Flavouring For A Red Velvet Cake

Baking By Shannie13 Updated 13 Aug 2009 , 4:09am by Shannie13

Shannie13 Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 6:02pm
post #1 of 15

Hi Everyone,

I am looking for some help for a wedding cake. The bride would like to have a red velvet cake, made from her grandmother's recipe however when I tested the recipe, I found it to have a "white" cake taste to it. Now here is my dilemna: the bride wants it to be chocolate flavoured. This is where I need some help.

1. Would flavouring it with a chocolate flavoured simple syrup work?
2. If I replace the vanilla (1 tsp) with a chocolate type flavour would that work?
3. Is there any way to flavour a standard French buttercream with a chocolate flavour incase I can't get the cake to come out chocolatey enough?

The cake will be covered in fondant as well.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you so much
Shannie

14 replies
cutthecake Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 6:24pm
post #2 of 15

Since Red Velvet Cake is a southern treat, I'm sure you'll get a good answer from one of CC's southern belles. But in the meantime, this Yankee wil give an answer. I thought Red Velvet Cake was a light chocolate cake. Is there any cocoa powder in the recipe you received? Around WWII, it was colored with beets, but is now usually colored with LOTS of red food coloring. I think you can taste the bitter, chemical flavor of all that food coloring, and I don't like that.

I googled the history of it which was interesting. You might find an answer that's better than mine by doing that if you don't want to wait for the experts here.

Shannie13 Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 6:39pm
post #3 of 15

thanks so much for replying Cutthecake! I did look up the history as I was looking for the alternatives to the red food colouring in the recipe. The beet juice was so interesting and for someone like me who is allergic to red food colouring it would be a perfect alternative. There is only 1 tsp of cocoa powder in it, I guess you could call it light chocolate, but when I tasted it, just wasn't chocolate to me. Someone told me that the cocoa powder is just to set the red colour in, but I don't know what the truth in that is either. Hopefully one of the experts can either laugh at me or tell me I am not a lost cause...lol

cutthecake Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 6:48pm
post #4 of 15
LaBellaFlor Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 6:53pm
post #5 of 15

Red Velvet Cake is supposed to have a hint of cocoa flavor, NOT taste like chocolate cake. That would then be a red colored chocolate cake. I add 6 TBLS of cocoa to mine, cause my kids (who only eat chocolate cake) prefer it to have a stronger cocoa flavor. This adds a more chocolate flavor without it having a straight up chocolate taste. Some people would say mine is no longer a Red Velvet Cake, cause of the extra cocoa powder, but I find that is still has the traditional taste with a stronger (not overwhelming) chocolate taste. My kids will eat it.

Suzycakes Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 6:59pm
post #6 of 15

I have what I consider to be the true Red Velvet Cake recipe - at home! I know for sure you are not putting enough cocoa in the recipe - but I'm hesitant to tell you how much until I double check my recipe to be sure. I am writing myself a note to check tonight and I will send it to you.

Red Velvet cake does have somewhat of a chocolate hint of flavor - but nothing at all like a regular chocolate cake. But it basically is a white cake with just a touch of cocoa and red food coloring. I think a lot of the flavor and the different texture comes from the buttermilk and baking soda.

I have also discovered that instead of using the two (2) - 1 oz bottles of red food coloring that my recipe calls for - I use one (1) - 1 oz bottle of red food coloring and then I refill the bottle with tap water and pour that in the mix for the other oz plus a little more red coloring.

My recipe came from DH's Aunt Ginny - who was the only to make this cake for family gatherings for well over 60 years. Luckily - a few months before she died I talked her into giving it to me - by promising that I would carry on her tradition of bringing to to the family gatherings. She was a wonderful, sweet lady - and a fantastic baker! It is my DH's favorite cake.

Win Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 7:02pm
post #7 of 15

Southern Belle here... one of the biggest misconceptions about Red Velvet (and there are many!) is that it is a chocolate cake. It is not! It is a truly uniquely flavored cake. My recipe dates back to when my grandmother started making it in the fifties.

Also in the South is a cake called Red Devil's Food. It is quite similar to Red Velvet, but has a deeper underlying layer of chocolate. This might be closer to what you are looking for. Sorry about the allergy to Red Food Color... I've tried these cakes with the beet alternative and I just don't think they come up to scratch. You might want to let your bride taste before she commits to the one she likes most.

Recipe Red Devil's Food Cake:

Ingredients:

* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
* 1/2 cup hot melted shortening
* 2 large eggs, beaten
* 1 teaspoon liquid red food coloring
* 2 tablespoons hot brewed coffee
* 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 scant teaspoon baking soda
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla

http://southernfood.about.com/od/chocolatecakes/r/bl40621q.htm

cutthecake Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 7:12pm
post #8 of 15

Now that the Southern Belles are here.......
Is anyone else put off by that chemical taste? I made a Red Velvet Cake for a family gathering, and everyone raved about it. But I really didn't like that bitter taste. No one else objected to it or even tasted the bitterness. Heck, I don't want to make a cake if I don't like the taste! And it was family, so I know they would have told the truth!

