• 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon whipping or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend with your families! On Friday I was invited by my friend Sharon to hear Yellowood Group CEO, Olalah Njenga, speak about leadership. Highly respected, Olalah’s story is inspiring.

I was so happy when Olalah shared with me that she would be sharing with us something much deeper and purposeful than just marketing strategies. Now THIS was my kind of luncheon — I could tell that I was about to glean something wonderful. There I sat ready to listen to Olalah as she shared Lipstick and Leadership: 10 Ways To Change The World.

In a nutshell Olalah shared 10 ways to shine. Make a choice to impact one neighbor, one nation, one person or one planet. In light of the loss of Nelson Mandela this speech was certainly a timely one.

1. START something

2. GIVE something

3. SAY something

4. INFLUENCE something

5. MAKE something

6. SHARE something

7. STOP something

8. DO something

9. BUILD something

10. CELEBRATE something

The examples Olalah gave were simple but very meaningful. They were things we can all do and on a daily basis. Her suggestions ranged from helping to stop bullying, speaking to the person sitting alone in the back of a room of people, starting a fundraiser, not engaging in gossip, to sharing a sandwich with a homeless person.

Having just welcomed a new daughter to our family (my son Nathaniel recently married his best friend) I have been thanking God for the blessings of Amanda and her family.

I decided right then and there that we would be “celebrating” our new extended family with a special dinner of chicken pastry, skillet cornbread and this amazing red velvet cake… and so that’s what we did on Saturday!

The “F” stood for FAMILY!


I can’t blame Mike for being funny while taking a family photo around the dinner table. He is used to getting his photo taken with almost every meal.

We also enjoyed a fun evening of charades! We haven’t laughed that hard in a while!

I love this girl!

Here’s how we made the yummy red velvet cake thanks to JoyofBaking.com. I adapted the recipe just a bit and suggest using my whipped frosting! It was delicious!

Begin by baking your cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter two – 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.Or you can choose to make pretty cupckaes like I did a few weeks later:

In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside. In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the batter. Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight). (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)

Whipped Frosting: While your cake is cooling, make your whipped frosting. I promise that this will become your most favorite frosting!

Use an electric mixer. This frosting is very easy, but it does take several minutes to whip up.

Cream the butter and sugar for two minutes. Scrape down bowl and mix additional two minutes until light and fluffy.

Reduce to medium speed and gradually beat in 1/4 cup of cream. Continue beating for 1 minute.

Mix 1/2 teaspoon vanilla into 1/4 cup of cream. Gradually beat in to frosting.

Increase mixer to med/high speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Reduce to medium speed and add remaining cream, and beat until very fluffy for 15 minutes.

So now it’s your turn! What meal will you make to celebrate your family?