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Red Velvet Cake

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#61 celenes

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 05:28 PM

Actually no they don't want cupcakes they want a decent slice of cake with a strawberry. The objective of the pre-slice is so that folks can see the cake is red??? But to me if you know what red velvet cake is you already know if is red.

I thought if I made individual loaves it would be a better presentation versus precutting a large sheet cake and a half. It is my understanding the cakes will be out for those in attendance to view so it is not like it will come from the back and be placed in front of the guest.

It just seems backwards to me.
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#62 prasantrin

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 06:03 PM

Actually no they don't want cupcakes they want a decent slice of cake with a strawberry.  The objective of the pre-slice is so that folks can see the cake is red???  But to me if you know what red velvet cake is you already know if is red.

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I think the objective of the pre-slice is for them to save a bit on serving costs. By having you slice it, guests can easily serve themselves and they don't have to pay a cutting fee. In addition, if they allowed guests to cut their own, they would have to worry about some cutting off too much (or too little). Pre-slicing will take away that worry, as each guest will take a predetermined amount.

I hope you are adding to your fee for the service if you do, indeed, give it to their request.

Is icing involved? If so, definitely warn them that you cannot guarantee a beautiful final product, and let them know there is a reason large cakes are usually not pre-cut.

An alternative, perhaps you can suggest that you score the icing, rather than make full cuts. They could get their pre-determined sizing, and you want have to worry as much about the mess (or the ruin of the appearance of the cake).

Failing all that, I wonder if you could make-up a hack-saw type piece of equipment using string or dental floss (make sure it's very taut) as the blade. Clean after every cut. Works when I make souffle cheesecakes, but those are much smaller in size that a full sheet slab cake.

#63 Pam R

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 06:24 PM

I second the idea of freezing then slicing. You may find that semi-frozen is the best time to cut it for clean lines. Dip your favorite knife in hot water before slicing. Do you have a really long knife (or a two handled long knife) that allows you to slice the cake from side to side in one go? That helps with keeping things neat and equal.

I love my cake-dividing gadgets. The ones I have for sheet pans are adjustable and allow me to choose the size. The other option is to buy a new, plastic, washable yard-stick.

I also like the idea mentioned by somebody upthread - cut the cake into pieces and then pipe a dollup of icing on each piece and top with a strawberry.

#64 K8memphis

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 06:43 PM

Well, red velvet can be crumby I mean a lot of crumbs so that's a possible issue but usually scoring a sheet cake is a normal thing to ask a baker or bakery to do. You just cut it and ice it. Then when the client slides the spatula under the cake each slice just comes a loose y'know? Very common request for the most part. Maybe I'm not understanding what you mean. You want to use a nice fluffy icing.

I mean if you run into a lot of crumbs when you ice it, just crumb coat it & come back later & do a final coat & add the strawberries. The strawberries will become the x's that mark the spot.

#65 lia

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 07:38 PM

Beet juice? I can use straight beet juice?

I just made a lovely "Beige Velvet Cake" which I'm sure will be delicious, but how ridiculous is it that I COULD NOT find red food coloring anywhere? And it was an impulsive decision made this afternoon so I didn't have time to order anything from King Arthur or somewhere. Never thought of beet juice.

#66 andiesenji

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 08:32 PM

For future reference, Michael's craft supplies usually has a pretty good stock and when there is none on display, I ask and they have always managed to find some in the back.
It is the paste type and needs to mixed with a liquid. I mix it with egg yolk because it emulsifies nicely and mixes easier.
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#67 bripastryguy

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 07:18 AM

I have made this cake for the last few weeks at my shop. The customers who try it love it. I layer it with white chocolate cream cheese buttercream and mask it with meringue, torch the top and press left over RV crumbs to the side. I make jumbo cupcakes also. It kills me everytime I make as to the amount of red color needed. I use a no taste liquid color diluted with water (my recipe calls for 1qt. I do alittle more than 2 cups color and the rest water)

Either you love or you dont. My wife prefers it to have vanilla bean whipped cream between the layers. She sells it as an alternative to our ultra decadent DOUBLE CHOCOLE INDULGENCE
"Chocolate has no calories....
Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence
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#68 Jaymes

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 08:24 AM

I've never had a red cake that I thought was a 'great' cake. The taste is very mild chocolate (almost hard to detect), the texture is not real moist. It's rather plain, nothing that knocks your socks off.

