Red Velvet Cake
Cake, it’s a good thing in this world.
It’s a hallmark of celebratory times. It comes in many flavors, colors, and sizes. There are now more ways to bake a cake than there are ways to cook shrimp. I feel like the character, Bubba in Forrest Gump, just trying to name all of the flavors. It has now become a work of art for many bakers.
And of course, it tastes good.
If you don’t like cake, you are part of the problem.
I recently wrote a post about being distracted and ironically I found myself distracted. Funny how that works, right? I taught myself a lesson without even realizing it. Actually, God probably had a hand in that.
I was distraught and distracted by the very thing I said to not get caught up in.
Honestly, it’s kind of hard not to get caught up in something when it’s all over the news and it’s running rampant through your social feed.
It’s hard not to get distracted by the bad things and forget about the good things.
When I get distraught and distracted, I’ve learned to turn my focus on the one sure thing – Jesus Christ. So, I started praying. I wanted to think about something good. I wanted to write about something good.
Like, really good.
Because we could all use some good right now.
Before the Amen even rolled off my lips, I heard the word “cake”. But not just any cake, Red Velvet cake. I smiled at the very thought of it.
I don’t even like red velvet cake.
I like Italian Cream and White Wedding cake. A really good fudgy chocolate cake makes me drool just thinking about it. Then there’s something called a Cannoli Cake. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried Cannoli Cake. Lemon and Strawberry cake, Blueberry – you name it. Coconut is an all-time fav of mine.
I like when they mix chocolate and white too. They call that one Marble Cake.
I’m trying to sound like Bubba here and I’m also trying to make you really crave some cake.
But, I really don’t like Red Velvet Cake. And I have a sweet tooth like no other. It’s inherited.
A woman, named Ms. Jesse ruined it for me.
Ms. Jesse made the best scratch Red Velvet Cake that has ever graced the tip of my tongue. I mean it was like being filled with the Holy Spirit with each bite. And it has been probably twenty-five years since I’ve had a piece of that manna from heaven.
It had the creamiest cream cheese frosting that would get a slight crust on the top culminating the perfect consistency and texture. She sprinkled just the right amount of walnut halves on top of the cake and in the batter. The cake itself was the perfect combination between spongy and not too spongy.
If that even makes any sense.
It was just that good! She would win every bake-off show there is on TV today. Hands-down.
Nowadays, I politely take a bite if I’m offered Red Velvet cake and I pass the rest to my husband or friend – whoever is around. They never tasted Ms. Jesse’s cake so they wouldn’t understand. The only thing good that comes out of looking or taking a single bite of subpar Red Velvet cake, is I immediately picture Ms. Jesse.
To know Ms. Jesse, you’d have to know that she was friends with my Mom. They reminded me of the characters of Bubba and Forrest Gump. They worked together. Not in the Jungle fighting in a war like in the movie. But they saw each other pretty much every week day in the basement of a public library in downtown.
And they had built a really good friendship.
Ms. Jesse was an older African American lady and my Mom does not have the same skin color. But they were friends nevertheless. Ms. Jesse liked my Mom so much, she’d bring her in baked goodies on Mondays. They were left over from baking every Sunday morning for her church. That’s how I got to taste the slice of heaven.
I remember thinking I’d like to go to a church like that. We didn’t have baked goodies every Sunday, unless you count the stale bread as croissants.
I imagined my introduction as I opened the doors to Ms. Jesse’s predominately African American church. I’m sure everyone would turn their heads when the tall, pale-skinned girl with freckles walked in.
I’d say, “I’m here for Jesus Christ. And Ms. Jesse’s Red Velvet cake.”
They’d open their arms and say, “Welcome Sister.”
The rest would be history.
See, my Momma had a big sweet tooth and Ms. Jesse had a big heart. I remember visiting with her in the library when I’d come to see my Mom on occasion. We’d chat about things. And being the precocious adolescent that I was, I slyly mentioned I hadn’t had any of the delicious cake lately.
It turns our Ms. Jesse had indeed been bringing my Mom a slice or two. It just hadn’t been making it home. Ms. Jesse had a little talk with my Momma and the next Monday, things were in order again.
Ms. Jesse and my Momma -- they were the same. I never saw any difference. And my Mom never had to sit me down to talk about “things”. Like the kind of “things” being witnessed today. Those “things” were around then too. Of course, they were. Probably worse.
There were history books and newspapers for that. Yes, I said newsPAPERS. Don’t age me.
But those two ladies showed me what it looked like to put the “things” away and just love each other.
They were writing a new history book for the next generation.
At least the ones who wanted to study.
And they both knew experiential learning and loving -- is the best THING.