I hit the half century mark this year. Gasp, shock, horror! Yes I just revealed my real age…

I mention it because…I belong to the Andy Warhol school of thought when it comes to age…I’d rather be honest and hope people say “she looks great for her age” then lie, and have them think the opposite!

I also happen to love cake, and I scored FOUR this particular birthday! First my Mom took my sister, Patty, and I to celebrate at Vibrato…my favorite jazz dinner club here in LA…great music and superb food!
My friend and fellow personal chef, Karla Billdt (pictured above with the perfect birthday card next to the Andy Warhol’s Wicked Witch of the West) brought “Jewels” a jewel box cake…

Then my dear friend Normandie Keith…always the consummate hostess down to every last minute detail…threw a birthday luncheon for me, and made sure my daughter was part of the celebrations (even if she was stuck in London working hard on a film for school)…

…and far be it from Normandie to exclude my dog, Daisy!

But my heart will always belong to just one….

The Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake

Serves: 12


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 (one of her father’s favorite films) Cake for her birthday.
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