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What is all the fuss about Red Velvet Cake

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I don't really understand what the fuss about Red Velvet Cake is about. Isn't it a white cake coloured with red food colouring and topped with a cream cheese icing. Can't we leave out the red and still have the flavour?

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  1. Personally, I think that Red Velvet Cake clearly goes to notion of "eating with the eyes". White cake with cream cheese frosting (or even just "cake" with cream cheese frosting), sounds fine. And if I was served it at someone's house, I would eat it and smile, and if it was a good version - say lovely things. But it wouldn't have the impact of desire that red velvet cake does (for me).

    Clearly the contrast of the deep red colored cake with the off white frosting, triggers some kind of visual response that then triggers the desire to eat it. And while "cake with cream cheese frosting" triggers nothign for me, "Red Velvet Cake" does - so for me there's also the memory component.

    I have a very simplistic sweet tooth, and so sweet cake topped with sweet stuff generically appeals to me. But I think where red velvet cake works for me, must involve some element of what we see and then what we want to eat.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cresyd

      >>>
      Clearly the contrast of the deep red colored cake with the off white frosting, triggers some kind of visual response that then triggers the desire to eat it.
      <<<
      Not for me! The artificial red color of the cake is very unappetizing for me. It may be the tastiest cake in the world, but I will never know...just can't get past the color. Guess that means more for you.

      1. re: al b. darned

        I'm with you. Not only not especially tasty, definitely unattractive.

    2. "Isn't it a white cake coloured with red food colouring...". No, it isn't. It is a slightly chocolate, buttermilk cake with red food coloring. But no one's forcing you to add the food coloring.

      1. Hi Ruthie789, for some home cooks and lovers of RVC it's about tradition. Unfortunately, popularity can also confuse and water down a really good tradition with knock off versions for fun and profit. It's hard to find the real deal lately. A true RVC would never finds its way into the cupcake craze...but so it has.

        http://leitesculinaria.com/10565/writ...

        30 Replies
        1. re: HillJ

          Thank you all, I might try to make one!

          1. re: Ruthie789

            If you do give RVC a whirl, head over to this CH thread all about a really great version:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/388523

            1. re: HillJ

              Glad you posted that link, hillj. Mom Mom's recipe for both the cake and the frosting are the quintessential RV cake.
              Ruthie, cream cheese isn't the traditional frosting- that came around after the carrot cake craze some years back. Try the cooked frosting on Mom Mom's recipe if you want to know what the buzz is all about.
              The two most important ingredients in the cake are the cocoa (don't use Dutched), and the cake flour (don't use AP flour). And the buttermilk...use a good one! It's not the same if you just sour some milk.

              1. re: jmcarthur8

                Buttermilk is just such an awesome ingredient, especialy with chocolate. And thank you for the cooking hints. I am going to try this one.

                1. re: jmcarthur8

                  I have really learnt something about this cake. I have used Dutch Droste chocolate cocoa in the past, is Cadbury Cocoa the type of chocolate that can be used?

                  1. re: Ruthie789

                    Ruthie, I have used Hershey's and I like it. As long as it's not dutched, I suppose any standard cocoa will do. I want to try it with the Penzey's cocoa that I have in the pantry.

                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                      Penzey's is very good, especially the high fat one.

                      1. re: mcf

                        That's the one I've got. Love their products.

                2. re: HillJ

                  Thank you, I am going to try this recipe. Maybe trying the real thing will convert me, because I have tried the RV cupcakes in the Montreal area and really did not like them at all.

                  1. re: Ruthie789

                    When I'm trying something for the first time I make a smaller version. With this recipe you can make a very small batch of the frosting to see if you enjoy it beforehand. If you already enjoy a chocolate cake then close your eyes when you bite RVC and decide. The what's the big deal here is the use of red food coloring. You can bake the cake w/out the color if you prefer. Experiment small batch.

                  2. re: HillJ

                    I love vintage recipes, how long has your Mom been making this recipe? I have added the recipe to my profile. Have you posted any other recipes of your Mom's. I really appreciate that you have shared this with me. I cherish my Mom's recipes so I will post one here eventually.

                    1. re: Ruthie789

                      Very kind of you Ruthie, but I can't take credit for the recipe. Take another look at the OP s/n. Easy mistake. I can vouch for it being a good recipe to follow; especially a newcomer to RVC.

                      My Mom wasn't much of a baker actually. Although she sure knew what expert baking was. Her parents & grandparents and her inlaws were all professional bakers from Europe. I grew up around them. My Mom was spoiled, I was the student :)

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Yes I see the source now, but it was kind to post it for me.
                        My Mom was a baker, I think she got us addicted to sweets at a young age. She took each of her 4 children by her side and set us up on chair and allowed us to cook with her. I guess that's why I like vintage so much it reminds me of her. I like the Brass sisters cookbooks some good ones in there. Thank you again..

