I had never tasted or even heard of red velvet cake until Oprah started to rant and rave about it. In her February 2007 issue of “O” magazine, Red Velvet Cake – baked by Carousel Cakes – made Oprah’s list of favorite things. Carousel Cakes, in Nanuet, New York, is a bakery that I knew of from the years I had lived in Rockland County. So, with all of the publicity and positive associations, I knew I had to try some. And, once I did, I understood all of the fuss. Yum!
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I never was into baking when I was a kid. I don’t know why, but it just wasn’t my thing. Although my mother baked occasionally, I have very fond, vivid memories of my father baking. He started when I was in high school; his specialties included challah bread, pecan pie, and chocolate cookies spiked with Grand Marnier, Crème de Menthe, or Kahlua. I loved watching him and didn’t mind helping him clean up, though I never felt compelled to participate in the actual baking process. But eating his goodies…Yum!
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During my first year of marriage, I lived in upstate New York. My husband and I went apple picking that fall and I decided to bake my very first apple pie. I spent all day peeling apples, rolling out the dough for the crust, and ended up making the best apple pie I had ever tasted. Yum! However, when my second attempt failed dismally, I never tried to bake anything again.
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When my daughter was about three or four years old, she was uncharacteristically moody when I picked her up from day care one afternoon. She demanded to know why I never baked chocolate chip cookies at home. I told her that chocolate chip cookies were only one type of cookie. I explained that, by buying cookies at the grocery store, there were many more options to choose from – like Oreos, graham crackers, and vanilla wafers – which couldn’t be baked at home. As we got home, she had accepted my explanation and we sat down to enjoy some Oreos and milk. Yum!
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My son’s girlfriend of six years, whom he met in high school, is a fabulous baker. While my personal favorites are her brownies, the entire family – immediate and extended – look forward to any opportunities to sample her treats. Yum!
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To celebrate my son’s return home from his freshman year of college, I decided to try my hand at baking again. This decision was a big deal for me. After all, I didn’t even own any cake pans. So, I went shopping and, while strolling down the baking aisle at Kroger, I knew which cake I wanted to bake. Betty Crocker herself compelled me to try my hand at baking a Red Velvet cake!
It was a touch-and-go process, but the cake stood proudly on the kitchen counter when my son and his girlfriend arrived home that evening. After the sharing of oohs and ahs, the cake was served. With raised eyebrows and surprised eyes, I received lovely compliments on how moist and yummy my cake tasted. Then, with sincere curiosity, my potential future-daughter-in-law asked, “So, how did you get the cake red?” A bit confused, I replied, “When I ripped open the package and poured it into the mixing bowl it already was red.” “What?!” she exclaimed, “You made a cake from a mix?” Even more confused – and a bit annoyed – I asked, “How else do you make a cake?” Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!
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I swear that I will never bake anything again. Ever! Now, you may think I’m being immature, am over-reacting, or am being unnecessarily defensive. Maybe I am. Is that so wrong? Isn’t it okay to suck at something? I don’t like baking and I never will. I’m not good at it and don’t want to learn to be. Can’t I just enjoy buying and eating yummy desserts from stores and restaurants? Yes, I can!
But, I’ll never eat Red Velvet cake again…unless Jennie bakes it for me…
2 thoughts on “Red Velvet Cake”
Baking is a therapeutic task that allows one to demonstrate creativity, patience and love. It also tends to add pounds so that there is more of me to love. Don’t worry, this year on Thanksgiving, I’ll bring cookies, pecan pie and maybe some challah. That is, if i am invited.
Thanks for bringing back pleasant memories.
Lol. I’m appalled! Cake from a mix? Next thing you’ll be telling us that you make pancakes, mac&cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and chicken soup from a mix!