The Difference Between Red Velvet And Chocolate Cakes
There’s a rumor going around that red velvet cake is simply chocolate cake with some extra color added, but that’s not true at all. So, what is the difference… aside from the color?
Pretty much everything, notes The Kitchn.
Let’s take a look at some basic ingredients. Sure, red velvet cake has chocolate flavors, but recipes call for some kind of natural cocoa powder to supply the hint of chocolate, while a chocolate cake is, well, much, much more chocolatey.
There’s also a big difference in the liquids. While chocolate and devil’s food cakes call for water and oftentimes coffee for their moistness, red velvet relies on something weird: buttermilk and vinegar. That’s what gives it that distinctive tanginess that, if you took a bite with your eyes closed, would tell you that you’re eating red velvet.
Then, there’s the frosting. While chocolate cakes are a little more versatile, there’s really only one kind of frosting that you’ll find being slathered on your tangy, slightly chocolatey, definitely-not-chocolate red velvet cake, and that’s cream cheese frosting.
And here’s the interesting thing red velvet connoisseurs say that part of what sets red velvet apart isn’t just the color, but the flavor of the color. Ted Lee of the Lee Brothers feels pretty strongly about it, saying, “The secret to red velvet is the flavor of the red food coloring … Without the coloring, I think the concept is gone.”
Seeing Red Not Anymore
This no-dye red velvet cake recipe is made without food coloring for a moist, sweet Southern layer cake that lets cocoas natural ruddiness shine through.
Admission: I do not like chocolate. Never have. I held this secret shame with me throughout pastry school, when I would smile through the pain of tasting our chocolate truffles or dark chocolate mousse assignments. I became an expert in hiding my just a sliver slice on the plate at a birthday party. Chocolate just tastes very bitter to me. But I have two exceptions: 1) Reeses Cups, and 2) this cake.
This No-Dye Red Velvet Layer Cake Recipe is one of my favorites: moist, full of sweet cocoa flavor and made without Day-Glo red food coloring, so the cakes natural warm reddish-brown hue can shine.
Pro Tips For This Recipe
- Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you dont have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
- If youre not using 6-inch pans, double the recipe for 8-inch pans or triple the recipe for 9-inch pans.
- Skip the food coloring if you want a great tasting cake that isnt red.
- To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can buy a set on the shop page or make your own from foil and paper towels at home. I made a whole blog post on it so check it out if youre interested!
- For nice uniform crumbs for decorating use the fine grater, or just whip out that cheese grater!
- This red velvet cake recipe also makes an AWESOME sheet cake! Youll save tons of time and you can pour less sugar into the frosting since you wont have to worry about consistency. I would use approximately a 9×13 inch pan if youre making this as a sheet cake.
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Red Velvet Layer Cake: Next Steps
Now that youve baked your cake, here are some more useful cake tips and recipes, for your reference:
- Here is my post on how to frost and decorate a layer cake, and what tools every home baker should have to make it beautiful
- Here is my recipe for classic vanilla buttercream frosting, enough to full and coat the cake, or enough for all of the cupcakes.
- If you are feeling a bit more ambitious, heres the recipe for my Swiss meringue buttercream. Swiss meringue buttercream is made with egg whites and hot sugar for a fluffy, silky buttercream thats less cloying than frosting can taste.
Best Red Velvet Cake In New York
best red velvet cake in new york…???
There are different versions of it. It is like a chocolate cake alittle lighter with the RED food coloring.
Some people add vinegar and buttermilk to it.
I think I still like the box and just jazz it up.
Do the cupcakes at Buttercup and other above mentioned bakeries have cream cheese frosting?? They are supposed to have a real fluffy frosting but not cream cheese.
BTW- homemade red cake has 2 bottles of red food coloring in it.
When I was a kid I had a cookbook from the 1960’s that also said the Waldorf=Astoria kitchen invented Red Velvet Cake. I lost the book eons ago, but this is my go-to recipe for the cake and icing.
The icing should never be cream cheese icing, but a lot of people use it- whatever. I think the allure of this cake is its color and name. Velvet sounds so nice doesn’t it?
