Might Be A Dumb Question About Red Velvet Cake...

Decorating By puddles_gal Updated 23 Jul 2011 , 10:53pm by louanne

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puddles_gal Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 9:15pm
post #1 of 19

Where I'm from, we never had Red Velvet cake growing up, nor had I ever heard of it until a few years ago. I got curious and tried it with a cream cheese icing and really liked it. I've only had it once though, and am getting requests to make it. However, I'm not sure- is it supposed to taste like a strong flavored chocolate cake, or have more of a subtle chocolate flavor? I also read that its a cross between chocolate and vanilla cake, which is kind of what I thought when I tasted it. If all you wonderful cakers out there wouldn't mind clarifying this for me, it would be appreciated! icon_biggrin.gif

18 replies
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louanne Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 9:22pm
post #2 of 19

you will get different opinions depending on where people of from. most people think of red velvet as more of a devils food type cake.

ours however is a variation we made ourselves which uses three different chocolates and buttermilk. cream cheese icing is a must. everyone loves our red velvet cake, a true red velvet cake in my opinion should be more of a burgundy color rather than blood red we use beet juice and powdered red color for our cakes color.

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kansaslaura Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 9:29pm
post #3 of 19

There is very little chocolate in my recipe for Red Velvet, 2 Tablespoons I think. It doesn't taste like chocolate at all, IMHO. I have always thought the little bit of chocolate is there to off-set the flavor the red food coloring can give.

I only bake one or two per year, but people always rave!

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psurrette Posted 22 Jul 2011 , 10:01pm
post #4 of 19

Red velvet cake, the creamy red decadent cake, has traditionally been a Southern specialty. The main ingredient most Southerners will not do without in their homemade recipes is cocoa. Many believe the additional ingredients of vinegar and buttermilk will turn the cocoa into a deeper red color. During World War II, some bakers who refused to forgo the cake's signature color despite food rations, (lack of chocolate) used boiled red beets instead of food coloring for their secret recipes.

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QTCakes1 Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 1:49am
post #5 of 19

It is NOT supposed to tatse like chocoalte no matter what part of the country. If it taste like a straight up chocolate cake, then that's what it is. It is supposed to ahve a subtle taste of choclate, like a "whisper". And yeah, there is usually only about 2 TBLS. in it, though I do add 3.

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LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 4:43am
post #6 of 19

Ours has only a couple of tbsp of cocoa as well. It has just a hint of chocolate flavor. It's kind of hard to describe the flavor of RV, but it's definitely not just "chocolate". It has almost a tangy flavor to me, I assume from the vinegar, and at the same time a rich, creamy flavor. One of my favorites!

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JanH Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 4:45am
post #7 of 19

Food Timeline: History of Red Velvet Cake


There are even recipes for RVC which don't use ANY cocoa, so the most basic common denominator would be a buttermilk based cake.


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carmijok Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 5:04am
post #8 of 19

I've always described it as a butter cake with a twang. It is not a chocolate cake...it should only have a hint of cocoa. Lots of people lighten up on the red coloring and create 'pink velvet' cakes. I love them!

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aundrea Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 5:38am
post #9 of 19

i make red velvet cake all the time. its my most requested cake.
it varies depending what part of the country you are from.
before i started making it-people here thought it was a dense chocolate cake colored red.
i find some people like it and others have heard horror stories about it then once they try it (well mine anyways) they like it.
its a very dense cake, that has very little cocoa in it. i use 2tbs only.
the unique flavor comes from the combo of vinager and buttermilk.
they main key is to keep the cake moist.
IMO even slightly over baked it can be very dry.
i use either cream cheese or white chocolate gnache as a filling.
the gnache makes the cake very rich. and again that it a matter of prefence.
red velvet is unique - thats the best way to describe it.

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suuz0808 Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 8:01am
post #10 of 19

The chocolate used to turn reddish, but since mr Van Houten found a new way to make cacao powder, it doesn't have that reaction anymore with acid.
So now we have to add food coloring icon_smile.gif

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Evoir Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 8:41am
post #11 of 19

Mine aren't dense, they are as light as any of my other scratch buttercakes. I describe it to my clients as a red-coloured, buttermilk-flavoured cake with a hint of chocolate.

