Wednesday, November 23, 2011

And We're Back!

While it seems I may have taken quite the hiatus from baking and blogging, I have an honest to goodness excuse...I got married! For those of you that have ever planned a wedding, I know you understand where I'm coming from. Everything seems to take way more time than you expected and cost way more than you expected, too. But despite the hours upon hours of planning (with a few sprinkles of freak-outs here and there), I am happy to say that everything turned out wonderfully! While all of the decisions along the way, like which dress to buy, venue to book, etc, were all important to make, the best and most important decision of all was whom I chose to marry. My husband is such an amazing man and I feel so blessed to be able to spend the rest of my life with him.

While I ultimately decided against baking all of the desserts for my dessert table (pictured below), I was able to find a bakery here in Atlanta called the Atlanta Cupcake Factory that met my rather high expectations and made some adorable and tasty cupcakes. I chose four different flavors to go along with our Vintage Southern theme including key lime pie, strawberry lemonade, sweet potato bourbon and of velvet. Then I had them displayed on some vintage pieces I'd collected along the way. They were a hit - so much so that my groom and I weren't even able to try one! Apparently when you have several different flavors, it makes people want to try one of each. I'm wondering if this is why people do a cake cutting ceremony, so they are certain to have a piece of their own cake? The rest of our food was pretty fabulous too. We had mini pulled-pork sliders, green beans wrapped in bacon, BLT stuffed Campari tomatoes (yes more bacon), and other yummy Southern fare, courtesy of our caterer Beyond Details.

We had such an amazing time, and now that the dust has settled a bit, I am going to start dedicating more time to my baking (and blogging). However, since I've had a recent obsession with chocolate salted caramel, I may be infusing some posts of the non-red velvet variety. I hope that is cool with all of you folks! Stay tuned for some holiday inspired posts, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

If you are remotely interested, you can find some more of our wedding photos by Andrew Thomas Lee here, or you can check out our wedding trailer by Rodinis Films below.

Christina + Gabe from Ryan Rodinis on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Have Your Red Velvet and Drink it Too!

When I first decided to blog about red velvet, many people said I was crazy. "How on earth can you just blog about red velvet?" they asked. "Won't that get a little repetitive, and well, boring?"

Little did they know this lesser known cake that fell out of favor in the 1970's due to the Red No. 2 food dye scare, would come back with a vengeance -- making its way into our favorite recipes, and subsequently, into our hearts.

To all of the naysayers, I present to you a red velvet cocktail shot. Yes, the cake we both know and love has now made its way into liquid form, to be consumed and enjoyed in 1oz doses. I think its safe to say that once a drink has been named after something, that it is officially mainstream.

I'm not sure if a drink can possibly taste like red velvet, but its worth a shot (pun intended). You can find the recipe here.

Oh, and just for good measure I think the shot should be enjoyed in one of these.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

To Bake, or Not to Bake (And an Anthropologie Giveaway)

I'm obsessed with this color right now.
As many of you probably know from my earlier posts, I recently got engaged and am in full planning mode. Planning a wedding is no easy task, especially when you are on a tight budget. My fiance and I have been trying to find ways to cut costs, and also to make the wedding reflective of who we are as a couple.

So recently I've been toying with the idea of baking for my own wedding. But not just the obvious red velvet cake. I'm thinking a whole dessert table chock full of red-velvety goodness. Red velvet cupcakes, red velvet cake balls, red velvet double doozies, red velvet trifle, red velvet cheesecake...I think you get the picture.

Here is my thought process: if the base recipe for several of these is the same (cake balls, trifle, cupcakes, etc), would it really be that difficult to make enough of these things to feed 100 people? Mind you, I'd probably need to make all of it 1-2 days prior to my wedding. I'd love to get thoughts from anyone who's attempted something like this before.

Now onto the giveaway, my fiance and I have entered Crate & Barrel's Ultimate Wedding Contest, and are just 100 or so votes away from advancing to the next round. We could really use your help and support, but of course I want to offer you something in return. I love everything about Anthropologie, and I think that every baker (or cook) should have one of their fabulous little aprons. My fiance actually bought me one for Christmas and had it embroidered with "The Velveteen Baker". I absolutely love it, and even when I'm covered in flour and red food dye, I still feel fabulous in it.

So here is the deal. One lucky winner will get to take their pick of one of these chic aprons from Anthropologie. There are three ways to enter, so even if you've already voted for us you still have a chance to win.

How to Enter:
  • Vote for my fiance and I in Crate & Barrel's Ultimate Wedding Contest (detailed instructions below),  then come back here and comment on this post which number vote you were (ie "Vote #525"). 
  • If you’re on Twitter, receive an extra entry by tweeting the below (tell me you’ve tweeted, by leaving an extra blog comment): "Win an @Anthropologie apron from @velveteenbaker: #giveaway"
  • Get an extra entry if you post about this contest on your blog, or share it with your friends on Facebook asking them to vote for us. Must include this link (again, leave an extra blog comment here so I know you posted).

