Add Cocoa Powder To Vanilla Cake To Make Red Velvet?

Baking By jennicake Updated 9 Nov 2013 , 7:50pm by jennicake

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jennicake Posted 8 Nov 2013 , 5:00am
post #1 of 6

I know there is more to a red velvet cake than it's color.  If I take a vanilla cake recipe (one that already uses buttermilk), add a few tbsp of cocoa powder and some red dye... would this work as red velvet?  I love my vanilla recipe and really don't want to toy with a new red velvet recipe if I don't have to.  Thanks :)

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CONFECTIONERIE Posted 8 Nov 2013 , 5:45am
post #2 of 6

Red Velvet Cakes also have vinegar in them, usually apple cider vinegar.  Traditionally, it was the chemical reaction of the vinegar and cocoa powder that caused the red color (I pretty sure on that one anyways), but now-a-days that color is enhanced with food coloring.  If you want to make a red velvet cake I would follow an actual red velvet recipe rather than adding cocoa powder and red coloring to vanilla cake.

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VanillaSky Posted 8 Nov 2013 , 12:21pm
post #3 of 6

AI used to use a hybrid of the cakeman raven's and bobby flay's recipe, but I wanted all of my recipes to be based off my basic yellow cake, because I love it and because I wanted to standardize.

I did a side-by-side comparison of my hybrid recipe and yellow cake recipe, and made te following adjustments to my yellow cake recipe to make it red velvet:

Decreased cake flour by amount of cocoa added - 2 tbsp for 8" round. .

Swapped amounts of baking powder and baking soda. My yellow cake recipe called for 2 parts baking powder to 1 part baking soda, and I switched that around because almost every red velvet cake I saw used a lot of baking soda.

My yellow cake recipe is all butter and the hybrid red velvet recipe i had previously used was half-butter, half coconut oil. When I modified my yellow cake recipe, I kept the same total amount of fat, but went with half butter and half coconut oil (or any veggie oil you like).

My yellow cake recipe already used buttermilk, so I kept that -and the same amount, even though most red velvet cake recipes use a lot more.

I added a tbsp of vinegar and a tsp of red color.

Otherwise, I made no other changes. Obviously your tweaks will need to be adjusted for your recipe.

If you know your vanilla cake recipe is versatile and forgiving - I'd say go for it.

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cakeyouverymuch Posted 8 Nov 2013 , 3:06pm
post #4 of 6

Alternatively, you could try the Lorann red velvet emulsion with your current vanilla cake recipe.  I have used it with my vanilla cake recipe that makes two 8 inch layers with great success.  I have also tried it with my almond cake recipe that makes three 8 inch layers, also with great success.  I add one tablespoon of the emulsion and one tablespoon of cocoa powder for each layer.  I add the cocoa powder to the dry ingredients and the emulsion to the liquid.  You do need to mix the emulsion into the buttermilk really well or you will wind up with streaks in the cake.  HTH

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jennicake Posted 8 Nov 2013 , 11:10pm
post #5 of 6

Thanks for the responses!  I made a couple changes to my vanilla recipe and threw it in the oven now, so fingers crossed that it will work out.  If not, I'll pick up Lorann Red Velvet emulsion.  And if that still doesn't do it, then I guess I'll find myself a red velvet recipe and start tweaking.  I'll never understand why people like this flavor... I swear all I taste is dye.

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jennicake Posted 9 Nov 2013 , 7:50pm
post #6 of 6

In case anyone was curious, tweaking the vanilla recipe seemed to work!  

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