Where Did Red Velvet Cake Originate
While the red velvet cake is largely considered a Southern treat, it appears its roots are in New York City!
The Waldorf Astoria hotel created the recipe and called it the Waldorf Astoria cake sometimes around the Depression Era. So sometime in the 1930s.
The red part of the cake is actually a result of a chemical reaction between the vinegar in the batter and the cocoa powder. Its not as bright as red velvet cakes now. To get that red, we have to add dye.
Despite its northern roots, Ive always known it to be a distinctly Southern cake. In my opinion, its rare to find a truly delicious recipe outside of the South.
Red Velvet Cake Recipe Tried And Tested Favourite
This Red Velvet Cake has been taste tested and given a big thumbs up by many people because its a rather large cake and Ive made it 5 times in the last two weeks.
FIVE TIMES??!!, I hear you exclaim . Youre MAD!!
If getting this cake exactly to my taste, as close as I can get it to the cakes you get from posh bakeries, and ensuring it works using both US and metric measures means that Im a mad baker, Ill take that title.
Besides, Im really enjoying baking at the moment. There is something so satisfying about making something as pretty as Red Velvet Cake.
To tell you the honest truth, the reason I made it so many times in recent weeks is because my original recipe got a so-so response from the two toughest taste-testers I know: my mother and brother.
The sponge is zara-zara, my mother declared on first bite.
What the.?? Zara-zara? What on earth does that mean??
Zara-zara means rough in Japanese. The Japanese language has a handful of words which sound like what it means. Zara-zara being a perfect example. Usually it cracks me up. Not that day.
I gasped, indignant, and grabbed a spoon to shovel a bite into my mouth, ready to argue. And I realised she was right. It was not as velvety as it could be. As it should be.
So I improved it.
The Origin And History
It originated in Maryland in the early 20th century, but has become increasingly popular in the southern parts of the United States. Around that same time, devil’s food cake came out and while they are similar in taste, devil’s food cake uses chocolate while red velvet uses cocoa. Traditionally, red velvet cake was not made with red food coloring. Many people used beetroot juice to get that deep scarlet color. It was considered a “fancy” cake and was originally served in high end restaurants and hotels. This delectable cake was originally covered in a French-style butter roux icing , which is light and fluffy in texture, but rather difficult and time-consuming to make.
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How To Make This Red Velvet Cake
To make this red velvet cake, youll start by whisking together your dry ingredients: cake flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. I suggest using cake flour because it has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour which creates a softer, lighter cake. When it comes to cake flour, two of my favorite brands are Pillsbury Softasilk and Swans Down.
Theres also 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder in this cake so the cake isnt super chocolatey, but it has a hint of chocolate that is expected in red velvet cakes. Once youve whisked together the dry ingredients I suggest sifting them as well to remove any lumps of cocoa powder and help keep the cake light.
Then, mix up the wet ingredients starting with some unsalted butter and granulated sugar. I suggest creaming the butter and sugar together for about 4-5 minutes. Why? Creaming the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy incorporates more air into your cake batter creating a softer, lighter cake.
Once the butter and sugar are creamed together, youll beat in two eggs until well combined. Then mix in the rest of the wet ingredients: some oil, red food coloring, vanilla extract, and distilled white vinegar. The oil helps to keep the cake incredibly moist, so I use a combination of butter and oil in this cake.
Then, just level your cakes and frost it however you like. I used the Wilton 1M piping tip for the swirls on top of this cake.
Ingredients For A 3 Layers Red Velvet Cake
For the layers
- 350 grams of flour
- 200 grams of sugar
- 150 grams of butter
- 3 large eggs
- 5 tablespoons of natural red coloring
- 250 grams of buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon of apple vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 15 grams of bitter cocoa
- 1 small spoonful of salt
For the cream cheese frosting
- 450 grams full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 100 grams slightly salted butter, softened to room temperature
- 480 grams icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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How To Make Red Velvet Cake
This red velvet cake has been adapted from The New York Times, with slight adjustments to the ingredients and the addition of oil for an even softer, richer and buttery melt-in-your-mouth cake. We tested a few versions with just butter, some with only oil, and some with half a dozen eggs! Truthfully, the one we are publishing is the best and received high praise from everyone who tried it. Both young and old!
Tips On How To Achieve The Best Red Velvet Cake
- Following the above doses you will get a cake of 18 cm in diameter if using the method of the three baking sheets or 21-22 cm using a single baking sheet and then cutting the cake once cooked
- Do not overmix: the key to get a perfect Red Velvet Cake is give all the ingredients air so that they will raise while cooking
- If you bake layers of different sizes, you can decide their size once cooked by using a knife to get the desired shape/size. You can crumble the remaining cake on top of the cake
- The layers of the cake must be cold before being filled with the cream. If you try to fill the cake when the layers are still hot, they will collapse
- Once ready, place the cake in the fridge and remember to remove it at least 15 minutes before serving it so that it is not too cold
- Do not leave the cake out of the refrigerator for a long time or the cream will soften too much and may become sour
- Use the remaining cooked mix to cover the surface of the cake, by crumbling it. You will get an original yet more beautiful Red Velvet
- Once prepared, the original Red Velvet keeps well for 3 days in the refrigerator, taking care to cover it to prevent the cheese from assimilating the odors of the other products.
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How To Improve Boxed Red Velvet Cake Mix
Have you wondered how to improve a boxed red velvet cake mix? If you did, the added ingredients make the cake exceedingly delicious. In that regard, it provides the cake more stability for stacking and better texture. Also, considering that cake usually seems to be in times of gathering. Therefore, it is best to pair amoist red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting most of the time. In addition to that, it complements any occasion calling for a gorgeous and delicious dessert.