**Entries closed.**
One winner will be randomly selected. Anonymous comments, or those that don't follow the instructions will not be counted. If I am not able to contact the winner, another winner will be selected. Entries will be accepted until noon on Sunday, April 24th (EST) and the winner will be announced and contacted shortly thereafter. UPDATE: I AM EXTENDING THIS CONTEST UNTIL APRIL 29th! I'm still getting more entries come in and I feel awful not including them. Besides, we still need more votes (can you blame me?). Thanks so much for the support!! Winner will be announced after April 29th.

How to Vote (detailed instructions):
STEP 1: Go to
STEP 2: Click the pink "VOTE" button

STEP 3: Scroll down and either Login with Facebook -OR- Register with your email address.

If you login with Facebook (easiest way to vote):
STEP 4: Click "Allow" for Request for Permission. It will take you back to the contest page and a pop-up that says your vote has been counted will appear.
STEP 5: Come back to this post and comment which number you were back here (ie "Vote #525" - you'll see it on the contest page).

If you vote via email:
STEP 4: Provide your first and last name, email address and a password
STEP 5: Check your email for a message from "Ultimate Wedding Contest" and click to confirm your address. It will take you back to the contest page and a pop-up that says your vote has been counted will appear.
STEP 6: Come back to this post and comment which number you were back here (ie "Vote #525" - you'll see it on the contest page).

I've picked a winner! The winner was randomly selected using after any incomplete or anonymous entries were removed. And the winner is...comment #34, Krista from In Krista's Kitchen. Congratulations Krista! I'll be emailing you with details so you can pick out which fabulous apron you'd like to have!

Love the pleats and cute little bow!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Red Velvet Cookies and a Love Story

    DSCN0707Ah, Valentine's Day. Love is in the air and red velvet - or anything red or heart-shaped for that matter - is selling like hotcakes.

    I don't know about you, but for the longest time I had mixed feelings about Valentine's Day. Considering my Facebook status had long been "single" (or otherwise "complicated") for the latter part of my 20's, I guess you could say I was a little bit jaded. But February 14th, 2010 completely changed my perspective on the holiday.

    People always say that you find love when you stop looking, and I couldn't agree more. I used to think that phrase meant you had to completely give up first, or just not appear to be looking, but neither of these are true. Without going all Tony Robbins on you, it finally dawned on me that I had to stop looking outwards, and instead look inwards and try to be the right person for someone else. I made lots of lifestyle changes and lots of decisions. None of it was easy, but had I not gone through that process I'd probably still be bitter, party of one.

    Now fast forward to Valentine's Day last year. It was Sunday and I'd gone to the 6pm service at Buckhead Church. My good friend Julie, as cute as she is, brought us all little Valentine's treats. After service, she asked if I wanted to go to a Fusion event (a gathering for non-marrieds at Buckhead Church). Now despite my newfound optimism, something about being at a singles function on Valentine's Day didn't sound too appealing to me. But since it was Julie that was asking, and she'd already bribed me with candy, how could I say no?

    Although I was skeptical, that was the very day and the very place that I met Gabe - the love of my life. At first I was certain that he wasn't interested, but fortunately for me, he was. Granted it took him a little while to friend me on Facebook let alone ask for my number, but before long we were inseparable. Where and when I least expected it, I found love and I couldn't be happier.

    So you're probably wondering what exactly this has to do with the red velvet cookies pictured above. Well, not quite much to be honest. But its Valentine's Day, and what goes better with a love story than some red velvet cookies (sorry they aren't heart shaped). These Red Velvet Black and White Cookies came from a Rachael Ray recipe and they were actually quite good. The recipe is really straightforward, but I'd recommend preparing the pans with grease and flour, as by just using parchment paper my cookies seemed to stick a little to the paper. Also, don't try and add extra hot water to the icing than the recipe calls for...its much easier to spread on when its thick.

    To all of you, regardless of your status, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day, full of love...and lots of red velvet.

    UPDATE: Gabe proposed and I said yes (of course)!! We've entered Crate&Barrel's Ultimate Wedding Contest for a chance to win a 100K wedding. Its a long shot, but worth a try. Please vote for us here: If we win, you know we will have the most ginormous and tasty red velvet wedding cake ever!

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Quite a Doozie

    DSC_7281Doozie (also doozy): Something that is extraordinary. Often used in the context of troublesome, difficult or problematic, but can be used positively as well.

    As a kid I always loved going to Great American Cookie Company and getting a Double Doozie cookie. Nothing was better than a generous helping of frosting sandwiched between two freshly baked cookies.

    Now one could infer that Great American Cookie Company coined the name "Double Doozie" because it is in fact, wonderful and extraordinary, but I beg to disagree. I like to think that this cookie originated after someone was having a horrendous, albeit "doozie" of a day. One of those days when you feel like you just can't... possibly... make... one... more... decision.

    Do I want a cookie? Yes. Do I want cake? Yes. Do I want an entire vat of icing? Yes. Indulgence kicks in and before you know it, you're sitting with an empty pint of ice cream, spoon-in-hand, wondering why you feel left unsatisfied. Yes, one of those kinds of days.