She's describing the Red Velvet cake made at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City.
Back at the Waldorf, I am working my way through a plate of petits fours, chewing with great purpose, when Mary Ellen Miller finally emerges with several round cakes on a giant baking tray. They're not so much cakes as they are cakes-in-waiting, each no more than an inch thick, their height and beauty not yet fully realized. Worse, they aren't the jubilant cherry-red-lipstick color I imagined for this Red Velvet cake, but a serious rusty brown. I have to admit, they are kind of a letdown at this stage.
But when Miller begins to frost the layers, my interest perks up. She takes the closet cake and starts at the center, her wrist quick and agile, the frosting knife swirling gracefully as she works outward. Miller knows not to overdo it; she stops a good half inch or so before she hits the edge, lest the frosting ooze out the sides and overpower the cocoa flavor of the cake itself. She places one layer on top of the first, and then another, and then another. She finishes off by creating continuous waves of frosting on the side of the cake, thereby sealing the four disks into one beautiful desert.
I taste and take care to chew well. I detect the aromatic chocolate note and a bit of earthiness from the beets, something you don't get from simple bakeshop varieties. The sweetness is subtle and balanced by the frosting's slight tangy note.