                      2. re: Ruthie789

                        I look forward to reading your posts with your Mom's recipes. I too love a vintage collection.

                        1. re: Ruthie789

                          Ruthie, this recipe is exactly the same as the one my girlfriend's mom used to make when I was in high school in Ohio. She gave me the recipe in the early 70's, and I have never tried any other.
                          Her mom was from the South, and she was the only person I ever met who made this cake until I moved to Georgia ten years ago. I didn't even know it was a Southern tradition.

                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                            I am going to try it. Just have to have a block of time to consecrate to a cake. I am intrigued because it is an old recipe.

                            1. re: Ruthie789

                              One more tip...mix the cocoa and food coloring together before adding them to the batter. That will avoid red lumps that another poster had experienced .

                            2. re: jmcarthur8

                              Is it a Southern tradition? Just Curious when it was Invented? or i should say Who came up with the Idea? A friend of mine made a Chocolate Cake with Red Food Coloring back in the mid Seventies. She called it THE WALDORF ASTORIA RED CAKE. And isn't the Waldorf in New York City? Just Curious, so if its been around since the Seventies, sounds like a Northern tradition thanks

                              1. re: PeggyJ

                                It is primarily considered a Southern recipe.

                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_velv...

                                More information here: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcakes...

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  Thanks, I read someplace that it started out in the fifties. It was Served at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, was called the Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake. So, it started in the North, but has Become a Southern Tradition.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    I believe before it was called "Red Velvet Cake". it may have been called "Red Devil's Food Cake" and it didn't use food coloring.

                                    The earliest reference I've found to Red Velvet type Cake is from 1959 from the Waldorf.

                                    The 1959 story has a Neiman-Marcus $250 type of cookie story attached to it. Someone was supposedly charged $300 for the recipe. So this urban legend goes back to at least 1959. Read the 1959 story link below for details.

                                    Here are links to old recipes in newspapers:

                                    Red Devil's Food Cake from 1928
                                    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                    Red Devil's Food Cake from 1933
                                    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                    Red Devil's Food Cake from 1943
                                    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                    Red Devil's Food Cake from 1950
                                    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                    -----------

                                    The earliest reference I've found to Red Velvet type Cake is from 1959

                                    "Red Cake of the Waldorf" from 1959
                                    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                    Red Coronation Cake from 1960
                                    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                    Red Velvet Cake from 1961
                                    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                    Red Velvet Cake from 1963
                                    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                    Red Velvet Cake from 1967
                                    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                    1. re: Antilope

                                      Thank you for posting the above. Love references from way back when.

                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                        I found an earlier instance of the "Red Velvet Cake" from 1950:

                                        "Village Inn Red Cake" (same ingredients as the later "Red Velvet Cake").
                                        A
                                        woman from Monessen, PA sent this recipe into a newspaper recipe contest and it won the first weekly prize of $5.

                                        Here's a link to recipe and story:

                                        Pittsburgh Post-Gazette July 21, 1950
                                        http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                        1. re: Antilope

                                          Thank you for posting this and sharing.

                              2. re: Ruthie789

                                I found a great source for old & cherished cookbooks...thrift shops &/or used book stores==I've spent many hours at a time just reading thru them--you never know just what you might find, sometimes for only .50 cents & up Good luck & tasty eating

                              3. re: HillJ

                                HillJ thank you again for this recipe. I would like to make it but am unclear on the sugar used in the icing sugar. Does the 1 cup of sugar refer to icing sugar or plain white sugar?Not sure on what am supposed to do.

                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                  It's plain white sugar Ruthie....and it's my pleasure

                                  Mix cornstarch (or flour) with milk. Cook until thick, whisking the entire time. Set aside to cool. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and cooked cornstarch mixture slowly. Beat until it feels like whipped cream.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    Thank you. I will be making this redition of RVC on the weekend. Can't wait.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      It takes about 10 to 15 minutes of beating to get the fluffy texture on this cooked frosting. Doesn't that sound about right, hillj?

                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                        Yep. Sounds right, jm.

                            3. I also fail to see the appeal in this type of cake. I avoid coloring things, unless they are colors that are included primarily for flavor (think Paprika, Turmeric, etc.).

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: cazort

                                I love those "flavor" colors too. I once suggested to spouse that we repaint the kitchen in tumeric and paprika to match all the stained wooden spoons.