Gale Gand’s Red Velvet Cake
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 ounces red food coloring
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the shortening, eggs and sugar. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa and food coloring. Add the paste to the shortening mixture. Sift the flour and salt together over parchment. Add to the batter alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions. Add the vanilla extract. Fold in the baking soda and vinegar. Pour the batter into 2 greased 9-inch cake pans.
New York City
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You Can Actually Make A Heart
Here’s some good news: cake doesn’t have to be terrible for you. And that comes from nutritionist and dietician Maggie Michalczyk, RDN.
She suggests using something completely different to get the distinctive red color of red velvet, and that’s beet powder. Brilliant, right?
She calls beet powder a great alternative to red food dye for a few reasons. Not only is it all natural, but beets contain high levels of nitrates, which help regulate blood pressure and have been shown to contribute to increased stamina, which is brilliant if you’re going to be exercising to work off that cake. They also have vitamin C that’s good for the immune system and a natural sweetness that works surprisingly well in cakes. Have some picky eaters in the house? Always looking for new ways to get them to eat their veggies? That’ll just make this one extra rewarding when you sneak it into their birthday cake. It’ll be your little secret.
Red Velvet Lounge: Overhyped
- Other Apps
The New York TImesThe Red Velvet serves up roughly 250 liquor-laden mini-cupcakes per night to sweet-toothed revelers who swear they give them a buzz. Melissa Bushell of Baked By Melissa, known for its silver-dollar-size cupcakes, has teamed up with the Red Velvet mixologist Charlotte Voisey, formerly of the Dorchester in London, to create a decadent menu of cocktails and cupcakes for two times the splurge.Each of Red Velvets signature libations is served with a bite-size alcohol-infused cupcake for example, an espresso martini comes with an espresso cupcake infused with Jameson Irish Whiskey an apple martini is accompanied by a Stoli Gala Applik vodka and cinnamon cupcake and a rum and ginger cocktail is paired with a rum-soaked vanilla cupcake with ginger cookie frosting. The namesake Red Velvet cupcake, the only nonalcoholic confection available, is served with a flute of Armand de Brignac Demi Sec Champagne. And on special order, the signature cupcake can be dressed up with fancy Champagne frosting, courtesy of Perrier-Jouët rosé.I came here because of the red velvet cupcakes, and theyre fabulous, said Michelle Kramer, 26, who was visiting the lounge at the suggestion of a girlfriend. They gave me a martini glass of an assortment of cupcakes, and it was incredible. My favorite was the vanilla with cinnamon on top. And I also loved the red velvet with vanilla icing.
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Red Velvet Cake Was Part Of An Urban Legend
There aren’t not too many foods that come with their own urban legend, but red velvet is one of them. It shares the story with fudge cake and Neiman Marcus, but the tale is basically the same.
It involves a woman who goes out to eat, asks for the recipe of something particularly delicious, and is given that recipe… then, she’s charged an insane amount of money. In order to get her revenge, she releases the recipe to the public. Sounds pretty familiar, right? The Museum of Hoaxes calls it The Rip-Off Recipe Legend, and they say it started in the 1940s with a woman eating at the Waldorf-Astoria. They charged her $100 for their Fudge Cake recipe , and by the 1960s, that had become $300 for their red velvet cake recipe.
Even then, the Waldorf-Astoria was going out of their way to prove that it just wasn’t true. They started just giving away the recipe for free, and by the 1980s the story moved on to a new big bad corporation: Mrs. Fields.
Why This Recipe Works
- Super moist! We use a combination of butter and oil for the best flavor and texture.
- Hint of cocoa. This red velvet cake recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder which is double or triple the amount in most other versions. It helps those cocoa notes come through a little bit more. Even with that slight adjustment, this still doesn’t taste like a chocolate cake to me.
- Perfectly red. The chemical reactions of buttermilk, cocoa powder, baking soda and vinegar give this cake it’s flavor and subtle red tint, which is enhanced with some red food coloring.
- Holiday favorite. Red velvet cake is perfect for almost any occasion, but the bold red and white colors make this the perfect cake for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and patriotic holidays like the Fourth of July or Memorial Day.
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The Secret To Achieving Perfectly Red Red Velvet Cake
Getting that deep red color in your homemade red velvet cakes can be difficult, and while there are a lot of cake fails out there, cutting into a less-than-red red velvet cake is definitely up there. Fortunately, The Hummingbird Bakery has shared their secret, and it’s super easy.
