thin knife around outer edge of cakes to loosen; invert each red velvet cake onto a serving plate. Dust cakes evenly with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.