The Feng Shui of Baking a Cake

23 Aug

Dear Zoe,

You remember that look you gave me over skype the other day, when I told you I was learning about feng shui?  Well, get over yourself.  And just to annoy you further, here is a post about a cake I made, analyzed using feng shui principles.

xoxo, The Dark Turtle (Emma)

Ok, this post isn’t really about feng shui.  But it is about the color red, and I will mention that I mad this cake in the part of my kitchen that represents fame & reputation, which is associated with this very color.  I’d like to think that making this cake was a chi cure for my aspirations as of late, but that has yet to be proven successful.

Seeing red.

For my papa’s birthday, I usually bake a pie (let’s face it–we are just not cake folk).  But having just unpacked my brand-new-shiny-red KitchenAid mixer, I was dying to use it.  I figure a cake would make better use of a mixer than a pie–so off I went in search of a fun new recipe.  When looking for recipes for this blog, I often feel like I’m cheating if I re-post a recipe from another web source–I mean, I’m not adding anything new to the blogosphere, right?  So I thought I would go rifling through my mom’s recipe box, which is old and shabby, and contains many gnarly (some also smelly) index cards.  Lo and behold, I thought I found the perfect thing: a hand-written recipe for “Waldorf Cake”.  This thing looked like a document from a secret society…except for the food stains and my mother’s notes about gas mileage scrawled in one corner.  My mom told me it was the original recipe for Red Velvet cake made at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, and that she got the recipe from a friend, who got it from a friend, who got it from a friend…it turns out that this is indeed the story–however, you can also easily find the same story and recipe by doing a simple google search.  So much for putting something original into the world.  Regardless, I was game.  I’d never made a red velvet cake, and it sounded like just the thing to whip up in my new red KitchenAid.  Needless to say, I had my share of fun with the color red in making this cake–please beware that everything you touch in the process will be stained with red food coloring.  If you can arrange to do this while in the West part of your house or kitchen, it may even improve your chi.

Isn't red food coloring a carcinogen?

Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake

1-1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter or shortening

2 eggs

2 oz. red food coloring

1 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. salt

1 c. buttermilk

2-1/4 c. flour

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. vinegar

For Cake:  Cream shortening, sugar and eggs.  Make a paste of food coloring and cocoa.  Add to creamed mixture.  Add buttermilk alternating with flour and salt. Add vanilla.  Add soda to vinegar, and blend into the batter.  Pour into 3 or 4 greased and floured 8″ cake pans.  Bake at 350°F for 24-30 minutes.

Ready for the oven!


1 c. water

3 heaping Tbsp. flour

1 c. sugar

1 c. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

Shredded Coconut

For Frosting:  Add water to flour slowly, avoiding lumps.  Cook flour and water until very thick, stirring constantly.  Cool completely.  Cream sugar, butter and vanilla until fluffy.  Add to cooked mixture.  Beat, high speed, until very fluffy.  Add coconut.

Rainbow sprinkles optional.


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