First, use gel food coloring, not liquid. You won’t need nearly as much, and you won’t be adding all that extra liquid to your cake.
Also, don’t just pour it in your batter. Prep it first by mixing it with your vanilla, then mix that with your cocoa. Then, add that to your batter. Easy peasy, velvet squeezey!
Stella Parks, author of BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts has another idea: use red wine. The wine has some of the same components that came into play in the olde timey red velvet recipes, and when you pair it with natural, raw cocoa powder, the ingredients act together to give you a naturally deep burgundy color without the common food dyes.
Southern Red Velvet Cake
Bake a classic Southern Red Velvet Cake recipe from Food Network that’s slathered in cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with crushed pecans.
Provided by Food Network
Yield about 6 to 8 servings
Number Of Ingredients 18
|Vegetable oil for the pans|
|2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour|
|1 1/2 cups sugar|
|1 1/2 cups vegetable oil|
|1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature|
|2 large eggs, at room temperature|
|2 tablespoons red food coloring|
|1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar|
|1 teaspoon vanilla extract|
|Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows|
|Crushed pecans, for garnish|
|1 pound cream cheese, softened|
|4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar|
|2 sticks unsalted butter , softened|
|1 teaspoon vanilla extract|
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Red Velvet Cake With Ermine Frosting
Provided by Food Network
Yield 8 to 10 servings
Number Of Ingredients 19
|Nonstick cooking spray, for the cake pans|
|2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting|
|2 tablespoons cocoa powder|
|1 ounce red food coloring|
|1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature|
|1 1/2 cups granulated sugar|
|2 large eggs|
|1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar|
|1 cup whole milk|
|1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature|
|1 teaspoon vanilla extract|
|Edible flowers, for decorating|
The Story Of A Southern Favorite: Red Velvet Cake
Today, Red Velvet Cake is a common sight at Southern gatherings, making a bright splash on dessert tables. But its beginnings were much more humble: It wasn’t deep red and many people considered it a lowly form of confectionery. If it weren’t for a Texas businessman, it wouldn’t be the cake it is today.
AL.com File PhotoAL.com File Photo
The ‘Waldorf’ Red Velvet Cake
Before we can tell his story, we should address a popular myth about the cake’s beginnings. In her book The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings,” Jan Harold Brunvand debunked the legend that the cake originated at New York’s famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, a tale so widespread, the cake was sometimes called Waldorf Cake” or Waldorf Red Velvet Cake.”
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in the early 1900s.
The tale concerned a woman who had enjoyed the cake during a visit to New York in the 1920s and later wrote the hotel restaurant asking for the recipe. The chef mailed her the recipe along with a bill for $300 for his compensation. When the woman’s attorney informed her she would have to pay the bill, she decided to get her money’s worth, and get even, by spreading the recipe as far and wide as she could. That’s how it came to be published in numerous newspapers. Brunvand wrote in his book that the hotel had repeatedly denied the incident had ever occurred.
The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel Restaurant in 1903.
AL.com File Photo
Adams Red Extract
1 tsp soda
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Ice Cream Flavors You Sadly Can’t Find Anymore
They say it’s better to have licked and lost than never to have never licked at all. Try telling that to the inconsolable ice cream lover who’s just discovered that her/his/their favorite flavor of all time has been retired to “The Deep Freeze” or “de-pinted” to the “Flavor Graveyard.”
While in the throes of grieving a beloved flavor, it’s difficult to see any logic behind the decision to “discontinue.” However, as USA Today points out, as a result of increased technology, fierce competition, and rapidly changing trends and tastes, commercial ice cream manufacturers are constantly looking to add new and unusual ice cream flavors to entice consumers, even if that means killing off old favorites.
And yet what they don’t always realize when trying to seduce us with the rarefied likes of dill pickle sorbet and Irish whiskey, is that old-school favorite ice cream flavors offer us constancy and comfort. They conjure up happy memories. They pick us up when we’re down . And the best and most beloved flavors sometimes bring us joy. So when, without warning, they’re yanked from our freezers, we’re left reeling, our bowls and cones sadly empty, our souls and appetites bereft. In the hopes that they’ll someday be resurrected , here is a selection of some of the most-missed ice cream flavors in America.