                                1. re: cazort

                                  I'm not a fan of this cake, and have never been tempted to make it....but I thought I read somewhere that it was originally made with beets or beet juice to give it the red color? Now that I might try someday.

                                  1. re: coll

                                    There are quite a few chocolate cakes made with beets. The recipes I have seen mix about 2 Tablespoons of cocoa with red food colouring.

                                    1. re: coll

                                      There is a Cake Recipe on the Jar Label of Aunt nellie's Sweet and sour Harvard Beets. i made it about 25 years ago, Beets are put in a Blender, put into the Cake. it is a Spice Cake. the Batter is Red, but comes out Brown. I tried it again a few years ago, didn't turn out quite the way i remember, but I think it is still on the Jar of Aunt nellie's Sweet and Sour Harvard beets.

                                      1. re: PeggyJ

                                        Thanks I do love beets and I wouldn't feel so guilty eating a cake that contained them!

                                  2. I had never had it until this year. I tried a cupcake and was nauseated. Then I tried an actual slice. Equally as sick. Finally it was someone's wedding cake, who went out of their way to go to "the best" place for this. It was disgusting. Aside from the bland cake, with it's weird color, the frosting is so sicky sweet, I find it inedible. I can't believe anyone can like this. I've eaten cane sugar from the damn cane and it's not as sweet.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: jhopp217

                                      jhopp, all red cakes are not made with the actual red velvet cake recipe, even though they are called RV cake. I wonder what it was that you had? When I make it, it doesn't seem sickly sweet to me. But when I have it from a bakery or restaurant, it's not the same taste at all, and sometimes it's just a mouthful of sugar. Even from "the best" bakeries.
                                      It's kind of like hating all burgers when you've only ever had a Big Mac or a Value Menu cheeseburger. I'd make you a delicious RV cake if you ever come to West Georgia!

                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                        I agree, I don't typically care for overly sweet foods. I would not consider RV cake to be in that category.

                                        1. re: SAHCook

                                          Maybe I have just had bad examples, since when RV Cake is mentioned, my teeth sort of vibrate.

                                          Hunt

                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                            >>>
                                            when RV Cake is mentioned, my teeth sort of vibrate.
                                            <<<
                                            LOL!!!

                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              I've had bad ones, and I've had it from the most fabulous bakery in my town. The cheap/imitation ones are disgusting sugar bombs and the superb bakery one was beautiful, not a bizarre shade of red, but meh. The only thing from there I ever didn't like. At least it didn't give me tooth chills from sugar.

                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                Lol! It seems like maybe there are a few often-baked versions ... maybe regional? I will say I rarely eat frosting, so I probably had only a bite or two with frosting and ate around the rest of it. That could account for some of it ... but when I had it, the cake part wasn't super sweet!

                                          2. re: jhopp217

                                            You had 3 poor expressions of the form. Doesn't mean all are.

                                          3. This question has come up before, once or twice:

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793983
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/788758
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/388007
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/642858

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: cookie monster

                                              Thank you Cookie Monster! I am new to Chowhound...

                                            2. Ruthie,

                                              I am with you. I do not recall it, until fairly recently, and then like "gourmet cupcakes,": or mushrooms after a rain, it seems to be a new darling. I have now seen maybe a dozen variations of "red velvet" somethings, and none has moved me, in a good way.

                                              Must be an "Oprah thing," or perhaps some other food TV personality, where the masses flock in great numbers, to be an acolyte?

                                              I am greatly underwhelmed, and that goes for a couple of "coasts," and heavy-hitting restaurants.

                                              Hunt

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                http://www.gilttaste.com/stories/2290...

                                                BH, you may know your red wines but you have much to learn about red velvet cake. I can't imagine the preverbial pat on the head makes a lover of such lore smile.

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  Wow, who knew?

                                                  Being both a child of the '50s and a "Son of the Old South," I cannot ever remember hearing of, or reading about a "Red Velvet Cake," until fairly recently.

                                                  Wife, who was a third-generation NOLA native, and the cook in the family, was the same way - never heard of it, until recently.

                                                  Now, that does not mean that it was not around,, and for almost a century, but with many in her family in the restaurant, or food/produce business, one would have thought otherwise.

                                                  Guess that neither of us got out much, as we had not heard of it, until maybe 15 years ago. We have since seen it touted in many publications, and on several menus. We have had it, and both felt, "Oh well, at least we have tasted it."

                                                  Thank you for the link. Suppose that it's mostly about a "sheltered life," or "lives?"

