Thursday, May 13, 2021

Life & Style

Looking Forward to Being With Family

I have not seen my son, daughter-in-law, and their three grown daughters since Thanksgiving of 2019. I missed another Thanksgiving, Christmases, Greek Easters, and many birthdays.

But Sydney, my second oldest granddaughter, will celebrate her March 16 birthday with her the rest of her immediate family and me in Newburyport, Massachusetts. I will bring dinner, probably pasta Bolognese, a big salad, lots of garlic bread, and dessert. That dessert will be red velvet cake.

The day Sydney was born, we drove from Old Lyme to the hospital in Beverly, Massachusetts. I had been eating clementines. When I held her in my arms, she fewer than 24 hours old, she sucked my orange-scented finger. From that day, I was hers forever. Maybe I will take her a bottle of Grand Marnier!

Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at

Red Velvet Cake

Adapted from The Confetti Cakes Cookbook

by Elisa Strauss (Harper Row, New York, 2007)

Yield: serves at least 12


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter each pan, line bottoms with parchment, then butter parchment. Set aside.



3 ½ cups cake flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)

1 ½ teaspoons salt

2 cups canola oil

2 ¼ cups sugar

3 large eggs (I also have used extra-large, which work just fine)

6 tablespoons red food color (3 ounces!)

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

1 ¼ cups buttermilk

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 and ½ teaspoons white vinegar



Whisk cake flour, cocoa, and salt in a bowl. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat a medium-speed until well blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food color (be careful, it can splatter). Add vanilla. Add flour mix alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.

Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar, and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds. Divide batter among pans, place in oven, and bake until cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes, then remove from pans, flip layers over, and peel parchment. Cool completely.

To make cupcakes instead: Use cooking spray to muffin cups (or use cupcake liners), add batter, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick.

Red Velvet Cake Icing

Adapted from The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook

by John Doherty with John Harrison (Bulfinch, 2006)



2 cups heavy cream, cold

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

(reduced-fat is fine)

8 ounces mascarpone

(available in most supermarkets

in the fancy cheese section)

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted





Softly whip cream by hand in electric mixer. Cover in bowl and refrigerate.

Blend cream cheese and mascarpone in bowl of stand mixer or in large bowl with electric hand mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, pulse briefly, and add confectioners’ sugar. Blend well. Fold in whipped cream. Refrigerate until needed. Yields enough icing for top and slice of three-layer cake.

Place first layer cake on wide plate. Place pieces of waxed paper under each quadrant, about 2 or 3 inches in. Place lots of icing on top of layer and spread about ½ inch from the end. Add second layer and do that again. Place the top layer on top and frost the entire cake around the sides. Add lots more to the top and spread. (I had enough left over for one one-layer cake). Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Lee White is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Lee at .

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