Red Velvet Cake - Dense Or Light

Baking By pinkpiggie78 Updated 6 Mar 2009 , 6:51pm by FeGe_Cakes

pinkpiggie78 Posted 4 Mar 2009 , 2:40am
post #1 of 20

So I am originally from PA and only heard of Red Velvet cake, but never ate any. I am still unsure of what it is supposed to taste like... I know it is supposed to be a lightly-flavored chocolate cake but what is the texture supposed to be dense, almost like a pound cake or light and fluffy? I made the Southern Living Recipe and it was really dense. I just made one from Martha Stewart's website and it seems like it is as light as air. I tried a recipe from here as well and all the textures seem so different. I have no point of reference so I don't know if it is "good" or not. Help?

19 replies
ski Posted 4 Mar 2009 , 2:48am
post #2 of 20

I icon_biggrin.gif

pinkpiggie78 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 1:35am
post #3 of 20

uh... anyone?

tinygoose Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 1:42am
post #4 of 20

I made one from Paula Dean's recipe on Food Network. It was really good and fairly dense compared to a cake mix type cake, but not really any denser that most scratch butter cakes I make.

Karema Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 1:43am
post #5 of 20

Its somewhere in between. It's not as dense at pound cake but its not as airy as a cake mix. It is a little dense but not dry or like poundcake.

sayhellojana Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 1:44am
post #6 of 20

Red Velvet is NOT a lightly flavored chocolate cake. Its nice to think of it as the flavor of vanilla&chocolate. RV should be moist and not dense at all. The recipe from this site - Southern Red Velvet II is very good, but use 2 Tablespoons instead of 2 tsps cocoa powder. 2tsps just isn't enough.
HTH

pinkpiggie78 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 1:48am
post #7 of 20

I never heard of it being a mix of chocolate and vanilla... everyone I ever asked told me it should be lightly flavored chocolate. The recipe I used had 2 Tbsps of cocoa powder, as did the other two. Now I am more confused than ever!

Ladyfish74 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 1:52am
post #8 of 20

I live in the south and although I was not born here, I've been here long enough to have my share of red velvet. All the red velvet cakes that I've had that were considered good--by the southerners I was with--were very moist, medium weight, fine textured cakes with enough food coloring in them to make them very red.

I can taste the food color myself and don't like the taste so I put just enough in to give it a red hue. Most everybody I know says they can't taste the coloring even when there is a lot of it. They like it really red because (I think) it has a more luxurious look and it makes you feel spoiled when you eat it.

I know there are red colorings that are tasteless but I don't know much about them. There are people on this site who do. Maybe one of them will post and can direct you.

Oh yes, the cakes down here taste very definitely chocolate.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 1:55am
post #9 of 20

While I have been testing recipes, I have been leaving out the coloring... I am planning on using Wilton's "no-taste" red.

Back to the vanilla/choco mix... I guess I would expect to add more than the standard tsp of vanilla extract to get more of a vanilla taste... because the choco definately over powers it.

Wendoger Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 1:57am
post #10 of 20

There is no 'one' right way...everyone has their own recipe for this old favorite.
My aunts is very dense and super yummyicon_wink.gif

The recipe I have used, which I got off the net, was lighter, but yummy as well.

I am sure some folks on here will say that it should be one way or the other..but really, as long as its yummy...who cares! icon_wink.gif

pinkpiggie78 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 2:02am
post #11 of 20

Thanks Wendoger. I guess my "problem" is that I have never had a red velvet cake where I said... "WOW... this is good!" Maybe I just don't like red velvet cake... but I find that hard to believe... cake and I are very good friends...

Wendoger Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 2:40am
post #12 of 20

...lol...yep, me too....a little frosting with cake is how I rollicon_wink.gif

I really enjoy my aunts RV cake...she makes it from scratch and it rocks...
But its not my absolute favorite....

I have made recipes that called for dutch coca, buttermilk, sour cream, bottles of red food coloring, etc...
They all were pretty good...but not like my auntsicon_wink.gif

pinkpiggie78 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 2:48am
post #13 of 20

For me... the best part of red velvet cake is the frosting!!

