Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

THE Birthday Cake

When we first first married
And I was learning my way around the kitchen
Husband Jim mentioned to me this cake
This cake that he loved

Now, I'm not sure why a teacher brought a cake to school,
but they did
And Jim loved it so much that he asked for the recipe

And although I've never asked
I think it was in high school that he first had a taste of


I'm sure at the time it must have been a new recipe
But his mother did make it for him

And he declared that his favorite cake!

Then I married him
And the red velvet cake story became lore

So I asked for the recipe
Which his fourteen year old sister provided

Two ounces, the recipe said, two ounces of red food coloring
I was sure that must be wrong
(In her fourteen year old wisdom she had wrote ounces instead of drops)
for I had only bought food coloring in the multipacks
For tinting cake frosting and make Easter egg dye

So I put in two drops
It was a light pink
So I added more
Still pink

Then I put in all of that small bottle
Still pink!

That first cake
was not 
red velvet
pink velvet!

But it tasted good

And when we next saw Sister (and Mom) we asked about it
Yep, Mom said, you had to buy a whole bottle of red food coloring
And that bottle was two ounces!

I bought the bottle, made another cake
And Husband Jim realized one of the reasons he married me
I can cook!

From that very first "pink" velvet cake
To the latest "red" velvet one
We've always made on for Jim's birthday
It's a tradition!
(As much so as the Halloween Chili or Sarah's birthday lasagna!)

The cake in all it's pre candle glory!

Love the layers of red and white!

 A glorious red!

And ablaze with candles
For the birthday boy!

I've made a few changes in the recipe over the years --
The original one called for Crisco as the frosting fat as does the cake itself
I now use real butter

What was an obscure little cake recipe for so many years
Has all of a sudden become a very popular cake
Often seen on restaurant menus!

It's a good cake
And over the years, we've made it a Christmas cake
Tinting half of the frosting red 
And half of the frosting green
So that when you cut into it, it was red and green and white!

The cake has gotten so popular that they now make a cake mix version
And different colors, even, besides red
(I think I saw a box of blue velvet the last time I went to the super market)

Jim's Red Velvet Cake

1 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 t. cocoa
2 ounces red food coloring
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 t. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vinegar

Preheat oven to 350.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the shortening, eggs and sugar. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa and food coloring. Add the paste to the shortening mixture. Sift the flour and salt together. Add to the batter alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions. Add the vanilla extract. Fold in the baking soda and vinegar. Pour the batter into 2 greased 9 inch cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack.


1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extracts. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

To assemble cake. Put one layer on cake plate, put frosting on top. Place second layer on top. Frost top and sides of cake.


Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Yes, it takes a lot of food coloring, but oh so yummy!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Lucky Jim! And Lucky and talented you! I've never made this cake, but perhaps I will try now!