HAPPY BIRTHDAY TATJANA! It’s mind boggling to me that my baby is now a quarter of a century old! After almost as many hours of travel as years old she is (the Rhodes’ family version of candles on a cake) – we are finally soaking up the rays and downing the mango juices on an exotic beach in another hemisphere.
Thinking about it, Tatjana has probably clocked more air miles than most considering her first transatlantic flight happened at the ripe old age of four weeks old when she became the youngest person ever to travel from London to New York on Concord.
Toronto – 1st birthday
Most of her early childhood was spent on tour - including her first birthday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Yasmin LeBon and I stayed up most of the night before decorating the hotel suite and making sandwiches. Thankfully, David Bowie and Simon LeBon were there to sing Happy Birthday since mom is tone deaf, and dad is not a lot better at singing.
Of course dual citizenship has added to that mileage balance considerably as well. Many birthdays were celebrated more than once – with one in America (usually at my parent’s lake house), and a second one back in London with her English family and friends. I’m BIG on birthday celebrations.
Including her thirteenth birthday in Clear Lake, Iowa where Tatjana and her friends took over an entire hair salon for make-overs, and her sixteenth in Las Vegas taking in the shows, and gawping at the gaudy.
And then there is the travel lust for seeing the world she inherited from her mother. Every chance we get to explore a new locale, is seized with excitement. It is hard to forget a milestone when it was spent tracking
lions in Africa or the perfect silver ring in Mexico (did I mention she also inherited the shopping gene too)?
Birthdays abroad have definitely become a tradition, as have celebratory hotel rooms, with increasingly more sophisticated versions of your Waldorf Red (or blue) Cake.
I love you Taj, and wish you many more happy, healthy returns of returns of the day filled with adventure.
WALDORF ASTORIA 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
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE ICING
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
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.
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.
You can substitute any color you like for the red…my daughter’s favorite color was blue, so she always had a Blue Velvet (one of her father’s favorite films) Cake for her birthday.