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Happy Valentines Day--Celebrate with Chiles

By Jane Butel  February 14, 2023

We just finished a super fun weekend class Sunday--just in time for the Super Bowl   Everyone cooked really  well,  creating delicious  dishes.  The next weekend class is set for March  24 - 26.   As you probably know, every one of our classes is full participation , meaning everyone cooks.  In the weekend class, I feature traditional New Mexican dishes--plus some with contemporary  Tex-Mex twists.  In the week long, which is set  for April 24 - 28, I feature New Mexican and regional Mexican foods with lots of  good to know culinary tips.  The complete menus and to register  are on my website at www.janebutelcooking.com. I hope you can come cook with us some day soon.

Valentine's Day is all about the heart and love and fun.  I truly hope you have a wonderful one.  To assist your heart in many  future  meals, I am putting our new crop of pure  mild and hot red chiles on a 25% off sale until next Sunday. Did  you know that eating pure red chile such as ours is very heart  healthy and great for your  over-all  well-being.  I know that I have said this before, but it never hurts to keep it in mind  for  your health's sake.  Eating at least 1/2 teaspoon of the hottest chile  you can endure at least 60% of the time will prevent you from having cancer as well as assist your heart's health. This health fact was originally developed by the University of the Philippines, followed by the University of Nottingham in England and most recently researched and  endorsed by Harvard Medical School.

You can start creating the chile habit by placing a small dish of hot  red chile flakes on the  table along with salt and pepper.  Chiles can be tucked in egg dishes, vegetable dishes and most any meat dish and even gravy.  I hope you start enjoying chilies more and am  attaching  the traditional Red Velvet Cake recipe and frosting.

You can tuck in chile flakes or powdered chile in many different ways besides eating it straight.  You can enhance the flavor of most everything with a hint or more of chile  For example chile is just great with chocolate--so much so that  the Ancient Aztecs who discovered the fabulous flavor of chocolate, which is quite bitter eaten by itself.  They found that cinnamon enhanced the flavor as did chile.  Later, sugar was added and chocolate became a confectioner's favorite.

Whereas in the  beginning, after the Aztecs discovered the marvels of the Cacao bean, they drank it before battle, considering it a warriors drink  And, they initially added cinnamon which came to them from China--lacking that, they added chile. The sugar came much later.

If you prefer a single class, we have a Red Chile Fiesta where we make such specialties as Carne Adobado and  Red Chile Beef Enchiladas is set for 5 PM next Thursday, February 23 and New Mexico Favorites where we make bathe Chicken and Beef Enchiladas and Margaritas among other specialties is scheduled for 5 PM on Thursday, March 9  and on Thursday March 16, our class is Chili It Up at 5 PM.  Complete menus and to register, go to my website at www.janebutelcooking.com.

Here's the famous Red Velvet Cake recipe.  You can spice it up, if you desire by placing about 2 Tablespoons of our  hot chile powder or caribe chile in the batter and or sprinkling caribe chile flakes on top of the frosting. 


 The story goes that a woman, who was dining in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City was so impressed with the deep red cake she was eating, she asked the waiter for the recipe.  He promptly presented the recipe on a silver platter with a bill for $100.00.  Perhaps this is only folklore, but Red Velvet cake is a very attractive, great Valentine’s Day or for any other occasion when red seems right.

Temperature: 375 F

Baking time: 25 minutes

Yield:  two, 8 inch layers 

2 cups sifted flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup shortening

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

2 ounces red food coloring (2 large or 4 small bottles)

1 Tablespoon vinegar 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease and line with waxed paper two, round 8-inch layer pans.
  2. Measure dry ingredients, then sift together.
  3. Cream shortening until fluffy, then add the sugar and using medium speed of mixer, add eggs one a time and beat until fluffy after adding each.  Add vanilla and blend.
  4. Combine the liquid ingredients—buttermilk, vinegar and food coloring. Then add the dry ingredients in four additions, alternately with the liquid ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  5. Divide batter equally between the two cake pans and place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes at 375 F. Check for doneness, when  an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the batter has pulled away from the sides, it is done.  When done, cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out of pans.   Frost with white frosting, using either the traditional Creamy Frosting, following or a Butter Cream Powdered Sugar frosting. 

Note:  For 7000 Feet Adjustments—

Use ¾ teaspoon baking soda

Use 1 ¼ cup sugar

Use 3 eggs 


This is the traditional Red Velvet cake frosting. 

Yield:  Enough to frost between and on top of  two 8 inch cake layers. 

5 Tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1 cup sweet cream unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

¼ teaapoon salt

1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla 

  1. Cook the flour and milk ukntil thick, stirring constantly using medium heat.  Remove from heat.
  2. Cover pan and let stand until cool.
  3. Cream butter until fluffy using medium high speed of electric mixer. Add sugar, salt and vanilla; cream until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the cooked mixture gradually using high speed of electric mixer.  Mix until it resembles whipped cream.  Frost in between the layers, the top  and the sides of the cake. 

Note:  As an alternate, split the layers and just frost between all the layers and on top



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