Red Velvet Cake Ingredients
All-purpose flour or cake flour? Although cake flour is usually used for classic red velvet recipes to make it light, I wanted to stick to all-purpose flour in my recipe, so that everyone can make it. I use a combination of all purpose flour and cornstarch, so the cake turns out tender and delicious. If you prefer using cake flour use 3 cups of it.
Red food coloring: what makes red velvet cake red is the food coloring. If you dont use it, the cake will have a dark reddish-brown color.
Cocoa powder: I use 2 tablespoons in my recipe, which is just right to get the color and flavor that I look for. Some recipes use 3 tablespoons or more for a bit more chocolatey flavor, but in this case, I like to stick to the classic. Both Dutch-process or natural cocoa powder work here.
Oil or Butter? The first cakes I tried were only with butter, because, well, I love butter. But once I started using oil , I realized my cake was less dry. To enjoy both worlds I use some butter for flavor, and oil for the fluffiest texture and extra moist cake.
Vinegar: I use apple cider vinegar, but any white vinegar would work, like the ones you use for a salad dressing.
I use a classic cream cheese frosting for this red velvet cake.
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What Does A Real Red Velvet Cake Recipe Taste Like
A real red velvet cake recipe is made with buttermilk, vinegar and a tiny bit of cocoa powder. These ingredients result in a very tangy cake with a hint of chocolate. This is a pretty unique flavor combination but when you add in some cream cheese frosting or ermine frosting , then it adds even more tangy flavor. That tangy flavor is the sign of a true red velvet cake recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions About This Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Can this recipe be made into cupcakes? Yes you can definitely use this recipe for cupcakes. I have made them many times and they turn out really well. Bake for 5 minutes on 400ºF then reduce to 350ºF for 10-15 minutes or until the cupcakes are set in the center. Do not fill cupcake liners more than 2/3 of the way full or they will overflow and collapse.
What can I use if I dont have buttermilk? You can use an equal amount of sour cream or you can add 1 Tbsp of vinegar into regular milk and let it sit a few minutes until it starts to curdle to make homemade buttermilk.
Can I leave out the red food coloring? Yes you can but the cake will not be very red on the inside.
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Can You Make This Recipe Into Cupcakes
Yes you can! It should make about 36 cupcakes. Fill the liners 2/3 of the way full and bake them at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
When you cut this red velvet cake, youll going to be so happy. This cake just does that to your heart! Its outrageously soft, moist, and has the perfect crumb.
How To Make Red Velvet Cake From Scratch
This cake is made using the classic creaming method. That means we beat the butter and sugars together to incorporate air into the batter and create the base. Then we add the remaining dry and liquid ingredients, starting and ending with dry ingredients, until we have a smooth batter.
With this cake, the time to incorporate air into the batter is during the butter and sugar creaming process! You dont want to beat the batter too much once youve added the flour because that will activate the gluten and make your cake dense.
You can mix this cake by hand using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Ive done both and the results are equally delectable.
When you are creaming the butter and sugar, look for the mixture to turn a pale yellow and look fluffy. Too much and your butter will get too warm to provide adequate structure to your cake. If you dont cream enough, you wont have enough air incorporated into the batter so it wont rise much.
King Arthur Baking has a whole article about the science behind it here if you want to geek out a little.
After youve got your butter and sugar combined, youll add your eggs. Add them one at a time and scrape the bowl after each addition to make sure theyre well incorporated. If you add all the eggs at once, youll have to mix a lot, which means you can knock all the air out of your butter mixture.
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Is A Red Velvet Cake Just A Chocolate Cake
Its a much lighter chocolate cake with a tangy note from the cream cheese frosting. Some people have stopped adding chocolate to the batter as it interferes with the desired bright red color. Its the vinegar that makes a huge difference, acid reacts with the leavening agents to give you a fluffier cake.
How To Make Cake Flour
To start, youll measure out one cup of all-purpose flour. One important thing to remember for this step is that you need to spoon your all-purpose flour into the measuring cup then level it off with the back of a knife.
If you scoop your flour from the container, it can become packed inside the cup and you can end up with WAY too much flour.
Then, remove two tablespoons of the flour and add it back to your flour bag or container. Next, replace the two tablespoons of flour with two tablespoons of cornstarch .
Why cornstarch? The cornstarch inhibits some of the gluten formation, which results in a softer baked good.
Once youve added the cornstarch, whisk it into the flour until well combined and sift the mixture 4-5 times. This will help aerate the flour and incorporate the two together really well.
Then, measure out the amount of cake flour needed in your recipe by spooning the sifted flour into your measuring cup and leveling it off with the back of a knife.
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Best Southern Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Easy, moist red velvet cake recipe full of Southern charm with a secret ingredient! Frosted with Cream Cheese frosting!
Watch me make this Easy, Moist Red Velvet Cake from start to finish!
There is something so elegant about a red velvet cake. Maybe its the name or that beautiful, bold red color. Or maybe its the delicate crumb and light chocolatey flavor with a tad bit of tang from the buttermilk.
Whatever it is, Im totally present for all things RED VELVET!!! Red Velvet Pound Cake anyone??
Ive been getting a lot of requests for red velvet cake. Being from the south my recipe options were endless. I swear everybody in my family has their way of making red velvet cake and to them, it is the best!!
Hooooowever, I still knew that the perfect red velvet cake was still out there somewhere.
I have been on the search for the best homemade red velvet cake recipe for a while now actually. I wanted one that was easy, super moist, melt-in-your-mouth soft with that signature light chocolatey buttermilk red velvet flavor.
Ive tried a few recipes that wereOK. Nothing that really blew my heels off though. Until I played around with merging three recipes and out came THE MASTERPIECE!!! Or at least we think so in my house!