The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


RED: Red Velvet Cake Recipe with an Arthropod Twist


Red Velvet Cake


2 ½ cups cake flour

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons cocoa powder

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 (1 ounce) bottle red food coloring

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of 3 (8 inch) round baking pans with cooking parchment paper or grease and flour the pans. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. (cake will also slightly pull away from sides of pan. This is a very moist cake so it will not be totally dry when pressed with a finger. My time of 15-20 min is a guess so you may need to check and change it!)

3. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. (this is important. Cakes will be soggy and difficult to remove if they are allowed to completely cool in the pans. However, if you try to remove them from the pans right out of the oven they are more likely to stick to the pan)

4. To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium speed 1 minute or until creamy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla. (sometimes I turn the mixer up to high and beat for a minute or two to get out powdered sugar lumps). Use frosting between layers and to frost the outside of the cake. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour before serving.

To read about Red Food Dyes Click Here!


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Red is a bold color, which can symbolize passion, love, and wealth, as equally well as insanity, death, and rage. Often red is used to illustrate something malevolent or toxic.

Snow White is poisoned by a deep, red apple, when it could just as easily been a green Granny Smith.  In Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts madness is exemplified by her obsession with color red.  Somehow mauve or periwinkle wouldn’t have had the same impact.  Even in Star Wars the Dark Side sports angry red light sabers, as oppose the peaceful green and blue ones that the Force prefers.


As it turns out, just as red is toxic in fiction, it can be toxic in real-life as well.   But rather than a poison apple, potentially toxic red comes in the form of a common food dye known as Red 40.

Red 40/Allura Red/Food Red 17 is usually derived from from petroleum.  That’s right, dead dinosaurs, the same stuff we use to make gasoline for our cars.

According the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Red 40, which is found numerous foods throughout the US, has been linked to allergic reactions, hyper-activity in children and even cancer in lab research.  In fact, the European Union and British government have taken actions to ban most chemical food dyes from their food, but in the United States we consume the dye in everything from cookies to butter to cough medicine.


So what’s the culinary to do when faced with a recipe that requires an ENTIRE bottle of red food dye?  Sure you can opt for the natural plant based dyes, utilizing beets or tomatoes for coloring, but I have a more exotic suggestion: Carmine dye.

Carmine (Natural Red 4) is made from the female cochineal beetle which is indigenous to Mexico and South America.  Many of us, myself included, are squeamish at the prospect of eating insects.  And entomophagy (eating insects for food) is certainly is not a prominent part of western culture, but it other parts of the world insects are readily consumed and even enjoyed.  Below are 3 reasons to eat insects.


3 Reasons You Should Eat a Bug:

1. You’re already eating insects regularly and just don’t realize it.  Carmine, the above-mentioned dye, is actually an ingredient in a lot of the foods, including juice yogurt and candy.  The insect dye might be called carmine, carmine acid, natural red 4 or under FDA standards it may just be labeled as natural coloring. If this is upsetting to you then you will be very distraught to learn that the FDA also allows a certain number of “unavoidable defects in foods” which often comes in the form on insect body parts.

  •  Frozen broccoli allows an average of 60 or more insects per 100 grams
  • Chocolate allows an average of 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams
  • Canned Mushrooms allow an average of over 20 or more maggots (yes, you read that right maggots) of any size per 100 grams

2. They are better for the environment than other meats.  Greenhouse gas effects are great concern for the environmentally conscientious.  Livestock is large contributor to the increased greenhouse gases, but ‘mini livestock’ (bugs) produce far less pollution and are still rich in protein.

3. Once you get past the idea that you are eating an insect, they are pretty tasty.  I ate a sour cream and onion-flavored cricket and honestly it tasted just like a potato chip, granted a cricket-shaped potato chip, but seriously it wasn’t bad.  Sure finding an antenna in my teeth later that day was a bit off-putting, but I’m sure I would get past that as some point.

The United Nations recommend insect food sources and potential solution to ending world hunger.  In order to embrace insects as a food supply, I garnished my Red Velvet cake with mealworms.  Yum!


Click for this AMAZING Red Velvet Cake Recipe by Lily Plauché.



Cake Pops: A Blight on the Dessert World


The first time I saw a cake pop I thought, ‘How cute. A little bite of cake on a stick, what could be more adorable’.  But before long this bastard child of cake and lollipop spread like wildfire, and you couldn’t go to a baby shower or toddler’s birthday without people ewing and awing over misshapen Elmo heads shoved on a stick.

Cake pop books, blogs and tutorials started popping up and soon cake pops took over Pinterest at a level that would have impressed Alexander the Great.  Cake pop makers allowed people incapable to rolling dough into a sphere to enjoy this horrid dessert and inflict it on their family and friends.   And then, the unthinkable happened.  My beloved Starbucks fell prey to the hype and started offering cake pops in their dessert cases.  For Shame Starbucks!! For Shame!

The first problem with cake pops is they are a lot of work to make.cakepops8


How To Make Cake Pops

1. Bake a cake

2. Crumple the cake

3. Mix the cake crumples with frosting (if you really want to complicate things make your own frosting rather than use the stuff in the can)

4. Roll the cake frosting mixture into sphere (or use your cake pop maker, which is a big annoyance to store and will probably be in your next yard sale with your barely used exercise bike)

5. Shove the cake/frosting mixture on a stick

6. Break the sphere as you are putting it on the stick and repeat steps 4 and 5 several times.

7. Look at your misshapen sphere and think, good enough.  (Maybe the cake pop makers is actually brilliant)

8. Melt candy melt in the microwave.  Make sure you under-microwave so the melts clump on the cake pop.

9. Re-melt candy melt in the microwave, but over-microwave this time so it burns and becomes unusable.

10. Go to the store and buy more candy melts.  (As you drive the 10 miles to the market rue the day you ever heard of cake pops.)

11. Repeat steps 8-10 several more times.

12.  Take your lumpy cake pops and decorate to look like your favorite Disney character.  (I recommend Quasimodo)

13. Compare your cake pops to your Pinterest pins while crying to yourself.

14. “Enjoy”*

*sarcastic quotes

The second issue with cake pops is they are disgusting.  They are a dense ball of dough covered in cheap chocolate in the shape of some stupid animal. Gross.

Because I feel so strongly about cake pops I have started a petition to end the madness.  Please visit: and sign my petition.  100,000 signatures will bring this problem to the Presidents attention.

ha ha.  Just kidding.   If you like cake pops continue to enjoy, but for those of you that don’t, know that you are not alone.cakepops5