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RECIPE BOX: Red velvet cake perfect for Valentine's Day

Betty Jean Brown displays her red velvet cake.

Betty Jean Brown displays her red velvet cake.

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Made-from-scratch red velvet cake is the perfect Valentine's Day treat.

Red Velvet Cake

Batter:

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

Two eggs

1 cup Crisco oil

One bottle of red food coloring

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat eggs first.

Sift the flour and baking soda together.

Add dry ingredients to the flour mixture.

Mix in the other ingredients.

For a three-layer cake, bake at 350 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes.

For a 9-by-13 sheet cake, bake at 350 degree for about 30 minutes

Icing:

8 ounces cream cheese

One box powdered sugar

One stick butter

1 cup of pecans

Melt cream cheese and butter together.

Mix the powdered sugar with melted cream cheese and butter and pecans in mixing bowl.

Stir thoroughly.

Tips: Ice the cake as much as you can while it is still warm, and when the cake is completely cool, ice with remaining icing.

For a moister cake, wrap iced cake in aluminum foil and put in freezer overnight). Allow the cake to thaw before serving.

I'm not sure what could say Valentine's Day more than a homemade red velvet cake, and today's recipe happens to come from a lady who is just as sweet as her mother's recipe for a made-from-scratch cake.

Conyers resident Betty Jean Brown submitted her recipe via her co-worker and friend, April Ramsey, before the holidays.

Finally getting to interview Betty Jean was worth the wait, not only to hear about her delicious and moist cake, but also to listen to her stories, which make this week's column even sweeter.

Betty Jean didn't learn how to cook until her mother passed away, but it didn't take her long to pick up the skill of cooking. Baking happens to be her speciality.

I was in shock when she told me she baked 18 cakes at Christmas last year. This lady stays busy. She chuckled as she told me that she makes some people nervous because she is always going and doing.

As a matter of fact, Betty Jean begins her day at 3:30 in the morning, and has done so for many years. She gets up and fixes breakfast every morning and then heads out to a job she loves. She has been a custodian at J.H. House Elementary School for 41 years.

I asked her if she's thought about retiring, and she laughed, "No, not really. I'm not ready to retire yet."

I believe it too; I think she could run circles around me.

Betty Jean told me that she really has to be in the mood to bake, though. When she is stressed out, the act of baking helps to clear her mind.

There have been times when she started baking in the afternoon after school and baked four cakes by 9 p.m.

There is so much more to Betty Jean and her stories of cooking, and fortunately for us I'm pretty sure she is going to be submitting more recipes.

For now, let me leave you with a few things she suggested in regards to this perfect Valentine's Day cake.

She said that it's fine to add icing to the cake while it's still warm from the oven, and then put the cake in the freezer for future consumption.

So for all of you busy ladies out there, bake this cake a day or so before your next event, freeze it and then pull it out and let it thaw the day of your event. It's that simple.

She also stressed that the most important part of this recipe is to beat the eggs first, before you add anything else to the mixing bowl.

Betty Jean is diabetic, so she doesn't eat these wonderful treats she makes for everyone else. But her favorite part of it all is watching people enjoy eating the cakes she has made for them. Even to this day, her uncle who is 101 years old, won't officially celebrate his birthday until he's had his birthday cake made by his sweet niece, Betty Jean Brown.

One thing is for sure, there is a lot of love put into the cakes Betty Jean makes.

Send recipe ideas to julie.wells@rockdalecitizen.com.