                                                  Hunt

                                              2. Okay Ruthie, I have to admit, I was firmly in your camp for many years. Had few, not only did I not get the whole thing, I didn't particularly like the cake either. And I'm like a 6 year old when it comes to that stuff.
                                                Then, I had one at a first rate soul food place in Huntsville, Al. It was awesome. I totally got it. It's not just the cake you describe. It's more. And yes, the colour contrasts are part of the appeal.
                                                If you've never had a good one, you just won't get it.

                                                DT

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                  What restaurant did you have it in?

                                                  1. re: Laurenjo28

                                                    G's Country Kitchen.
                                                    http://www.gscountrykitchen.com/

                                                    They didn't make it in the typical round layer cake style but the simple rectangle. All about taste though right.

                                                    DT

                                                     
                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                      Thanks! I'll have to tell my sister about it. She lives near Huntsville and she's a RV cake fanatic. I'll want her to see if this place has a cake that's better than the recipe I use to make mine! :)

                                                  2. re: Davwud

                                                    I am NOT a "cake fan," but my wife is. We both felt the same way - "what's the big deal?"

                                                    Now, I need to contact my oldest nephew, who was both a pastry chef, and sous-chef in New Orleans, to get his take. Maybe our samples were just not "the real deal?"

                                                    Interesting thread. For us, it does seem a bit like the "gourmet cupcake trend," but what do we know?

                                                    Hunt

                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      Bill, I was given the recipe in the early 70's by my girlfriend's mother, who was from Georgia. We lived in Ohio then, and until I moved to Georgia in 2002, I didn't even know it was a Southern thing. It may not have been popular in New Orleans-perhaps it was more a Georgia tradition. Until I moved here, I don't think I'd had anyone's but hers (and mine from her recipe). And most times, I'm disappointed. I won't order it out or at a bakery.
                                                      The issue about the right way to make RV cake reminds me of the issues with Spaghetti Carbonara. Many restaurants call an alfredo-ish pasta dish carbonara if they throw an egg in it, but the actual way to make an authentic Carbonara is limited to a very few specific ingredients. If you've only ever had either dish without knowing what's really in it, you (as in anyone) may not realize what you're missing..

                                                    2. re: Davwud

                                                      probably because it wasn't around in the South in the Fifties. from what i understand, it started in the Fifties at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, was called the Waldorf Astoria Red velvet Cake. I think it became populat later on in the South

                                                    3. I was all set to chime in supporting the RVC non-lovers but after reading the suggested recipes, I'm going to give them another go. I do agree with the concept that so many bakeries put out really bland, tasteless, and overly sweet cupcakes of all types.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: tcamp

                                                        +1

                                                        I also have not really understood the appeal, although I find the history & the appeal intriguing so I find myself reading up on it whenever I can. My sil makes RVC every Christmas using a family recipe & I don't care for it. But having read this thread, along with past threads on CH, I'm really curious to give it a try, at least once, using one of the recommended recipes.

                                                      2. It's one of my favorite cakes. I recently discovered Blue Bunny brand ice cream, which includes flavors developed by Ace of Cakes' Duff Goldman. His versions all contain bits of cake and frosting. The RVC ice cream satisfies the occasional urge for a single portion of RVC. Like the Wedding Cake ice cream (also good), it is in a vanilla ice cream base.

                                                        1. After posting this and receiving history and recipes I finally made the infamous Red Velvet cake. I was participating in another thread challenging us to select a cookbook and cook from it for a week. Since Red Velvet was in the book, I decided to use the recipe as part of that challenge and as well to try it based on threads herein. First, I was mistaken about the amount of chocolate in it, two tablesppons only. As well I have had the Red Velvet cupcakes circulating in bakery shops all to find them extremely sweet and much overrated. Well baking this cake was as easy as pie, and the results well nothing comparable to those sweet commercial cupcakes. The icing really made the cake (cream cheese, sour cream and butter) and the cake was a compliment to the white icing. I loved the taste of it and will bake it again, this time using the recipe provided in the threads in this post. Thanks to all who changed my mindset on this one.

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                                            Ruthie, I am so glad you liked the cake! Next time, will you try the traditional cooked frosting and let us know how you like that, too?

                                                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                              Yes, I plan to make the cake in this thread with the icing provided. I did the recipe in the Cook's Country Cookbook, it was good and did this recipe as part of a challenge in another thread.. I now have to bring the rest of the cake to work as I am consuming by myself mostly and not good for my waistline. It is a very pretty cake once assembled.

                                                              1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                Just tried my homemade Red Velvet with traditional icing and loved it. The icing tastes a little sweeter than the cream cheese one but it is lighter as well. I really liked it and have never made an icing like this it stands out for me and is a keeper.
                                                                I also preferred this cake to the one that is in the Cooks Country book as this recipe uses cake flour and is more delicate. Both cakes are very good and both were easy to make.

