Half a Velvety Red Cake
The batter was quite thin and there seemed much less of it than he'd thought there should be. And come to think of it, there was very little leavening and a LOT of chemical food coloring and oil. Though it was purported to be a chocolate cake, there was very little cocoa in the recipe ...
He didn't have time to bake the cake again, much less chase down the fraudster who sold him this ridiculous recipe! Leia would be here in a few minutes!
In fact, she was here NOW, she was early! He mumbled to himself, wondering why some people had the discourtesy to be early for dates all the time ... but what could he do about this cake? He couldn't bear her laughter or scorn at this flat effort.
As she got closer to home and not taking the time to think, Han cut the cake in half ... and stacked one half over the other, to create half a cake, four layers high! He had to admit it did look like velvet, and the contrast of the dark red cake with the white icing was really beautiful. He carefully turned it and moved it toward the wall so Leia wouldn't perceive that there was only HALF a cake on that fancy footed cakeplate. It wouldn't do to have her thinking he'd eaten half the cake before she got there.
And Leia did comment that this was JUST like the cake made once at the palace on the chef's nights off. It was apparently made just once by some rogue kitchen worker, who knew nothing about baking cake and had used oil instead of butter to construct the cake, and just kind of lumped everything together. Leia graciously admitted that though she'd had this recipe only once before, she liked this version simply because no one else did, so there was always plenty for her. And the cream cheese icing was the best part! "But it does seem a bit taller than I remember ... did you stack this into four layers? I don't think I could eat a whole cake ... maybe half of one ..."
Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar till it lightens and becomes fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating them in well into the butter mixture. In another bowl, make a paste of the cocoa powder, food coloring, and vanilla. Blend into the butter mixture.
Sift together the flour and salt. Add a third of it to the butter mixture, and when that's blended in, add a third of the buttermilk and beat that in well. Continue to alternate the flour and buttermilk until it's all in the flour.
In a small bowl, quickly combine the baking soda and vinegar, and mix that into the cake batter. Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake until a skewer placed in the center of the cake comes out crumbly / clean.
Cool the cakes on a rack until it's at room temperature, then unmold. Fill and frost the cake layers, stacking the layers, then covering the whole cake. Serves 8 to 10.
To make the version Han did, instead of the butter, use 1½ cups oil. Beat together all the wet ingredients, sift together all the dry ingredients, then dump them together. You probably won't like it.
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