I'd guess that explains why it's not a hugely popular cake from coast to coast. This is my husbands favorite cake, why I'm not certain...........but it's something Grandma and Mom would always bake for his b-day. Maybe it's the combination of the frosting that isn't too sweet or rich with a simple cake that appeals to people.........


I don't understand this. For one thing, I do think it's a "hugely popular cake from coast to coast," and has been for decades. In fact, it seems that many folks love it so much that they claim it as belonging exclusively to their own region. In several places where I've lived, they even had 'Red Velvet Cake Cookoffs,' and a separate category for Red Velvet Cake at county and state fairs. I know because the recipe I use (from a friend) won a few.

Also don't get the "not real moist" thing. My recipe, anyway, is VERY moist.

No, there's not a strong chocolate taste. Just rich, deep layers of flavor. The vinegar and buttermilk provide a tang that is the first flavor you taste, and then comes the undertone of chocolate.

I don't know, but I'm pretty old and have lived all over the country, certainly from "coast to coast," and as far south as Florida, north as Alaska, east as New York, west as California, and I've found that cake to be a favorite most everywhere.

It's certainly one of mine.

Edited by Jaymes, 22 December 2005 - 08:32 PM.


#69 mikeycook

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 10:28 AM

We ordered a Red Velvet Cake for Thanksgiving from Cake Man Raven in Brooklyn. It is their signature cake and it is excellent. They have the the recipe online.
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#70 dianalane

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 10:52 AM

Red Velvet cake is a holiday tradition in my husband's family. With my MIL passing away a decade ago the baking of the cake falls on me. Even if I use "no taste" red, I swear I can still taste something funny. I am very interested in using beet juice. So, I cook the beets, squeeze out beet juice and use 2 oz to sub for 2 oz food coloring?
[SIZE=1][COLOR=blue]"A few days ago, I heard a doctor talking on television about the dangers of stress. It can kill you. It can cause a heart attack or stroke. The doctor listed many ways of coping with stress. Exercise. Diet Yoga. Talk a walk. I yelled, "Bake cookies." I often talk to the television. I yelled it again and again. The doctor went on with his list of 12 ways to reduce stress and he never once mentioned my sure-fire treatment......"

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#71 mikeycook

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 11:14 AM

Red Velvet cake is a holiday tradition in my husband's family. With my MIL passing away a decade ago the baking of the cake falls on me. Even if I use "no taste" red, I swear I can still taste something funny. I am very interested in using beet juice. So, I cook the beets, squeeze out beet juice and use 2 oz to sub for 2 oz food coloring?

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Is it possible 2oz is too much? The Cake Man Raven recipe only calls for 1oz.
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#72 dianalane

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 11:35 AM

Okay then: Equal amount of beet juice to sub for food coloring?
[SIZE=1][COLOR=blue]"A few days ago, I heard a doctor talking on television about the dangers of stress. It can kill you. It can cause a heart attack or stroke. The doctor listed many ways of coping with stress. Exercise. Diet Yoga. Talk a walk. I yelled, "Bake cookies." I often talk to the television. I yelled it again and again. The doctor went on with his list of 12 ways to reduce stress and he never once mentioned my sure-fire treatment......"

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#73 andiesenji

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 01:02 PM

This is a family recipe, it is a little different than the ordinary Red Velvet cake.
There is no food coloring used in it and certainly no beets.

MEEMAW’S RED VELVET CAKE

It is very important to follow the directions exactly. Note there is no baking powder in this cake. The action of the acids and alkaline ingredients mixed in the proper order and the extended beating to incorporate air into the batter is what leavens this cake.

