Red Velvet Cake

I’ve always loved the way this cake looks.

I guess there are many people like me – the color combination is just mesmerizing and so genial.

When you look at it, it truly seems velvety.

And abundant in flavors.

It’s like from another galaxy or something.

These days I really couldn’t help it, I simply needed it in my life.

So this is what I did, dear friends, and I ENJOYED it …

These are the ingredients.

1. First I prepared this flour mixture.

It consists of the flour, salt and cocoa powder.

2. Then, in another bowl I mixed the buttermilk and the food coloring.

(There are many brands of food coloring – please, read the instructions on the package you’ve bought and try to give your final batter some stronger red color.)

3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, mix the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).

4. Then add the eggs – one at a time – beating well after each addition.

5. Add the vanilla and mix.

6. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the colored buttermilk, in three additions – beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

7. In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda.

Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

8. Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan (or two) and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

9. Fill the prepared pan with about 2 cups (500 ml) of the finished batter (there should be about 8 cups of the finished batter altogether and we are going to make 4 layers).

10. Bake at 350 F (175 C) for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

11. Meanwhile, we can prepare the frosting.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, process the cream cheese, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Then, in a separate bowl, with you hand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

With a large spatula, gently fold these two mixtures together and place in the refrigerator for about an hour or until firm enough to spread.

12. When the first layer has baked, remove it from the oven and place it (still in the pan) on the wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Then remove the cake from the pan, transfer onto a plate and let cool completely.

13. Wash the springform pan, butter it, line the bottom with parchment paper again, fill it with another 2 cups (500 ml) of the batter and bake.

14. Repeat until you have baked all four layers.

15. When your cake layers have cooled completely place one cake layer on a serving platter.

Spread the cake layer with the layer of frosting.

16. Place another cake layer on top of the frosting and…

… continue to frost and stack the cake layers.

17. Frost the top and sides of the cake.

You can also garnish your cake with sweetened or unsweetened coconut.

And most importantly – enjoy, dear friends.

Send Your Toys For a Vacation

My teddy has left for a holiday.

After all, he definitely deserved it – he’s been my sweetheart for such a long time.

You may be asking who he’s traveling with.

Well, it’s my new travel agency that I established recently.

I thought I should really let you know about it since you might be one of those people who would like to send their beloved toys somewhere for a wonderful trip and need that ‘someone‘ to arrange all the necessary details.

Please, feel free to enjoy the pictures from the places my teddy has visited…

First of all, it was Paris – shown on the picture above (he looks so incredibly happy there).

Then Egypt – what a wonderful place.

He was joyously excited over there.

The weather was wonderfully hot, there was a  lot of water around and even some camel riding was possible.

What a pleasure it is to spend time on a beach.

Maybe your teddy will meet his/her long lost relative there.

Is your teddy into adrenaline?

Then why not try white-water rafting?

It’s so stress-relieving.

Oh, and this is something for those who are keen on flying.

What a bliss.

Your teddy also deserves some scrumptious yet healthy food.


All-in-all, your precious sweetie will be taken care of with the uttermost attention.

Now I’m sure all of your toy friends definitely want to go too.

For more information (or if you have any suggestions), please, contact me in the comment section.

Meanwhile, I am going to put a bit more thinking into the whole project…

Mom’s New Art… And Georgina

My Mom’s paintings are very interesting.

They are rather abstract.

There’s one shape that, I guess, my Mom captures in most of her pictures – I can see at least eight of them in the one above.

Okay, I’ll give you a tiny little hint: it starts with ‘B’.

And ends with ‘B’ too.

And has two ‘O-s’ in between.

Do you see them now?


Yeah, my Mom is fun…

When working in her atelier she usually enjoys the company of this little darling.

Her name is Georgina.

She is my little sister – kind of Mom’s youngest child.

Since it’s still rather cold in Mom’s atelier Georgina has to be dressed properly.

She usually wears two layers of clothing to keep her perfectly warm – a sweater and a coat.

Not only does she have every single item there is for a dog to enjoy, she is also growing up in an artful environment.

I think she might be the happiest and the luckiest dog in the whole wide world.

White Misty Background Tutorial

This is a transition I’ve been really fascinated by lately.

The original picture of New York Cheesecake was nice but I thought it could really use some more lightness and focus on the delicious cake.

And here it is again, after the transition.

The background is brighter, a bit more blurry and romantic.

It feels kind of happy and ethereal.

If you’d like to have a look at how the process goes then I’ve prepared this cute little tutorial just for you.
Note: I am using Photoshop Elements 8 in this tutorial.

1. Open the picture you want to adjust.


Now find out what’s the size of the picture – go up to the Image menu at the top of the screen and choose Resize – Image Size from the list of options, which will bring up Photoshop’s Image Size dialog box. We need to learn what the ‘Pixel Dimensions’ are. Then close the box.

2. Open a new blank (white) file with the same dimensions as the former picture.


3. Now we are going to copy the first picture.

Double click on the first picture and then CTRL+A >> CTRL+C.

4. Next paste the copied picture into the blank file.

To do that double click on the second (blank picture) and then CTRL+V.

In the layers palette (where the arrow is pointing to) we have now two layers open – they are two layers of one picture.

What we do next is kinda ‘rub off’ bits of the top layer so that the bottom (white) layer will be slightly seen.

That’s the mighty trick!

5. For the above mentioned purposes we could really use something called a MASK.

For those of you who use ‘full’ Adobe Photoshop just click MASK.

And you, ELEMENTS users, don’t get scared – on one hand, it is true that Photoshop Elements doesn’t have the MASK, but we are smarter than that. Because we can CHEAT!

But pssst, don’t tell anyone!


Then, on the right-side panel (layers palette), click LAYERS back.

6. Now we need to get the layer which is in the middle position up to the top position.

Drag the middle layer one layer up (so that now we have the layer with the picture we want to improve in the top position).

7. We want the top two layers to marry each other now and function together in perfect harmony.

To achieve that (with the top layer clicked) click LAYER >> CREATE CLIPPING MASK.

And let the fun begin!

8. The red dots represent things you should adjust or have a look at before you start painting.

  1. Click on the white thumbnail in the middle layer (this is really crucial).
  2. Have the foreground color set as black (click ‘D’ key to achieve that).
  3. Click on the brush tool.
  4. From the set of basic brushes choose from the fuzzy ones (I chose 300).
  5. Adjust the size so that it works for your picture.
  6. Adjust the opacity to about 20%.

9. Now you can start painting over the picture – the areas you paint should become slightly whiter.

If something goes wrong, please, check the above 6 points again.
10. Finally, when you’re happy with the result, click LAYER >> FLATTEN and then FILE >> SAVE.

All right. By now you might be asking why you can’t create the white misty background in a simpler way – by painting the background white using a brush tool having the opacity reduced slightly or by using a dodge tool. Of course, that can be done, though it is not advised. Mostly because if you are not happy with the changes you’ve made to the picture, all you can do is click UNDO. And that is not very smart.

With this method, if you wish to go back and do something differently, just click the letter X on your keyboard which will switch the foreground color to white. Then continue painting over the picture and you’ll be able to see how your previous changes are being undone and you are getting back to the original picture.

Enjoy, dear friends.



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