I am in need of some scratch baking suggestions.
In speaking with some friends and other moms and discovering a need for more natural foods for some groups of adults and children, I am trying my luck with a natural red velvet. I have been doing some research and experimenting. What I have found online is when using beetroot, acidity is important. The more acidic the batter the brighter the color.
Here is what I did the first time. I use weight measurements but listed volume here for simplicity.
1. Pureed 3 raw beetroots, adding tiny amounts of water when needed. This made about 1.5 cups of puree.
2. Creaming method with 1 cup of butter and 2.5 cups of sugar.
3. Add 2 eggs, one at a time until well blended.
4. Add 3/4 cup of beet puree.
5. Combine 2.25 cups of cake flour, 4 TBS cocoa, 1 tsp salt.
6. Alternate adding flour and 1 cup of buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour.
7. Add 2 TBS vanilla
8. Activated 1 tsp baking soda with 1 TBS vinegar and stirred it into batter.
I doubled the cocoa and vanilla to counteract the beety taste. The texture was nice, but the color was brown upon coming out of the oven. After sitting wrapped and sealed for 2 days, the color is darkening. The taste, well, it tastes like something is missing. It is not a bad taste, but not the best.
At the suggestion of a friend, here is what I did the second time.
*Added 2 TBS red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup of cranberry juice to the puree.
*Added 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp cream of tartar to the dry ingredients.
*Eliminated the baking soda and vinegar activation.
This yielded a completely different non-red velvet cupcake. It was quite fruity and delicious, but did not rise well and was a light pink color.
Any other suggestions?
I would suggest a few things. You need to cook the beets first, then purée them. Also check the cocoa you are using. You cannot use any Dutch processed cocoa because it is processed with an alkaline solution. You can use Hershey's cocoa. Continue to use the baking powder,but no baking soda. Baking soda has a high ph and you need to have the most acidity as possible. Also, if you want a brighter red decrease the cocoa powder to 2 tbsp.
Good luck with the recipe! Liz.