                                                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                  I'm so glad you tried the boiled frosting. You have to beat it forever, but I love that it doesn't have the cornstarchy taste that powdered sugar frostings have.

                                                                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                    I don't make cakes often, in fact I have not made a cake in over 15 years. I usually make a loaf cake, pound cake, banana bread but eliminated cake making after several failed attempts at icing a cake without crumbs. The boiled icing had a very sweet flavour but delicate at the same time.

                                                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                      Just Curious, Why would powdered Sugar Frostings have a Corn Starch Taste? I have never heard of a Recipe for powdered Sugar Frosting with Corn starch? Look up a recipe for ButterCream Frosting---Don't Believe there is Any Cornstarch

                                                                      1. re: PeggyJ

                                                                        Peggy, powdered sugar contains about 3% cornstarch to keep it from lumping in the package. There is no additional cornstarch in the frosting.

                                                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                          Thanks, I forgot that there is Corn starh in Powdered Sugar

                                                                      2. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                        I just realized that maybe the Frosting for the RVC might Contain Cornstarch, but I have never seen it in any Powdered Sugar Frosting Recipes I have ever seen. I am sure i wouldn't care for it if it did

                                                                        1. re: PeggyJ

                                                                          the cornstarch is in the powdered sugar.

                                                                  2. re: Ruthie789

                                                                    I agree with you. I've made RV a few times and I finally got it right. The first few times, the cake was not chocolatey enough so I upped the amount of cocoa powder. I also increased the amount of food gel and got a brilliant red. I took a pic of mine, but it has my niece on it so I can't post it.

                                                                    Anyway, this is the identical way my cake looked. Plus it was delicious and moist. And I agree with you - the cream cheese frosting was to die for and I'm not a fan of frosting/icing.

                                                                     
                                                                    1. re: nikkib99

                                                                      It is such a pretty cake, it makes you want to make more and try other cakes...

                                                                  3. I had an ancient memory of a red cake that a friend's mother made when I was little, and it was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. I had that memory for many years and it was never duplicated, UNTIL another friend's DH went to pastry school.

                                                                    Red Velvet heaven. And cooked frosting only, NO cream cheese frosting, please.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: laliz

                                                                      I am going to make it minus the cream cheese frosting. It is quite decadent and filling with the cream cheese frosting, that's why I had to bring it to work, I to my embarassment ate 3 slices of it yesterday!

                                                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                        Ruthie! Listen to you, girl! An RV convert, now?!

                                                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                          Yep! I really liked it, completely different when you make it yourself.

                                                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                            That, good lady, is so true about many dishes!

                                                                        2. re: Ruthie789

                                                                          OMG, you sound like me. I made the RV cake for my niece and nephew. Also made Joanne Chang's sticky buns, brownies, etc. I sent everything home with them except a couple healthy slices of the RV cake.
                                                                          I bake a lot but normally eat a small piece and give the rest away.

                                                                          The next morning, I see this beautiful cake in my fridge and decided it was okay to have a slice with my AM coffee. Then the slice became larger. I then went back and had another slice with the second cup of coffee. And decided the last slice was so sad all by itself in the fridge.

                                                                          You know it's an interesting start to the day when you have 3 large slices of RV cake before 1pm.

                                                                          But I enjoyed them.

                                                                          1. re: nikkib99

                                                                            Now I don't feel so bad about my three slices.. it is a very good cake...

                                                                      2. It's pretty. But it is also supposed to be chocolate not white.

                                                                        1. To all who have posted on ``THE CAKE``, I have made it with the traditional icing. It is a super easy recipe to make and the results are quite stunning. I have to bide my time until mid-afternoon, before tasting, but will post back later today. Why the heck was the song, She Wore Blue Velvet, resonating in my brain as I was icing this cake? If I start wearing a beehive and a luncheon dress ensemble, I know I have been completely overtaken by this obsession with everything vintage.

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                            It's been a real joy reading your transformation about this cake!

                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              Thank you!

                                                                            2. re: Ruthie789

                                                                              Because it's a nice song.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Unless you've seen the movie with Dennis Hopper. Then it has different connotations!

                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                  I have not seen the movie, so no connotations involved!

                                                                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                    You're better off then.

                                                                            3. Doesn't anybody else taste the red food coloring? Not only do I not like bizarrely-colored foods (no blue yogurt in my house...), I can taste red food coloring - even the stuff marketed as "No Taste" -- just a vile chemical bomb (I used to decorate cakes, so have tried every brand of red flavoring I can find - I just don't eat red frosting, either - on any kind of cake) I have tasted a dozen or more different versions, both commercial and home-made, so I've tried enough to make it a fair sampling, and to eliminate the chance that I have just been unfortunate on a couple of occasions.

