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What is Red Velvet Flavor?
Have you ever gone to a bakery and drooled over the goodies behind the glass? Yes, me too. But despite my expert "sweet tooth" tastebuds, the red-tinted goods labeled Red Velvet, always alluded me. What is red velvet flavor?
Turns out, it isn't a flavor at all. It is a name of a type of cake, but what type you ask? That answer isn't so simple.
Is it just red food coloring?
According to Wikipedia, yes. Bakers simply add a dash of the red coloring to give the chocolate cake (which is the normal type of cake that is used) a dark reddish color. So what's the big deal then? Is red velvet just some weird marketing scam?
A chemistry lesson
Apparently, it isn't really just about food coloring. Adding buttermilk or vinegar (an acidic component) to the recipe helps reveal the reddish tint naturally found in the cocoa powder. But even Wise Geek says the history of red velvet is murky.
There was only one thing left to do; ask a local baker myself.
In my sister's hometown, there is a cupcake shop called Crumbs. I went in one afternoon and did my standard "drool at the counter" routine.
I saw the red velvet cupcake and for a moment thought, Well this is ridiculous. You are so pretty sitting there are red and tantalizing, and I don't even understand how you are made or why you are so popular. I'm not going to buy you, because I don't want to feed the frenzy...although, you do look good. Maybe I'll try...."
I pulled the manager aside, sat her down, gave her serious look, and asked the question I couldn't seem to find the answer to. "What is red velvet?" I asked exasperated.
"It's a mix between a chocolate and vanilla cake with red food coloring." She was so matter-of-fact, as if the red velvet mystery never once bothered her.
Red velvet. A blend of chocolate cake, vanilla cake, and a dash of red food coloring. Well that was easy. I bought 4 of them that day.
Should you want to make your own...
- Red Velvet Cake Recipe : Paula Deen : Recipes : Food Network
Get this all-star, easy-to-follow Food Network Red Velvet Cake recipe from Paula Deen.
- Best Red Velvet Cake Recipe-So Moist with Cream Cheese Frosting | Divas Can Cook
This is the best red velvet cake recipe I've ever eaten. It's super moist, soft, and so divine! The whipped cream cheese frosting goes perfect. It's also easy to make.
- Red Velvet Dessert Recipes - Betty Crocker
Red Velvet Dessert Recipes from Betty Crocker.com
- 6 Decadent Red Velvet Dessert Recipes - Southern Living
Can't get enough of red velvet cake this Christmas? Try all of our red velvet varieties! From classic red velvet layer cakes to red velvet cupcakes and soufflés, you'll love each of these red velvet desserts.
Red velvet everything
Since I came to grips with the definition, I've ordered red velvet whenever I could. After all, who doesn't like a blend of vanilla and chocolate cake? It is like the best of both worlds! Here are some of my favorites:
- Crumbs Bakery, Red Velvet Cupcake
- Cheesecake Factory, Red Velvet Cheesecake
- California Pizza Kitchen, Red Velvet Cake
Do not confuse red velvet with strawberry or raspberry flavored chocolate cakes! They are not the same. Traditionally red velvet is paired with a cream cheese based frosting. Not exactly low calorie, but delicious.
I think people are attracted to the rich red color simply because red is the color of decadence and love. There is something sexy about eating a dark red piece of cake, rather than boring chocolate or vanilla. Because let's be real, red velvet is simply blending the two traditional cakes together with a bit of food coloring. It's not really that sexy.
These cupcake masters are using red velvet to market their entire business!
But wait- according to some, red velvet isn't a blend of chocolate and vanilla
(oh for the love of....)
Red velvet has southern origins
Ask a baker from the south about red velvet cakes and you'll get an earful. They hold the corner on the market, so if you are looking to replicate an authentic red velvet recipe, make sure you ask a southerner.
This blogger gives us "what for" about the real version of red velvet cake.
She insists that it isn't chocolate cake. Okay, okay! We'll believe you!
How do you feel about red velvet?
The Internet will never you give you a definitive answer on red velvet, so you might as well give up now. All you need to know about the flavor is:
- It's awesome
- It isn't truly chocolate
- It isn't truly vanilla
- It isn't a fruit cake
The more you eat it, the less you care about what it actually is.
About the author
Julie DeNeen is a freelance writer and "foodie" who found herself mildly resentful of the red velvet cake that snootily paraded itself in bakery displays without any real solid explanation. Her investigation didn't result in too many answers, but she did eat a lot of cake. Oh well.