My Southern Red Velvet Cake 


In the South, Red Velvet is your go to party cake, right there with Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake.  (We'll talk about that one later on). What's not to love with its shocking red moist interior and its sweet cream cheese icing (yes, it's icing, not frosting - Remember the saying, "icing on the cake?")  It truly is unforgettable.    

In recent years, the Red Velvet has extended its velvety goodness out of South and across the United States.  When my husband turned 40, we had a pig roast in the back yard of our home here in Colorado.  He requested his birthday cake to be Red Velvet.  Being 9 months pregnant and having all his family sleeping in every square inch of the house, and it raining, I opted to head to the bakery for his requested Red Velvet cake. The bakeries here had never heard of Red Velvet.  I promptly provided them the recipe that I used growing up.  So a few birthdays and a few kids later, we're still making My Southern Red Velvet Cake for special holidays.  Here's the traditional recipe - the only one I ever use.  Don't freak out over the red food coloring.  You don't eat it every day, so go ahead and splurge.  It's Valentine's Day after all.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour your pan(s)

8 oz stick of softened butter (I love Kerrygold)
2 C Sugar
2 Eggs
3 TBSP of Unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
2 TBSP Vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 TBSP White Vinegar
1 1/4 C of buttermilk
1 3/4 C of all purpose flour (or cake flour)
Big pinch of salt

Red food coloring (I like to use the gel in the jar.  For this dark red color, I used a whole 1 oz. jar of "No Taste" red icing coloring that I bought at Michael's).  The color combined with the Hershey's Special Dark gives the cake a really rich, dark red.

Mix the sugar and butter together with a hand or stand mixer until combined.  Add the eggs one at a time. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the cocoa powder, vanilla, baking soda, vinegar and salt.  Mix until combined.  Alternate adding a little of the flour and a little of the buttermilk until it's all mixed in.  Now it's time for the red.  This is the best part, aside from eating it.  I love to watch the red swirls blend into the batter and turn it into this vibrant eye-catching color.

Divide your batter equally among whichever pans you choose.  It will be thick.  I use my handy-dandy ice cream scoop to divide the batter.  For this festive Valentine cake, I used 5 heart shaped pans (Wilton heart pans purchased at Michael's. These heart shaped pans cooked for 18 minutes.  Let cool, pop them out and apply the icing.  Icing recipe below:


8 oz. block of softened cream cheese
8 ozs. butter softened (Again, I love Kerrygold)
1 lb bag of powdered sugar

Milk or water to thin as needed - Remember that it needs to be thick enough to stay on your cake, but not so thick that it won't spread.

I love icing.  Buttercream is my favorite, but this is a really close second.  If you're a fan like me and cake is only there as a means to eat icing without using your fingers, you may want to double the recipe.  Go ahead and experiment.  Have fun.  Add your own twist to make it your own.  Enjoy!



Great Food With a Southern Accent!


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Go-To-Family-Approved-Best-Ever Banana Bread


Bananas…I can’t say a whole lot about them. They’re good when you’ve been exercising or have leg cramps.   I’ll eat them when they are really yellow.  No green.  No black.  And I’ll eat banana-flavored pudding.  Hey, I’m from the South.  It’s a staple.  (I’ll share Southern Banana Pudding Recipe soon), but that is the extent of bananas for me, personally.  However, I do live with some little monkeys that love all things banana.  And since most people do, I think it’s great to have an absolutely delicious go-to quick bread recipe (Quick breads are bread loaf recipes that don’t have yeast.  They are called quick because you don’t have to wait for the yeast to rise). 

Since I had some bananas past their prime and a friend who brought me dinner when we were sick, I decided to make a loaf of banana bread to put in her container before I returned it to her.  My southern manners won’t allow me to return empty dishes when they were brought to you with a meal.   The banana bread turned out great, and before I could get it cooled, wrapped and delivered to my friend, someone, who will remain nameless, was standing over the stove hacking into the loaf, “to make sure it wasn’t poisonous.”  
So, here it is a few days later as I’ve been patiently waiting on the bananas on the counter to turn brown/black so that I could make banana bread.  The browner/blacker they are the better.  If they aren’t moldy, they are good to go.  They make the best bread.   I’m also trying to waste less food, (http://www.savethefood.com), be creative with leftovers and not let the freezer become a black hole.  It’s hard. I will not lie.  No matter how well our week is planned out, things get crazy, no time to cook and the next thing I know that chicken has been thawed out too long and goes straight into the trash or compost bin.

So here’s my go-to, family-approved-best-ever banana bread recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as everyone in my household does!  My recipe doesn’t have nuts.  We already have plenty around here ;)

1 C Granulated White Sugar
¼ C Brown Sugar
½ C Softened Kerrygold butter
2 Large eggs
3 – 4 Large really brown/black bananas
Big Pinch of Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 TBSP Vanilla
1 ½ C of Bluebird flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bread pan or muffin tin with Kerrygold butter or Pam Cooking Spray (or cupcake liners if you’re making muffins).  With a stand mixer on medium speed, beat both white and brown sugars together with the softened butter.  Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time until well blended.   Toss in your bananas, pinch of salt, vanilla and baking soda.  Using the “stir” setting on your mixer, reduce speed and add flour just until mixed.  Scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl blending in any ingredients that are sitting on the bottom or sides of the bowl.  Pour the mixture into the greased bread pan or muffin tin.  Here at my house it takes 50 minutes to bake a loaf of bread.  You can plan on the better part of an hour depending on where you live and your oven.

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