I hit the half century mark this year. Gasp, shock, horror! Yes I just revealed my real age…

I mention it because…I belong to the Andy Warhol school of thought when it comes to age…I’d rather be honest and hope people say “she looks great for her age” then lie, and have them think the opposite!

I also happen to love cake, and I scored FOUR this particular birthday! First my Mom took my sister, Patty, and I to celebrate at Vibrato…my favorite jazz dinner club here in LA…great music and superb food!
My friend and fellow personal chef, Karla Billdt (pictured above with the perfect birthday card next to the Andy Warhol’s Wicked Witch of the West) brought “Jewels” a jewel box cake…

Then my dear friend Normandie Keith…always the consummate hostess down to every last minute detail…threw a birthday luncheon for me, and made sure my daughter was part of the celebrations (even if she was stuck in London working hard on a film for school)…

…and far be it from Normandie to exclude my dog, Daisy!

But my heart will always belong to just one….

The Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake

Serves: 12


For the cake:
  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 ounces red food color
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the icing:
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
For cake:
1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 – 9″ cake pans, or 3 – 8″ cake pans.
2). Cream together Crisco and sugar in a large mixing bowl with electric beater, then and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
3). Mix red food color and cocoa in small bowl, and add to mixture in #2.
4). Mix salt into buttermilk; then add to mixture #2 alternately with flour. Using the fold setting on the beaters, end with flour.
5). Add vanilla, soda, and vinegar (in that order). Beat 2-3 minutes after everything is added.
6). Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake layers comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto cake racks to cool. Cool completely.
For icing:
7). Add flour to a large saucepan, then add milk gradually , stirring until smoothly blended. Cook milk and flour over medium heat until thickened to the consistency of oatmeal. Cool completely before continuing on.
8). Beat room temperature butter and sugar for 15 minutes, using a timer, until butter becomes pale yellow. Add vanilla, then fold the cooled flour-milk mixture into the butter cream icing.
9). Spread just enough icing over bottom layer(s) to secure next layer on top, then ice entire cake and decorate as you please.
TIP: You can substitute any color you like for the red…my daughter’s favorite color was blue, so she always had a Blue Velvet (one of her father’s favorite films) Cake for her birthday.
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  • May 18, 2009
    12:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing the cake recipe, and HOW FUN to see Karla on your blog!!! And yes, you look amazing for 50.Sara Myron

  • May 18, 2009
    5:02 pm

    It is fantastic. Couldn’t get off it and love the way its written, the pictures, the stories, the recipes, I LOVE IT. I’ve joined so will be reading more, well done Jewels, its great! xxLou

  • May 18, 2009
    5:05 pm

    This is great! And by the way – you do look fantastic – Lots of love from muggy Philadelphia, Annabel x

  • May 19, 2009
    4:17 am

    You are absolutely gorgeous, so whatever you’re doing, keep doing it! Happy belated birthday!

  • May 19, 2009
    1:18 pm

    ¡Muchas felicidades! You look beautiful and happy. Lots of love from Spain, Isabela.

  • May 19, 2009
    3:10 pm

    Oh Jewels , You look exactly the same so fierce and classically beautiful. Wow. I love your blog , so professional and glam. Brill

  • May 19, 2009
    11:26 pm

    Yum bloody Yum Yum!!! The The Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake is a major must for my tum… Sean Borg

  • May 20, 2009
    1:04 am

    Just checked it out – brilliant! Love the combination of current, memory and food tips thrown it – great photos as well so its a pleasure read! Well done sweetie! p.s. didnt know you had Andy Warhol on speed dial – that’s cool!

  • May 20, 2009
    4:12 am

    Jewels, I love the pictures, what a great party! But seriously, you think that red velvet cake will serve 12? The way it looks? I’m thinkin’ more like 1-2!! OK, maybe 3. Seriously, great blog, great pictures, great cakes. Keep ’em coming!!

  • May 20, 2009
    6:03 am

    Thanks for all the kind words guys, but remember I edit the pics…not exactly planning on showing any ghastly ones anytime soon! BTW, jItaska…I’ve been known to hog the whole cake to myself (I love it that much)…oink, oink.Jewels xo

  • May 20, 2009
    7:31 am

    Again, Happy Birthday! Those cakes look amazing! Also, if you’re a big Warhol fan they have a bunch of his work at LACMA right now. I look forward to reading more blog entries soon!

  • May 20, 2009
    2:15 pm

    you are the best!!

  • May 20, 2009
    3:41 pm

    Hiya, i hope you had a lovely birthday, looks like it it’s so funny to see Lisa there, she’s one of my oldest friends we went to school together. i loved your page it’s so beautifully personal and the recipes looks scrummy ! I will try some out !!!!!!!Lots of love gorgeous,x x x x

  • May 20, 2009
    3:54 pm

    Hi Jewels,Your blog looks great! And happy belated birthday!Eric

  • May 20, 2009
    4:15 pm

    Rachel Schadt Flanagan I was reading the menu on your site and my mouth started watering… The Roving-stove, what a great idea.

  • May 20, 2009
    5:20 pm

    Ah, The Colombe D’Or. Birthday lunch in 1998!

  • May 20, 2009
    9:20 pm

    Faaaaantastic blog — so fascinating. I’ve always wanted to read stories about your life, Jewels. :O)Love,Sass

  • May 21, 2009
    1:33 am

    Wow! You’re doing it! What a GREAT blog!!! I need a book, now, as well as a blog about your life and career. The blog is glamorous, compelling and has you’re famous recipes (that I was always hoping to weasel out of you). I am excited for you and delighted that you are sharing all those wonderful stories and recipes with the world. xxx Kay

  • May 21, 2009
    4:08 am

    sorry if this is repeated but happy belated birthday!happy you took time out to celebrate.by the way you look fantastic so i find it hard to believe you could ever take a bad photo.lolthanks for sharing the blog and adding all these wonderful pics.much love,laura lynn