If Red Had a Flavor

Red velvet is one of those cakes that has always been a mystery to me.  I’ve never been able to pinpoint the flavor.  It just tastes…like RED.

There are some colors that you just KNOW what the flavor is.  “Tastes like blue” obviously means blue raspberry.  Purple tastes like grape.  Orange tastes like, well, orange.  But red has so many options that it could be almost anything – cherry, strawberry, hot cinnamon.  The possibilities are endless.

So when I made a red velvet cake yesterday for a friend’s birthday, of course the question came up:  what exactly is red velvet supposed to taste like?

A Birthday Surprise

There is a lady at my gym who takes very good care of the rest of us.  She invites us into her home for weekly Bible study and cooks dinner for us every time.  She’s a great cheerleader during workouts.  She prays for us throughout the week.

So when we found out it was her birthday this weekend, without question, our crew knew we had to throw a party for the lady who takes care of us like we’re her own family.

One of the other girls took charge of arranging the festivities.  I volunteered to bake the cake.  I asked the other girl to find out what Birthday Girl’s favorite was, secretly hoping it’d be something easy, like chocolate.  The answer came back as “red velvet with cream cheese frosting.”  Great…the hardest cake EVER.

Always up for a challenge, I took to the internet to find a good recipe.  I searched the usual suspects first, but nothing on Betty Crocker, Food Network, or All Recipes really caught my eye.  So I turned to the food blogs and quickly came across Sally’s Baking Addiction’s red velvet cake recipe.  I had used some of her recipes before and they were delicious, so I knew the cake would be a win as long as I managed not to dork it up.

Fingers crossed.

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A Labor of Love

I saw a t-shirt recently that stated, “If I like you, I will bake for you.”  This describes me perfectly.  For years, I have used baked goods both to make friends and to show my friends how much I care about them.

For instance, when I first started shooting 3-gun matches, I didn’t know anybody, so I brought cookies to share, because everybody wants to talk to the girl with the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.  Instant conversation starter!  I bake cookies every Christmas for all the coaches at my CrossFit gym.  This has become quite the tradition and the coaches look forward to it every year.  I once baked a cake to celebrate a significant win our team had at work.

I’m pretty sure baking is my love language.

There is something about homemade baked goods that can never be achieved by something bought at the store.  They make you feel loved, cared for, like you belong.  Like you are family.

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What Red Tastes Like

The birthday party went off without a hitch.  Birthday Girl was adorably surprised.  The cake was delicious, and as expected, we debated at length about the flavor of the red velvet.

Some said vanilla.  Some believed it was chocolate.  Some drooled over the butter.

I think we were all wrong, though.

Red velvet doesn’t taste like vanilla.  It doesn’t taste like chocolate, and it doesn’t taste like butter.  (Ok yes, it totally tastes like delicious butter.)

Red velvet doesn’t taste like any of those.

It tastes like family.


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