Shannie13 Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 7:14pm
post #9 of 15

LaBellaFlor- Thank you so much! I was contemplating just adding more cocoa powder to the recipe. This bride is a friend so I know what she wants and her vision of her cake, and I just want to make it perfect for her. I can't blame your kids....I prefer chocolate cake too!!

Suzycakes- Thank you as well. The information about the food colouring is invaluable and I will definitely try that. I also appreciate you looking up your recipe for me. This recipe was given to the bride from her grandmother who unfortunately has passed on before her wedding, and the information her father has given her is that he doesn't remember much but it tasted like chocolate.

Win- Thank you so much for posting that recipe. In all honesty your recipe is alot similar to the recipe I was given minus the coffee. I think your advice about letting the bride try it first is also a good idea and one I have played with for the last week. She is somewhat adament about this recipe and the tie in to family traditions, but I don't want her to be disappointed in the flavour of the cake.

You are all wonderful for sharing your insight and valuable information with me, it is greatly appreciated!!
Shannie

ladyellam Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 7:18pm
post #10 of 15

There is a chocolate extract you could use to "bump" up the chocolate flavour. I bought mine at Sur La Table. It's called Star Kay White's pure chocolate extract. I use it to make a chocolate frosting that doesn't have to look like a traditional one. It really is very good and I use it to help the chocolate flavour to really come out.

Red Velvet cake is a flavour all to its' own however you can always tweak it for the customer. HTH

Kathy

Win Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 8:50pm
post #11 of 15

Win- Thank you so much for posting that recipe. In all honesty your recipe is alot similar to the recipe I was given minus the coffee. I think your advice about letting the bride try it first is also a good idea and one I have played with for the last week. She is somewhat adament about this recipe and the tie in to family traditions, but I don't want her to be disappointed in the flavour of the cake.
[/quote]


Okay, so then, it sounds like you might have closer to a Red Devil's Food recipe... (coffee enhances chocolate and brings the layering to the surface.)

Here's my Red Velvet, again, very old - but tried and true.

2 oz red food coloring
2 heaping T cocoa
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp soda

Make a paste of red food coloring, cocoa and cream that thoroughly with the 1/2 cup of shortening and sugar. Add, one at a time, eggs and make sure each is well incorporated. To that, add the paste from the first step. Next add one cup buttermilk alternately with the cake flour and salt. Beat well after each addition. Add vanilla. Finally, put vinegar into soda (this will cause it to foam) and fold it into the batter. Divide and bake in three 8" pans in a 350 degree oven for about 25 to 30 minutes.

I wonder how that compares to your other recipe...?

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Win Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 9:01pm
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecake

Now that the Southern Belles are here.......
Is anyone else put off by that chemical taste? I made a Red Velvet Cake for a family gathering, and everyone raved about it. But I really didn't like that bitter taste. No one else objected to it or even tasted the bitterness. Heck, I don't want to make a cake if I don't like the taste! And it was family, so I know they would have told the truth!




icon_biggrin.gif I know some people speak of the "chemical" taste... I'm not sure what that might be other than a real sensitivity to the red food coloring? I'm not sure I have ever tasted red velvet and thought "chemically." As well, there are those who "flat out" hate it altogether. It is a cake; however, that tastes better the next day. As well, (and I know this causes great, great controversy) the real and original frosting that went with is is a cooked frosting - not cream cheese. IMHO, cream cheese is fine if you need the cake for weddings, etc., but when you have the cake the way it was made when I was growing up, there is just no other flavor combination to match it.

Red Velvet Icing (Traditional):

3T flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir together and cook until thick the flour and milk. ( I add the milk to the flour a little at a time so it does not lump.)
Take off stove and cool completely. This is a MUST.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla. Beat the two mixtures together until the consistency of whipped cream.

Typo - edited

Suzycakes Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 3:17am
post #13 of 15

My recipe is exactly like the one in the recipe section here on CC titled "Old fashion red velvet cake with flour and milk frostong' posted by Let There Be Cake 07 -- EXCEPT - AFTER adding the 1 bottle of red food coloring - I fill that bottle with tap water and add that to the mixture. My aunt used 2 bottles of food coloring in her original recipe.

Other than that difference all of the ingredients and instructions are the same.

HTH

suze

LaBellaFlor Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 3:25am
post #14 of 15

I've only used 1 bottle of food coloring and it comes out a nice red. I never knew you could use two. I don't have a strong chemical taste or "red food color" taste in mine.

Shannie13 Posted 13 Aug 2009 , 4:09am
post #15 of 15

Thank you everyone for your help! I am going to take a sample to the bride by the weekend but I am going to tweak the recipe and add a bit more cocoa powder as that seems to be the consensus! You guys are truly amazing and I appreciate all your help!
Shannie

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