13 December 2006

self portrait #40 (red velvet cake)

every year, I bake a red velvet cake for my birthday. I use a recipe my mom used for years and then passed on to me. I wear a lovely old apron that once belonged to my favorite great aunt. I love that apron.

gorgeous red

I love the part where I get to lick the batter.

the recipe

I love that the recipe card is torn and taped back together, yellowed and stained with cake batter from my ten years of using it. the cookbook that the cake recipe came from, the one my mom used (and continues to use) has been coverless for at least twenty years and is in even worse shape than my recipe card. I love that. and I love that old cookbook.

adding the buttermilk

I love the gorgeous shade of the batter, that it takes two whole bottles of red food coloring to get that bright red color. I'm pretty sure that much red food coloring can't be good for you. actually, you don't really need two whole bottles of red food coloring. you could get away with just one but I only make this cake once a year and I am not messing around.

yum

I love that ava now participates in this yearly ritual with me and will one day bake the cake for herself. or her family. or me.

happy birthday to me

I love that my birthday cake looks like it's on fire. I earned every last one of those candles, yes I did.

so good

it took me ten years to get this cake right. the first one I made was ridiculously flat, the frosting sad and lumpy. I ate it anyway. ward did too. but I kept on baking it year after year, no matter how flat it turned out or how strange it tasted. now it's a little bit of heaven. every december 11th. I love that.

(the entire red velvet cake-baking process is here and more red self portraits are here)

35 comments:

  1. I loooove it! My annual birthday cake is fudge ribbon, but after a few decades of that, I'm thinking of switching up -- you can almost read the recipe off of the picture of that old card. Happy birthday.

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  2. i love every last crumb of this post!

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  3. Such wonderful colour everywhere! I really enjoyed the set on Flickr. I bet that gorgeous cake won't last long!

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  4. Happy birthday, lady. I meant to say so before, but this way you get to keep having your birthday for a few more days. This is a beautiful post. (Also tasty.)

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  5. Thank you for making your birthday as good as having my own.

    I love red velvet cake, and my vision is good enough that I can read the recipe off the screen...

    Happiest Birthday!

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  6. beautiful! i love the picture of you and your littles, so much happiness :)
    the red batter looks divine, as does the end results!

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  7. i'm a batter lover too...more so even than the finished product. the RED here is just too loverly...now i wanna make one of these garrish beauties..think i may try my hand at it SOON! happy beLATEd birthday, andrea! :)

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  8. It looks yummy. I make my Grandma's recipe for Red Velvet Cake, it's a lot of work, and the kitchen is splattered with red afterwards, but it's worth it. Do you put homemade buttercream frosting on it?
    Happy Birthday :)

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  9. a very happy birthday to you andrea! thinking of you, celebrating life and love!!!take care.

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  10. i LOVE this red post! so perfect. and the photo of you with the kids, cake and candles is so beautiful.

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  11. i love red velvet cake! hope you had a good birthday. :)

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  12. oh girly, this is a delicious post, every last crumb! happy birthday again my friend. xoxo

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  13. I love red velvet cake. Great pictures!

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  14. is that your handwriting on the recipe card?! it's fabulous!

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  15. wow, i truly loved this post.....what a beautiful cake and ritual...the red everywhere was amazing....hope you had a lovely birthday....

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  16. Wow i really like your pictures. The color accent (intentional or no) is absolutely amazing.
    I hope you had a happy birthday, but I'm pretty sure you did anyway. :)

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  17. Great post and great pictures! I love the first one of you with your great aunt's apron - it IS beautiful! And all the shades of red are luscious. . .

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  18. oh man! and meridith says it so well! happy birthday to you andrea!

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  19. Happy Birthday to you. You have established a regenerative ritual that honors you. You are definitely Following your bliss.

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  20. i love this series! yum, yum, yum!

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  21. is it that time again????

    happy happy birthday sweet dear andrea! [sorry i was late to this]

    you still owe me a RVC!

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  22. I looove this post, it was so nice to read about your birthday cake ritual. And your red self-portrait is gorgeous! Happy birthday... (a bit late)

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  23. happy happy birthday to you to you to you!

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  24. Yum! I have just one of these same snowflake plates. happy b-day!!!

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  25. Amazing; the story, the photos, the strong tradition you keep alive. I am in AWE.

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  26. Happy birthday, Lil Mama. Every single millimeter of these photos brings me warmth and joy. You deserve everything you wished for on those candles. Wish big.

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  27. happy late birthday, same day as my little girl. :)

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  28. i think i've found new inspiration wrapped up in a little blog... happy birthday.. merry christmas.. and thanks for spreading some joy!

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  29. What a great photo and yummy cake to boot!

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  30. Please oh please, can you move your thumb over, just a bit. (How much shortening?)
    Barbara

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  31. Oooh, post the recipe please!! I've never known how to make this cake, but love it!

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  32. I also celebrate my birthday each December 24th with a red velvet cake, but haven't yet had to bake one myself. My mother, then my aunt, and now my daughter take care of the cake. Our family tradition is to frost the cake with German chocolate cake Coconut Pecan Filling, ummm!

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  33. Can't wait to try!!! I am on a red velvet cake hunt!

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