                                                                              One of my former colleagues was known far and wide for the stuff, and she made it for a birthday. I had a couple of bites to join in the celebration, but quietly chucked it after everyone went back to work.

                                                                              If I'm going to have a traditional Southern cake, I'll stick with pound cake, or 7-Up Cake, or Dr. Pepper cake -- all of which are delicious.

                                                                              15 Replies
                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                Since I don't drink sugary soda cakes with 7-Up or Dr. Pepper in their title never held much interest for me. But I use food coloring powders and don't ever notice an after taste. It's the cocoa that I taste in the recipe.

                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                  I was skeptical too, HillJ, but the soda subs out for the liquid and the sugar, so they're just very tasty cakes (not to be confused with tastycakes :P ) -- very moist and very nice flavor. I first tried those at office birthday parties, too. (We joked amongst ourselves that we were like a professional church social -- we worked hard, but there was ALWAYS wonderful homemade food around - made it hard to diet!)

                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    My HS best friend's mother made 7-Up cake.... Man oh man did I love that cake. I'd never had it before, but begged her to make it for my birthday (nearly 6 months away) after one taste! I haven't had it since I went off to college, though. Thanks for reminding me of it!

                                                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  Hey, isn't a Moon Pie a traditional Southern cake? Great with RC Cola.

                                                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                    and you can buy 'em in the hardware store. LOL.

                                                                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    The strongest element of this cake for me is the buttermilk, combination with the chocolate and the texture. As well it can be made ahead and it keeps well unlike many cakes that dry out.

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      A friend made a RVC back in the seventiies. then it wasn't called a RVC, it was WALDORF ASTORIA RED CAKE, And I recall a Funny taste with the Food Coloring. i prefer a Plain Choc. cake, the Coloring Ruined it

                                                                                      1. re: PeggyJ

                                                                                        I remember that too. I don't eat food coloring either.

                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                          even the "no-taste" red food coloring....has a taste. Bleh.

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            I've heard of using beets for the coloring instead, or is that a different cake?

                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                              it's down the same path. Not exactly the same -- but I'd be hard-put to tell you whether I dislike red food coloring or beets more than the other.

                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                I hate the versions I've had with food coloring, but I do like beets. Wouldn't make it for myself, but my SIL has had an obsession with it for years, so maybe on her birthday or something. If I made it with beets she'd probably spit it out though.

                                                                                          2. re: sedimental

                                                                                            Plus food coloring contains coal tar, a known carcinogen.

                                                                                            1. re: melpy

                                                                                              OH NO and I just pulled out my Rainbow Cookie recipe for Christmas.......

                                                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                                                given the miniscule amounts of food coloring used (even for red velvet cake), I'm not too fussed. I figure being stuck on the train platform downwind from a smoker for 10 minutes is going to be worse.

                                                                                        2. The first time (and one of the very few times ever) I ate this cake was in a tearoom in Clinton, IA, then a city of 34,000 people, in the mid-70s. It was known to the locals then (albeit as a curiosity). Everything old is new again department.

                                                                                          1. Agreed. RVC is just cake. Sounds and looks better than it eats. Its like a lot of things in the food world, especially those remembered from childhood. Mac and Cheese, grilled cheese et al usually disappoint me when I make them now (even tho my recipe is better than Mom's boxed kraft M&C).

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: sal_acid

                                                                                              Have you read through the entire post, especially Ruthie789's posts? Its an interesting voyage of discovery. I commend her for having an open mind and would encourage others to do so as well.

                                                                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                Thank you Carolina. You know I am discovering not to diss something if you haven't tried the real thing. For example, I made homemade beets and we had some commercial ones at home. We did a side by side taste test, all to discover the commercial ones which we thought were ok were actually AWFUL. I see a lot of postings on Chowhound about doing things from scratch, which can be very time consuming, but in the end very rewarding. I cannot always do everything from scratch, but certainly will certainly think twice before criticizing something that I have not had in the most original form.

                                                                                            2. I just noticed that this thread is now up to 82 posts, yet it started with a post that seems to indicate that the OP really didn't even know what RVC is.

                                                                                              Sorry, but that's like me walking into the "Tulsa Bagel Bakery" and walking out saying, "Boy, bagels suck!"

                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                LOL

                                                                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                  I had tasted commercial RVC and did not like it and everyone and their dog is buying into the craze, that's what my comments were about. And I have not a clue what would be so great about Tulsa bagels, but since I am from Montreal can tell you that I doubt your Tulsa bagels can win out over St. Viateur ones but that would be for another thread.