You must start with all ingredients at room temperature so set the eggs out and measure out the buttermilk at least an hour before you plan to start mixing.

2-2/3 cups all purpose flour (you can also use 1/2 all purpose and 1/2 cake flour for a more tender cake and a finer texture)
1/2 cup Crisco (This is important for the texture, butter doesn’t work as well.)
2 large eggs - room temp.
1 level teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 rounded Tablespoons cocoa (regular, not Dutch process)
1 cup buttermilk - room temp (or 3/4 cup sour creamed thinned with a little milk to make 1 cup).
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup pitted canned cherries(sweetened), drained and pureed (do not use cherry pie filling)
1/4 cup grenadine syrup
2 teaspoons vinegar

First grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans - or line with bakers parchment. You can also use a large rectangular pan.

In a large mixing bowl cream the shortening, sugar and vanilla, beat until very fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating each until completely incorporated into the batter, set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa, cherry puree, grenadine syrup and vinegar and set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together the buttermilk, flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Turn oven on, set at 350 degrees F.

Add the cocoa/cherry mix to shortening/sugar/vanilla, blend well.
Add the buttermilk/ flour/baking soda/ salt mixture to the batter and blend until batter is completely smooth and looks silky.
Continue beating on medium speed for 3 minutes. This is important!

Pour batter into the cake pans.
With a rubber (or silicone) spatula, start at the center and turning the pans, spread the batter out toward the edges so the level is slightly lower in the center.
Bake for 50 minutes, test with a cake tester, if it still appears moist, bake an additional 5-10 minutes.

Edited by andiesenji, 22 December 2005 - 01:03 PM.

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#74 andiesenji

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 01:19 PM

I posted the recipe in RecipeGullet.
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#75 lia

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 07:51 PM

I used the Cakeman Raven recipe as well.

But please someone give more info on the beet juice. Can I just juice a beet and use that? Won't the flavor be strong? Or should I use dianalane's suggestion to cook the beets first?

hm...I wonder how the liquid in canned beets would work....you'd need to cut the vinegar then, no?

eta: I'm eating a piece now, and it's really an amazingly delicious cake. Even better than the version at Billy's Bakery which is where I got hooked on the thing in the first place. I just want to make it look as pretty.

Edited by lia, 22 December 2005 - 07:55 PM.


#76 2010

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 04:01 AM

I just finished watching an episode of Oprah where her friend Gale went around the country on a quest to find the best cake. They mentioned a bakery in LA called Doughboys that makes a fabulous Red Velvet Cake. Oprah didn't seem all too excited about it but I have to know, what's so special about Red Velvet cake? I've never tried it.
Something about the red food coloring part turns me off a bit but I am going to LA this Aug. so I must try a piece from this bakery.

Does anyone have a good recipe to post? Thanks!

#77 K8memphis

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 05:35 AM

It's basically like a buttermilk type cake with a coupla tablespoons of cocoa in it and an obscene amount of red food coloring. Now my little Mom made a red devil's food cake back in the day that was to die for. Oh my yes it was a very Happy Birthday or any other happy day with a big ole' slice of that stuff. But red velvet is popular because of that movie with Julia Roberts, was it Steel Magnolia's?

It really seems to be a weany cake--not rich not particularly moist, just carbs loaded with enough red food color to hyperactivate schools full of children. Merely a platform for red food color to the point sometimes it weeps red. And generally slathered with cream cheese icing to give it some flavor. Maybe it needs the cream cheese tang to balance the red food color aftertaste.

Loads of recipes on the net though. In my opinion, it's an oxymoron to say good red velvet recipe. No offense to anyone.