As a non-Sounthern-USA dweller, should they be 'dense'? And what is the ideal temperature to bake one at? I have noticed that they are not ideal in 3" tall pans - they remain uncooked in the middle when the outside is baked perfectly...and thats something that doesn't happen with other buttercake-density cakes I make. So I tend to only bake them in shallow pans as individual layers.

Any ideas?

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aundrea Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 8:52am
post #12 of 19

IMO i think thats what makes it a true red velvet cake in the desnity.
my vanilla(s) chocolate(s) etc cakes are light and fluffy. but people who ask for red velvet from me know they are getting a denser cake.
i dont know the science of why mine are they just are.
which is why i have to soooo careful when i bake to make sure not to over cook them.
i tend to overfill my cakes anyways because i know im leveling off the top so even if the middle top isnt fully cooked it will be removed.
im from new england -connecticut and red velvet is finally becoming more available at area grocery stores.
and every time i see one i have to try it. its amazing how different each place taste.
the closet i found so is starbucks red velvet whoope pies. they have the desnity and little zing in them.
IMO the grocery stores taste more like chocolate cake with a heavy dose of red food coloring.

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Evoir Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 9:18am
post #13 of 19

Yeah, they're pretty rare here (in Australia). But on cable TV we get the same cake shows as you guys, and brides are always asking! I tasted some in MS and TX when I visited USA back in the late 80s. Now I'm making cakes I make my own version based on Cakeman Ravens recipe. It just doen't work in a taller (3") pan. It stays gummy in the top centre.

I want to spend some more time evolving the recipe to suit my needs...keeping the same flavour profile, but also getting it more like one of my madeira or richer buttercakes in texture, as I find mine quite 'light' (not fluffy though).

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mclaren Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 11:29am
post #14 of 19

Evoir, I bake my RV in 3inch pans all the time and never had any problems with the middle being uncooked.

I've always used Cakeman Raven's recipe, and baked at 160C all the time.

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Evoir Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 12:28pm
post #15 of 19

Wow...I wonder what I am doing wrong then?!?!

Maybe I am not baking long enough? The top even cracks open and the sides look a bit brownish, and they have been in there for ages, but I still get the wet centre/top (just under the crack).

I bake almost all my cakes at 160, so I am sure I'm not baking too hot.

I never get any issues with the shallow pans. icon_sad.gif Now I'm getting sad I can't succeed in baking them in a 3" pan!

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mclaren Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 12:54pm
post #16 of 19

Beats me Evoir! LOL.. One thing forI'm sure I not even half as talented as you in decorating (at awe looking at your pictures).

I use 9inch in diameter 3inch high springform pan for the Cakeman's RV recipe, if that matters. The pan has a non-shiny greyish finish. And I wrap my pans with a wet towel everytime I bake. icon_smile.gif

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Evoir Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 1:07pm
post #17 of 19

Thanks for those tips...maybe I was using too wide a pan...and yes, I always wrap my cakes in the oven to prevent overbrowning. It might just be me! Doomed to never succeed at RV cakes (except in cupcake form, or 2 tall inch pans, haha).

Oh and thanks for the nice comment about my decorating icon_smile.gif That was very sweet of you!

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QTCakes1 Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 9:25pm
post #18 of 19

I think that's why I didn't like Rose LEvy Beranbaum's red velvet recipe. It was the right taste, but the texture was all wrong. It had the light texture of a white cake and I think it should be dense. I do't like chocolate cake, but I love red velvet and that lovely dense texture.

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louanne Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 10:53pm
post #19 of 19

ours is pretty dense, we use buttermilk and a smidge of vinegar, we use the beet juice as i said earlier and we use more chocolate than most but it still doesnt taste like straight up chocolate cake. we use a couple TBLSp dark cocoa powder, and then 2 ounces of melted white chocolate and 1 ounce of melted milk chocolate. the buttermilk and vinegar ( and beets) help balance out the sweet of the chocolate.

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