Meet Paige, Cumberland Creek Cropper & Red Velvet Cake Expert

Paige Swanson grew up just outside of Cumberland Creek proper—sort of between Jenkins Mountain and the town. She grew up in the modern Mennonite church, which means that to look at her, you’d never know she was a Mennonite. In fact, you might think “aging hippy” when you first see Paige, even though that is not what she is at all.  She is fond of tie-dye shirts and dangly earrings.  In fact, when Annie first meets Paige she thinks her name doesn’t suit her at all. “She looks more like a Willow or Moonbeam.”

Paige is the high school history teacher. She’s the mother of one son—Randy, who is a chef living in Washington, DC, with his partner. She has not spoken to him in years. This issue is a dark cloud hanging over her that bursts from time to time.  His homosexuality goes against everything she believes in—or so she thinks.

Like all Cumberland Creek Croppers, Paige is a pretty good cook, but she loves to make cakes and cupcakes. Her specialty is red velvet.

If you’re interested in more recipes from Cumberland Creek, email me and I’ll send you some. Also, there are recipes in every one of my monthly newsletters–Paper. Story. Recipe. You can subscribe on the sidebar form. You can pre-order Scrapbook of Secrets on Amazon.

Red Velvet Cake

No wedding, no funeral, no picnic is ever complete in the South, without out the comfort of a red velvet cake.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounce red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside. Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together well with another wire whisk. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined. Pour into cake pans and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature

8 ounces of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature

2 – 3 cups of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness and thickness. Either spread on with a blunt knife or spatula, or spoon into a piping bag to decorate your cake or cupcake.

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