Nick, Julie Anne, and Tatjana Rhodes

Tatjana will shoot me for calling her a birthday “girl”, but I have a hard time believing twenty-four years have flown by so quickly! The Rip Van Winkle effect strikes again…

Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes
I still go looking for my little blondie at the airport every time she flies home, then a momentary shock hits me when the grown-up version comes walking through the arrivals hall. Just like her father, I’m never quite sure what color her hair will be? She likes to surprise me.

Julie Anne and Tatjana Rhodes

Tatjana Lee Orchid Rhodes,

You are my favorite person on the planet, let alone my favorite birthday girl. You are a kind, compassionate, creative, hard working, fun loving young woman today; but you will always be my little girl.
I wish I could be there with you today. Happy birthday and many happy, healthy returns of the day.

I love you,

Mum xo

PS. Here is the recipe for your favorite Waldorf Blue Velvet Cake. Hope your dad will help you make it.

Waldorf Astoria’s (Blue) Red Velvet Cake



For the cake:
1/2 cup Crisco
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 ounces red food color
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the icing:
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla


For cake:
1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 – 9″ cake pans, or 3 – 8″ cake pans.

2). Cream together Crisco and sugar in a large mixing bowl with electric beater, then and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.

3). Mix red food color and cocoa in small bowl, and add to mixture in #2.

4). Mix salt into buttermilk; then add to mixture #2 alternately with flour. Using the fold setting on the beaters, end with flour.

5). Add vanilla, soda, and vinegar (in that order). Beat 2-3 minutes after everything is added.

6). Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake layers comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto cake racks to cool. Cool completely.

For icing:

7). Add flour to a large saucepan, then add milk gradually , stirring until smoothly blended. Cook milk and flour over medium heat until thickened to the consistency of oatmeal. Cool completely before continuing on.

8). Beat room temperature butter and sugar for 15 minutes, using a timer, until butter becomes pale yellow. Add vanilla, then fold the cooled flour-milk mixture into the butter cream icing.

9). Spread just enough icing over bottom layer(s) to secure next layer on top, then ice entire cake and decorate as you please.

TIP: You can substitute any color you like for the red…my daughter’s favorite color was blue, so she always had a Blue Velvet Cake for her birthday.


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