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Why do people love red velvet cakes/cupcakes?

Everything is turning red velvet. Cakes, cupcakes, even pancakes. I don't get it. Maybe it's because I"m not from the south. I've never made one, I've never eaten one. I've watched them make red velvet things on TV and generally it's a plain cake with a couple bottles of red food coloring added. Ick!

I believe the original red velvet cake had cocoa powder and a tiny bit of food coloring to bump up the cocoa pink color. But you rarely see that on the cooking shows. Just cake batter and tons of food color.

Am I missing something?

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  1. I think the color contrast appeals to people---the novelty of eating red cake. Notalgia is surely at play. Plus, the salty, creamy cheese icing against the fluffy chocolate cake...what's not to love? Why not try one? You could make them at home and leave the food coloring out.

    1. I'm not a big fan of chocolate, but I do like tart flavors and I love cream cheese frosting. So a moist and tangy buttermilk cake with a bit of cocoa and a ton of cream cheese frosting is pretty much my idea of perfection.

      1. You're missing this post from July 5th, 2011

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793983

        And this one from June 6th, 2011

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/788758

        Think this topic has been talked about enough :0)

        2 Replies
        1. re: lbs

          You're right, it has been talked to death! Didn't see those old posts, thanks.

          1. re: Jpan99

            I'm from the South and never got the love for these things, either. Oh well, leaves more biscuits & gravy for me while others fill up on not-really-chocolately-fake-red-cake.

        2. I'm from the south and while I'm not necessarily crazy about red velvet, my family is, and has been for quite a while now. Definitely before the "hype" I guess you would say. When my Grandma makes it for my sister for her birthday, she adds pecans and a tiny bit of cocoa powder; with the cocoa powder making it redder than with just food coloring. The taste is odd to describe but it isn't just a red cake haha :-P

          1. A proper red velvet cake -- the cocoa powder and smaller amount of red food coloring ones -- can be delicious, especially if the cream cheese frosting is any good. no reason to eat the other ones.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

              I weould agree in theory, but a carrot cake with the same frosting would be better, and better for you, however minimally. I'd actually prefer a carrot cake, or even a zucchini cake.

            2. I've never gotten the appeal either. Anything that uses a lot of food coloring turns me off, and the small amount of cocoa seems pointless to me. If I have a chocolate cupcake, I want it to taste like chocolate.

              1. I figure if someone wants to eat a bar of soap...hey, they're welcome to do what makes them happy.

                I put red velvet cake in the same category -- I don't like it and can't figure how other people could, but as long as I don't have to join them, I'm not fussed.

                1. I don't get it either. My thought is that, if the food coloring does nothing but add color, then wouldn't the cake/cupcake taste the same without it? You'd still have all the flavors, just not a red cake, right? Just make a slightly chocolatey cake and add cream cheese frosting. Perhaps I'm missing something too!