I have learned Red Velvet Cake is a tradition in many families. My mother was an exceptional home cook and her red cake was something I looked forward to, it was always my birthday cake. I loved its moist layers and incredible icing. She only made it a few times a year and I think that made it even more special. My mom’s actual recipe card says Waldorf-Astoria Cake. Even though the hotel in New York helped make the dessert famous it is actually widely considered a southern recipe.
When I met and later married my sweet husband I became a part of another family. My husband’s Aunt Carol was also an excellent cook, she had lots of specialties and I am so grateful she taught me how to prepare what became some of my family’s favorite meals. I never liked macaroni and cheese until I ate hers and her spaghetti sauce is legendary in our family. Red cake was another of her delectable treats and one she always made for Christmas. We usually gathered at my mother in-laws (another extraordinary cook) on Christmas Eve and sometimes Aunt Carol would arrive with her red cake still warm, oh my, delicious.
Food can gather people together, offer comfort and even strengthen memories. Thinking back over the years I really can’t tell you what birthday or Christmas gifts I received but I can close my eyes and see, smell and taste the red cakes my mom and Aunt Carol baked with love.
Carol’s daughters, Janell and Christi, and her sister, Luetta (Jane) have worked to keep the red cake tradition alive. These three special ladies organized a December gathering. It began as a small group and grows every year. Lots of delicious food is involved with a beautiful buffet. Charity and her daughter Grace are making their choices.
Kara’s two adorable little girls were being assisted by their Aunt Kate .
Aunt Courtney helped Gabriel fill his plate and get him settled at a table. Grace and Kinsey (sweet cousins) ate their lunch together.
Kate’s daughter, Carson, brought her friend Hope , both beautiful girls.
The guys gathered in the living room near the television .
I should mention we all enjoyed Christi and Jane’s new home. It is really beautiful and has a gorgeous very large kitchen, perfect for gathering. An added bonus was the Christmas décor, Christi had worked hard to fill the house with holiday cheer.
The new house had plenty of space for families to enjoy their meal, Glen, Kate’s husband, Jackson, Kate’s son and Carson. Charity and her oldest bonus son, Tyler. Courtney and her husband Roy. Janell and her husband Don. Charity and her husband, Mike. Kara and her husband, Joe .
Jake and his Aunt Jane .
I regret I didn’t get a photo of Kate and Glen together. I was snapping these pics and forgot to ask someone to take one of Mike and I. No matter how many images you capture there is always something or someone you miss. I fully intended to take photos of the beautiful red cakes, one made by Christi and Jane and another baked by Janell, they were both delicious and I apologize for my ineptness as a photographer.
Gabriel loved getting to know his big cousin (his words), Carson. She was patient with a five-year old little cousin and helped him with a game
Grace is always willing to have her photo taken with her big brother, Tyler .
My dearest husband, Mike, had a great time entertaining and being entertained by little Avery, Kara and Joe’s youngest daughter.. I couldn’t stop snapping these two sweet sisters, Avery and Reese, both are incredibly photogenic .
Avery was such a happy girl, just can’t get over this face .
I loved this photo of Kara and Avery. Their very natural pose so reminded me of thirty plus years ago when I would hold my son, Jake. He always sucked his left thumb and twirled my hair with his right hand.
Grabbed one picture of Mike with granddaughter, Kinsey .
Kate and her Aunt Christi paused briefly for this photo .
I also took a few staged photos, beginning with Aunt Jane and a few of her great great nephews and nieces .
Then Aunt Jane and some of her great nieces and nephews. .
The last photo taken was to prove I was actually present .
I think Aunt Carol would be proud of the group that gathered and happy that we continue to make memories together. Red cake is a perfect combination of cocoa, sugar, flour, buttermilk, oil, eggs, vinegar, baking soda, salt, vanilla and red food coloring but Red Cake Day is a mix of families and hearts intent on keeping traditions alive.