I took another look at Paula Deen's recipe... I think I might give that a shot before I make a decision on which recipe will be "my" red velvet recipe...

I never made a box red velvet cake... are they even close to what it should taste like?

prterrell Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 2:54am
post #14 of 20

To me, the flavor of a red velvet cake comes primarily from the buttermilk and the tiny bit of vinegar with just a hint of chocolate. Make sure you do NOT use dutch-processed cocoa powder. I prefer to use the Wilton no-taste red (I use the whole container). It's honestly the only time I use Wilton coloring. For decorating I use Americolor brand colors. I do not like the rv cake from a box mix, for some reason it tastes like artificial banana flavoring to me (which is not an ingredient, so I have no idea why it always smells and tastes like that to me).

pinkpiggie78 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 2:59am
post #15 of 20

I definately prefered the recipe I found on the martha stewart site (the really light texture) with the buttermilk and the vinegar, to the southern living one (the dense cake) that didn't have either.

Ladyfish74 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 3:16am
post #16 of 20

Anyone ever make red velvet cake balls? They are to die for!

adikhawaja1 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 3:20am
post #17 of 20

I've always used the Paula Deen recipe and add a little more cocoa powder and 1 Tb. less of the red color and people LOVE IT! they always want seconds! icon_smile.gif hth

FeGe_Cakes Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 3:34am
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by prterrell

To me, the flavor of a red velvet cake comes primarily from the buttermilk and the tiny bit of vinegar with just a hint of chocolate. Make sure you do NOT use dutch-processed cocoa powder. I prefer to use the Wilton no-taste red (I use the whole container). It's honestly the only time I use Wilton coloring. For decorating I use Americolor brand colors. I do not like the rv cake from a box mix, for some reason it tastes like artificial banana flavoring to me (which is not an ingredient, so I have no idea why it always smells and tastes like that to me).




Why do you say not to use dutch-processed cocoa powder? I read in Martha Stewart's wedding book she states to use dutch-processed cocoa.

Just wondering.

prterrell Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 6:07pm
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeGe_Cakes

Why do you say not to use dutch-processed cocoa powder? I read in Martha Stewart's wedding book she states to use dutch-processed cocoa.

Just wondering.




From joyofbaking.com:

Quote:
Quote:

Dutch-Processed or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless there are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used.




A LOT of recipes do call for the Dutch-processed cocoa powder in Red Velvet cake (including the recipe on the above mentioned joyofbaking.com). However, according to James Beard in his 1972 book American Cookery, the original Red Velvet cake recipes relied on the reaction of the acidic buttermilk and vinegar with regular cocoa powder to create a reddish color and red food coloring (or even beets) were not added until later when Dutch-processed cocoa powder began to be used as it would not result in this same reaction. The addition of the coloring resulted in a much brighter red cake than the original chemical reaction would have created, and over time this brighter hue became the desired color of the cake.

I find that when regular cocoa powder is used, along with the buttermilk and the small amount of vinegar, the increased acidity of the cake creates a more tender crumb and a tangier-tasting cake (and it is that unique flavor of a cake with a higher acidity than most cakes have that I find indispensable to a Red Velvet cake, after all the small amount of cocoa powder lends but a subtle background note). The reason cream cheese icing is so very popular with this cake is that it further enhances this tangy-ness.

I have eaten RV cake made with Dutch-processed cocoa powder and I vastly prefer the taste and texture of the cake when made with regular cocoa powder. In the end, it really is a personal preference.

Call me insane, but I really do put this much thought and research into the recipes I develope! icon_wink.gif

FeGe_Cakes Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 6:51pm
post #20 of 20

Thanks for that info. I read a little more on joy of baking website. I learned something today. I made two different recipes in the past to see which one i preferred. One called for dutch-cocoa and the other did not. Well I used the dutch-cocoa when I should have used the natural cocoa. And even though the taste was good..the texture was off. Kind of chewy. I read on that sight about substituing the wrong cocoa in a recipe could cause a "soapy" texture.

Thanks. I will have to try my recipes again this weekend.

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