                                                                                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                    LOL Ruthie, my point is that Tulsa bagels almost surely suck like a Hoover. Sunshine got it. 8<D

                                                                                                    I just don't get these "I don't get the fuss about ..." threads. Not everyone likes everything, we get that.

                                                                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                      I somewhat agree with you on the "I don't get the fuss about ..." threads based on how many there are. However there are foods, such as Red Velvet Cake or Cilantro that do seem to beg this question. I think if there were less noise it would be good. But, in this particular case, I think there's merit.

                                                                                                      DT

                                                                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                        You are right, I don't get much of the fuss about those foods either, both pro and con. They are just a cake and an herb.

                                                                                                      2. re: Bob W

                                                                                                        It's all good Bob W, jokes fly over my head always have..It's a big discussion board so there's room for all .. I hope?
                                                                                                        As well I got the chance to learn about the cake and get a different perspective on it.

                                                                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                          Well, I can see how being from Canada you might not understand the disconnect between Tulsa and bagels. 8<D

                                                                                                          Down here we love many of your Canadian funnymen, as long as they don't tell Saskatoon jokes. 8<D

                                                                                                          1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                            I probably would not get a Saskatoon joke!

                                                                                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                              LOL Do you ever use the term "flyover provinces" like we have "flyover states"?

                                                                                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                Canadians are known for being politically too correct so no would not refer as flyovers. Right now Saskatchewan is booming with resources, particularily POTASH, a very coveted world resource and as well they have their Saskatoon berries!

                                                                                                    2. re: Bob W

                                                                                                      And the amazing thing is she decided to give it a try and ended up loving it.

                                                                                                      A lot of times, our judgment on some foods are strictly based on store-bought items made very poorly. I've had cakes from Magnolia bakery and even though everyone loves them, I find the cakes overly dry (chocolate), not very tasty (yellow cake), or too sweet (frosting).

                                                                                                      I still would not try french toast or french onion soup. I'm okay with the french, just can not deal with soggy bread or cooked onions. That's a story for another thread.

                                                                                                      1. re: nikkib99

                                                                                                        My route differed from Ruthie's but in the end, ended up at the same destination. My story is upstream a bit but for those coming to the party late, I'd say it's as simple as this.

                                                                                                        Find one you can trust and give it a go. Either from a bakery or a recipe and then judge. It seems this is one of the most poorly done cakes in general. But when done well, very, very good.

                                                                                                        DT

                                                                                                    3. I'm with you Ruthie. I've made the real deal at home, and had it from bakeries that made "the best". I just don't get the hype of it, and after seeing how much red food coloring is really involved, kind of weirds me out. I'd rather just have a good chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.

                                                                                                      27 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                        Actually, Ruthie became a convert!:

                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8613...

                                                                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                          Oh my, I missed it :)

                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                            I actually am a convert to the cake but a homemade one. First it is relatively easy to make and it is easy to frost. It can be made ahead of time and stores well in the fridge until ready for consumption. I also like that it has some chocolate but is not laden with it and the buttermilk does enhance the flavour and texture. I am going to make another one soon for my book club. It is a very pretty cake once iced. I still do not like the commercial cakes.

                                                                                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                              Yay, for Ruthie! Just like me, I prefer a lot of homemade baked goods simply because a lot of bakery or commercial goods are bastardized with cheap products or products made to look like something.

                                                                                                              I've seen some RV recipes that don't even have cocoa and are essentially a yellow cake box mix with food coloring added to it. Oh yea, let's not forget the 'frosting' from a can that people like to inhale as if it caviar.

                                                                                                              Maybe I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to baked goods. Baked goods are already fattening enough as it is and I'd rather have my waistline expand by way of decadently fatty deliciousness, not flavored lard and colored sugar.

                                                                                                              /rant OVER!

                                                                                                              1. re: nikkib99

                                                                                                                Baking to me is using real butter, cream and the best ingredients. My Mom was a baker, and she certainly developed our sweet tooth we came home to a dessert a day often a pie. In Montreal, the cupcake shops are charging a fortune for RV and cupcakes but they often do taste like mixes and to me the fuss about them was a bit much. Seems RV craze is passing on to the next craze, PIES. I will have to continue to bake my own.

