red hot velvet {life}

Cal asked for Red Velvet Cake for his birthday, but I wanted to do something a little different. Lately, when I'm on the hunt for a recipe, my first stop is Food52 as a jumping off point. Apparently my cookbook collection is on a shelf that's too high to reach.

I originally bypassed this particular recipe when I was scrolling through the few that they had available because the picture didn't blow me away. Ha! That's pretty funny, isn't it? Photos make all the difference, don't they? But the name of the cake was so intriguing. Red Hot Red Velvet Cake. I finally took a second look.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. Featuring chipotle powder, cayenne and cinnamon, this Red Velvet Cake has just the right amount of heat to balance out the sweetness. The result is a cake that first warms in your mouth before the fluffy icing cools it. Pretty much perfection. I tend to worry when trying unusual flavor profiles like like; I'm not an accomplished enough baker to know if a teaspoon is enough or would a tablespoon be better. And more likely than not, I'm disappointed in the end result. This time I was not disappointed. Sweet heat cake, followed by cool and light frosting. We'll definitely be doing this again.

So. I know I'm meant to be recapping the summer that really wasn't around here, but in honor of my friend Jon, who loves Red Velvet Cake and whose birthday was yesterday, and to answer all the calls for the recipe when I posted my first pictures of it, I thought I'd share it here with you.

Because I followed the recipes pretty much exactly, I won't write them out here, but Red Hot Red Velvet Cake can be found here, courtesy Food52. I wanted something super light for the frosting so I chose what Alicia at Posie Gets Cozy calls Cloudburst Frosting (scroll down for the frosting). It's also called Butter Roux Frosting or Ermine Frosting. My only recommendation is to maybe double the frosting recipe. I would have liked more for this three-layer cake.

Happy birthday to all my birthday buddies. May your year be equally spicy and sweet.

weekend lookback, fifteenth birthday edition

My baby (!) turned 15 this weekend. Can. Not. Believe. The Phillies were playing in DC (a short 3 hour drive from us, as opposed to the 5ish it takes to get to a game in Philadelphia), so we spend his birthday at his happy place: the ball park. We try as much as we can to give experiences more than things, (although, let's face it, I like things too) and while this post is not meant to be a lecture about consumerism and whatnot (and trust me, we consumed plenty in this experience), I can't say enough how wonderful it was to roll out of bed early with no other intent than to spend the day with the goal of pure enjoyment and being together as a family.

That was good. On the drive up, Cal was asking us about his birth and our reactions to his arrival. It's been a long time since we've recounted that story (Don't worry, I won't do it here.), and even now after all these years, the thing that stands out to me is the way he turned his head to look at me as if to say, "Oh yeah. There you are." Fifteen years later, coming out of school, crossing the street, standing rows apart at the ball park, countless other times throughout the days and years, I can still see that look on his face.

"Oh yeah. There you are."

My dearest son. Where would I be without you?