Red Velvet Redemption

I never understood the fascination with red velvet (first cakes, now red velvet anything). I never saw the point: it seemed we were all being defrauded by something that claimed to be chocolaty, but really, really wasn’t. German Chocolate Cake also inhabits this position among my personal biases.

The color seemed to be the worst offender: why so artificially red? Subterfuge? Whimsy? Why not purple at that point?

Plus, if you want cream cheese frosting on something, how can you beat carrot cake, I ask?

Still, as I was planning this weekend’s cake project, one of the preferred cake flavors of both host and celebrant emerged as… Red Velvet. I decided to embrace the challenge and opportunity of making a cake I’ve both never made before and of which I have sketchy opinions.

Examining the recipe, started to warm me to the idea. With some of the zippy ingredients (buttermilk, vinegar) beginning to persuade me that there might be something more special about this cake.  Tasting the batter, it was easy to see the reasoning behind the frosting choice.

I hit a rough patch when it came time to add the two, whopping tablespoons of red food coloring. Having mostly switched over to gel/paste dyes, I barely had a teaspoon of the traditional liquid form on hand. I couldn’t afford to lose momentum by going to the store, so I glubbed in some of the other dye and hoped for the best.


Also, I had a minor epiphany about something:  Oh, so *that’s* why the wholesale club sells the big bottle of only red food coloring. (I literally have been stopped in my tracks on at least two occasions in the spice aisle wondering why the heck someone would want  *so much* red dye, and no other colors.)

In hindsight, I am taking myself to task for a hefty dose of hypocrisy: here I was, casting aspersions for all those years on dying a cake a specific color as a frivolity, when, ahem, I love to decorate pastry, thinking nothing odd about choosing rainbows of frosting colors for purely aesthetic purposes. Once, I even dyed a whole batch of pastry cream pink for *no reason other* than to be able to tell the sugar free profiteroles from the regular ones at the same event.

I’m glad to have my perceptions challenged. Though I’ve been planning to switch over to mostly powder-based food colorings… I may just be buying that big thing of red food dye.

German Chocolate Cake can still watch its butt, though.

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2 Responses to Red Velvet Redemption

  1. German chocolate cake is just a vehicle for that awesome coconut pecan frosting. Mmmmmm, love that stuff SO MUCH.


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