                                                                                                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                  What kind of pie do you hate, Ruthie, so we can run a thread convincing you to like it?
                                                                                                                  This has been fun for all! Especially you, I suppose, since you get to eat the cake in all its iterations.
                                                                                                                  ;-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                    Love pie. The only one I am not so crazy about. raisin pie. My Mom made that one quite often. The Amish call it a funeral pie, I wonder why! It has been a fun thread.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                      Oh, dear, Ruthie! I don't think I could twist reality enough to convince anyone to love raisin pie!

                                                                                                                      (Though now you have my gears spinning...I have never had raisin pie. Do you have your mom's recipe? )

                                                                                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                        No that one went with her. However, Marcia Adams, wrote a cookbook called Cooking from Quilt Country and the raisin pie is found on page 179. I think this is very similar to what my Mom would bake. I did find something similar in a link below:

                                                                                                                        http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-r...

                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                          You know, I think I'd like that...but I am thinking that if you puree the raisins, it would be a better texture.
                                                                                                                          Yeah, I would want to play with this a little. Maybe a layer of something else like custard or a cornmeal thing...kind of heading toward shoofly pie territory.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                            Go for it and report back. The link does not mention cider vinegar but many raisin pie recipes have cider vinegar as an ingredient. I am sure there are threads about pie, how about starting a new one requesting old vintage recipes?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                              Now There's an idea! Let's do!

                                                                                                                              1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                Would you like to post the first thread?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                  Done, darlin'!

                                                                                                                      2. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                        Ugh - raisin pie?!? I'm getting goosebumps thinking of it.
                                                                                                                        That texture between the teeth....eeekh!

                                                                                                                        I like cinnamon raisin bread - but only when I pick out the raisin so it leaves an essence of raisins.

                                                                                                                        1. re: nikkib99

                                                                                                                          Nikki, I'm thinking that pureeing the raisins would help with that ick factor.

                                                                                                                          1. re: nikkib99

                                                                                                                            It is gooey and an acquired taste but some people like this pie. Come over to the thread on vintage pies for more discussion.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                              Raisin pie was my great-uncle's favourite! Very old-time Canadian thing. You could have raisins around when fruit was scarce. (Same reason it was called funeral pie, you had the ingredients available at short notice.)

                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                That makes sense I was wondering where the funeral reference came from. Thanks Buttertart.

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                  Funeral pie coz you'd literally poop out your insides and wish you were dead.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: nikkib99

                                                                                                                                    Thanks for that. Very nice.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                      lol

                                                                                                                                    2. re: nikkib99

                                                                                                                                      Now, now, that put's another perspective on it.. Tsk, Tsk.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                        Sheesh...

                                                                                                                            2. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                              Sweet potato or pumpkin pies are not something that I like too much, too mushy! Just noticed this comment about trying to convince me!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                The challenge is on, Ruthie! Look for my new thread.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                  I will JM but with a challenge comes baking. I hope you have some inspiration for me!

                                                                                                                2. I see this thread has been resurrected.
                                                                                                                  I'm just curious, for those experimenting with these recipes:
                                                                                                                  Have you tried omitting the red food coloring?
                                                                                                                  If so, what did the cake look like?
                                                                                                                  I am guessing that the cake would still taste the same, although perhaps not look quite so pretty when sliced on a plate.
                                                                                                                  Thanks, and happy baking!

                                                                                                                  1. Some people's negative opinions of Red Velvet cake is colored by their eating an inferior, fake version of RV. To wit, a good RV has frosting made from sweetened cream cheese. This frosting has a substantial texture, and while sweet isn't candy sweet. I have had bad RV where the frosting is not made from cream cheese. I think its made from vegetable oils or something similar, since it often gets a glossy sheen when warming up, has an insubstantial texture, and is candy sweet. Commercial bakeries favor this stuff. Anyway, if you have only had the fake RV, please try the good stuff.

                                                                                                                    1. Hahaha I thought it was a sort of molested chocolate cake. It doesn't taste like white cake to me.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                        That's an interesting interpretation of the cake's plight.

                                                                                                                      2. I've had it, and it's underwhelming in the extreme. I'd sooner have no dessert than this cake. Naturally, the version I had used a modern cream cheese frosting as opposed to the legendary ermine frosting (which is the only redeeming feature I can find about this cake, and which would probably do very well on actual devil's food cake.)

                                                                                                                        It's on its second popularity peak of the last 25-30 years, but its history goes way, way back.
                                                                                                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/14/din...

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                                          Thank you for posting the history. I do like a homemade version now. I like the fact that it is a moist cake.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                                            Interesting article, thanks. I had no idea RV had a history in Canada as well.
                                                                                                                            I've actually grown to like it, but wondering if it's a cake
                                                                                                                            whose flavour develops overnight / with some time? Fresh RV cupcakes always seem boring but occasionally I've had a version that hits the spot.