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Jul 5, 2011 07:55 PM

Red Velvet Cake?

Ok, so I had my first taste of red velvet cake today......still waiting to figure out what the big deal is about it? Did I just get a not so good piece? It wasn't bad, it as just....there. It was good because it had cream cheese icing, but any other piece of cake with cream cheese icing would be as good. The way food shows and bake shops have been talking about it so much lately, I was really expecting something good. I won't give up, and will try it again someplace else, but for now it is just....meh.

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  1. I had a red velvet cake custard at Shake Shake once and it was my best experience with it. I have tried several time to make a good one...but the idea of adding a jug of food colouring to a perfectly lovely cake always squeebs me out.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Luna2372

      I am soooo with you on wondering why anyone is willing to ingest that much food coloring.

      I've never been a fan of cream cheese icing either. I make it for the family when they want carrot cake but just because I make it doesn't mean I don't find it gloppy and heavy.

      1. re: rainey

        I'm one of those people who can taste red food coloring, so red velvet cake is an anathema to me.

        (red food coloring is overpoweringly bitter and unpleasant to those who can taste it -- I can even taste Wilton's No Taste Red)

        1. re: sunshine842

          It was first about a dutch processed coaco that reacted with the alum in in baking powder that gave it a "reddish" colour.

          I think it was linked to "devils" food cake.

          Beets work well to give colour to a rich cake...forgoing the food colouring

          1. re: Luna2372

            and I *despise* beets...there's lots of cake recipes out there -- I guess not liking just one isn't a big deal.

    2. It is probably that you haven't had a great piece of cake. For me the color is not such a big deal, but I really like the slightly tangy twist on a chocolate cake. I love Alton Brown's version on the food network website. Make one yourself. Decadent.. Delicious..

      15 Replies
      1. re: woot4fun

        I am sooo not a baker. My chocolate chip cookies are very sad, and my cakes have been known to hold doors open. ;) I must rely on the talents of others in that area.

        1. re: Godslamb

          I have great talent in the baking area..really. I know that the "red" comes from a Ductch process of coco that reactes with baking soda and so you need to be specific with that if you want a true.."red Velvet" cake with out the food colour.

          But it is hard to find Dutch Processed cocao, so hence the food colour. I did make a great "red velvet loaf' with grated beets for the colour and sugar.

          But alas...ShakeShacks Red Velevet Custard....still rules.

          1. re: Luna2372

            Dutch process is getting more difficult, but my local grocer still has it. It looks to be available at amazon and at too.

            1. re: Luna2372

              I just bought a huge tub of cocoa from Costco only to discover it was dutch process, which I don't generally care for but it's a great price if you're looking for some.

              1. re: Luna2372

                I am pretty sure that it is natural, NON-dutched cocoa, which is acidic, that reacts with baking soda, which is generally used with acidic ingredients (the dutch processing uses alkali to de-acidify the cocoa)? I actually find it easier to find dutch-process cocoa than natural, but I'm sure it varies by area.

                I've never understood the hoopla about RVC, myself. I've always assumed people are attracted mostly by the dramatic color. It doesn't have enough cocoa to actually have a chocolate flavor, and lacks a specific, special flavor. YMMV.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  That's interesting that dutch process is more common where you are. I rarely use it (and now I have a lifetime supply for me) but can't find it in a regular grocery store (DC area) easily. And, yes, you're right--dutch process is neutral. I agree about the RVC--I'd go w/ a deviled food that has more chocolate.

                  1. re: chowser

                    The cocoa availability may be a function of where I shop, as I almost never go to your standard Safeway-type store. My local, well-stocked market has various brands including Droste and some fancier ones (may even have Scharffen Berger, which is natural), plus Guittard in the bulk bins.

              2. re: Godslamb

                That's actually quite a talent, I never heard of a chivalrous cake before!

                1. re: ursy_ten

                  Did I miss something? Why chivalrous? What?

                  1. re: Luna2372

                    Lol - it was just a response to Godslamb saying that his/her cakes have been known to hold doors open.
                    If you look at the top right of the reply box, you can see it says: "re: Godslamb". If you click on it, you will be able to see which post I'm replying to (it will flash yellow briefly) :)
                    It takes a bit of getting used to, keeping track of who is replying to what - but once you get used to it you won't even think about it.

                    1. re: ursy_ten

                      OMG...I can not believe I did not get that joke. Sad sad for me.

                      But thank you so much for the information about the post notice. It really is hard to be a new joiner these days. It's all facebook this and twitter that.

                      I'm new..but you prolly new that.



                      1. re: Luna2372

                        No problem, and welcome to Chowhound :)

                        I'm sure it won't take long before you're all settled in, I found it a bit challenging to navigate at first too, but once you've got it, you're set - it's like riding a bike! (and then they change the site on you - lol)

                      2. re: ursy_ten

                        ROFL!! That is hilarious! I am female by the way. :)

                        1. re: Godslamb

                          Thank you - I will do my best to remember!

                2. re: woot4fun

                  I'm with you there, woot4fun - I was hooked to Red Velvet cakes (must be a good one tho) because of its tangy flavor. I had a great one from this chap at the Friday Farmers' Market in Old Oakland, and went back again & again & again.

                  On the other hand, I'd also tried a pretty lousy one at Scotts' in Jack London Square just down the road from Old Oakland.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Wow..Thanks..I will read these in the morning. I find strange food lore so fascinating. I did the research on the "red" and "devils" cake and found it really interesting that the type of cocao could change the out come of the cake colour.

                    also you really need ALOT of beets to change the colour of a cake.

                    But hats off to the Dutch.

                  2. This is the BEST, ever, hands down, no holds barred. The frosting is the most delicious, don't skimp on good, unsalted butter or really good cream cheese. From Alton Brown:


                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Diane in Bexley

                      Yikes, you could start a whole debate on using cream cheese frosting on red velvet cake.;-)

                      1. re: chowser

                        i thought cream cheese icing was the standard for classic, Southern RV cake...

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          New style = cream cheese icing. Old style, classic = cooked milk-flour buttercream. Learned here on CH!


                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            *always* learning here on CH :) that's actually really interesting about the frosting - i was just reading up on it and apparently cream cheese icing first appeared in the early 1960s. i guess because all my Southern friends grew up eating red velvet cake with CC frosting, and they were the ones who provided my initial frame of reference for it, i assumed that was the tradition. i'll have to ask a couple of them when & why their mothers decided to switch to CC from cooked flour frosting.

                            very cool. thanks for the link!

                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            IMHO, the cream cheese icing is the only reason to have cake! LOL

                      2. To me, RV cake isn't 'anything' enough. Not chocolatey enough, not sweet enough (may never have had a true southern version, though), not really good enough to swoon over. The only thing it is to extreme is red.