If you want to say Merry Christmas from Nashville, you do it with red velvet cake. If you want to acknowledge the birthday that is Christmas, you do it with Red Velvet Cake. And, if you want to throw in a three-year blog anniversary, you not only do Red Velvet cake, you get the best recipe in town from the Desserts From the famous Loveless Cafe The Loveless Cafe is an icon in Nashville, known for biscuits and home cooking.
This recipe is perfection. It’s moist, yet substantial and exactly the color of red that it needs to be. I think the secret is using only dark brown sugar. The frosting is a fluffy cream cheese, and I adapted it slightly but only slightly.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas and all that comes with it.
The shopping. The wish lists. The traffic. The relatives. The memories, good and bad. The EMOTIONAL intensity. The decorations going up.
The DECORATIONS coming down. The lights. THE COLORS of red and green.
The new Christmas color, BLUE. The joy.
The TOYS. The traveling. The money spent. The money we wish we had to spend. The money we receive. The gift cards. The re-gifting. The dirty Santa exchange. The parties. Dogs with antlers. The cocktails. The hangovers.
THE RUSH TO Fed ex two days before Christmas. The family portrait Christmas cards that no one knows what to do with the day after Christmas. The awe of AMAZON.
Cookie exchanges. SNOW. Christmas Pajamas. Men’s underwear and SOCKS WRAPPED UP pretty and placed under a tree. Stockings with names.
BATTERIES needed for everything. Candlelight services. TREES with no leaves. Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Scotch tape. Ladders. Sprinkles. RED nail polish.
Red VELVET CAKE. Cookie cutters. Bedtime Stories.
CHRISTMAS HUNTING (what we do: going out to see what kids would like to have and then write Santa a letter).
HANDEL’S MESSIAH. Bells. Bows. Bonuses. Santa. RUDOLPH. Short days. Short Bank Balances. It’s a Wonderful Life. Collapsing GINGERBREAD houses. Collapsing. Togetherness.
FAMILY. Loneliness. Drama. Butter Tarts. Hot BUTTERED Rum. Food. Recipes. More food. FOOD BLOGGING friends. Baby Jesus. Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas.
PARADES. Atheist rights. Christian church services. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Winter Solstice. Midnight Mass.
FAITH, Love, Hope, Charity. PRAYERS. Miracles.
And, what do I think of all this?
I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT BECAUSE even the most cynical person gets a softer heart at this time of year. And, our hearts could all use a little softening. It’s the reason for the season.
He came to help us ALL out of the mess we are in. We get hurt, and our hearts harden. When we look at a child and their willingness to believe in Santa, in goodness, in their parents, in the God their children pray to.
We see in their eyes, the trust that love will show itself wrapped in bows under a tree, and we can stop and remember we are meant to have a pliable heart that holds onto hope and breathes out JOY and LOVE.
That is not always the story, because life can harden a heart with hurt. Jesus came to help our HEARTS, to bring us back to childhood innocence, to bring us back to believe in what we cannot see, to have HOPE in what we cannot understand, and to recognize our heart needs something we can not give it without help.
THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS comes from a softened heart. The generosity demonstrated by money given to charities or anonymously to needy families isn’t limited to Christian believers celebrating the birth of Christ. The spirit of the Christmas reaches out to people of many faiths even to those of no faith in anything. I am not disappointed by this or surprised. I am joyful that this season still softens the heart.
I am joyful that in the bigger picture of this world, most people want to do good, want to help others and want to make the world a better place. Even when we get wrapped up in commercialism, there is a something inside of us that ignites and shines a LIGHTt. I believe this is the light of Christ.
Others may believe something else. Whatever you choose to believe, my hope is that you feel it and you know that it comes from something special and you are not the author of that special, but you are welcome to more.
One of the ways the spirit of Christmas hits our home is with FOOD. The time spent in the kitchen together, cooking, baking, eating is the way love is shown. Many goodies get wrapped up and sent off to friends and family along with love and Christmas spirit.
Food is essential to the soul of our household, a binder to relationship and spending time together.
SPINACH TIGER also celebrates a birthday today. I hope that you glean the spirit behind this blog. It’s not so much about culinary success as it is about the stories behind the food, making a house a home and striking back at a culture that builds smaller kitchens and bigger cars.
My dream would be to reverse those. That reminds me.. I forgot to add DREAMS to the list.
Recipe for Red Velvet Cake. Please go to this post for two kinds of cream cheese frosting.
Gluten Free Version. You can make this cake Gluten Free by Doubling this Gluten Free Cupcake Recipe.
- 2½ cups cake flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons liquid red food color
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2½ sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks (room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon distilled white or cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Plan on baking 2 layer cakes 35 to 40 minutes. I made mini cakes (six inch layer cakes) and baked for 20 minutes. These instructions are for a free-standing mixer. You can use an electric beater also. Prepare baking pans by butter sides and using wax paper or parchment for bottom of pan. If you want red velvet crumbs, bake a cupcake or use the cake that you carve off the layers.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa. Set aside.
- Line up vanilla, and cider vinegar in small bowls. Set aside.
- Mix red food color into buttermilk. Set aside.
- Beat butter until very smooth and fluffy. Add in sugar. Cream until completely incorporated.
- Add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing each 45 seconds.
- Add in ⅓ flour mixture and ⅓ buttermilk mixture. Repeat until finished, ending with flour mixture.
- Add in vanilla. Add in vinegar. Mix and pour into baking pans.
- Bake until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake. Check five minutes before time is up.Cool completely before removing from pans. I place cakes in freezer for 5-10 minutes before applying frosting. I do a crumb coating. Place back in freezer for a few minutes and then frost with this cream cheese frosting.
- Crumble the cupcake or cake you shaved from the layers for the top. (optional)