#78 KatieLoeb

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 06:41 AM

Yum. Red dye #5. My favorite. :wacko:

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#79 Jaymes

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 07:37 AM

It really seems to be a weany cake--not rich not particularly moist, just carbs loaded with enough red food color to hyperactivate schools full of children. Merely a platform for red food color to the point sometimes it weeps red. And generally slathered with cream cheese icing to give it some flavor. Maybe it needs the cream cheese tang to balance the red food color aftertaste.

Loads of recipes on the net though. In my opinion, it's an oxymoron to say good red velvet recipe. No offense to anyone.


Yes, there are "loads of recipes on the net" and loads of recipes here on eGullet, since we've already talked about it many, many, many times.

Yes, there are versions that are "not rich not particularly moist....blah blah blah," just like every single other type of cake for which many recipes exist.

But there are also versions that are extremely rich and extremely moist and extremely flavorful. Several are posted on eGullet, including mine.

At its best, it is in fact one of the most rich, moist and flavorful of cakes, possessing the tang of buttermilk and vinegar, and a subtle underlay of chocolate.

And also in fact, it was very popular before "that movie with Julia Roberts," and many locales around the US even had Red Velvet Cake cookoffs, some of which, at state fairs, my recipe won, long before the movie.

In my personal opinion, different strokes for different folks.

But, hey, no offense taken.

Edited by Jaymes, 27 June 2006 - 09:07 PM.


#80 Megan Blocker

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 08:18 AM

But red velvet is popular because of that movie with Julia Roberts, was it Steel Magnolia's?

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I don't know if the "bleedin' armadillo" cake was such a huge trend-starter. :laugh: That is one of my all-time favorite movie moments, when Shirley MacLaine hacks off the armadillo's butt and hands it to Tom Skeritt, who replies, "Thanks, Ouiser. Nothin' like a nice piece of ass."

Edited by Megan Blocker, 27 June 2006 - 02:36 PM.

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#81 shaloop

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 08:35 AM

I'm an au natural kind of girl myself when it comes to cooking and shy away from artificial colors and flavors in baking, but, had a request for red velvet cake and looked up numerous recipes on the net and came up with one that people love. It uses less oil than Jaymes' recipe and more cocoa. It is moist, tender, faintly cocoa with a buttermilk/vinegar mild tang and finished off with a creamy, delish cream cheese frosting. It's actually good! As far as the color, I only use 1 ounce food color, but I guess without it it would be a strange color for a cake. (Light tannish, pinkish, brownish, lol.) Anyway, it is a tasty cake but I only make it when requested as I don't care for using the food color.

#82 mikeycook

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 08:56 AM

I grew up in New England and was not familiar with Red Velvet Cake until I saw Cake Man Raven making one on TV (either on Martha's show or Sara Moulton's... can't remember). I bought one last Thanksgiving and really liked it. It was very moist and very flavorful. Interestingly, it had enough of a chocolate taste to be liked by the chocoholics in the family, but not so much that those who resist chocolate didn't like it. Subsequently, I found they sell Red Velvet Cupcakes at Ruthy's in Chelsea Market which are also delicious.

My general experience has been that if someone makes good cakes they make good cakes. Period. If I like one type of cake from a bakery, I am likely to like their other cakes as well (assuming the flavor is something I like). This is has been my experience 90+% of the time. My assumption is that these bakeries are generally consistent in some overall points across all of their cakes, such as levels of sweetness, moisture, etc.

Also, Cake Man Raven puts his recipe on his web site if anyone is interested in yet another recipe.
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#83 Jaymes

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:01 AM

I'm an au natural kind of girl myself when it comes to cooking and shy away from artificial colors and flavors in baking, but, had a request for red velvet cake and looked up numerous recipes on the net and came up with one that people love.  It uses less oil than Jaymes' recipe and more cocoa.  It is moist, tender, faintly cocoa with a buttermilk/vinegar mild tang and finished off with a creamy, delish cream cheese frosting.  It's actually good!  As far as the color, I only use 1 ounce food color, but I guess without it it would be a strange color for a cake.  (Light tannish, pinkish, brownish, lol.)  Anyway, it is a tasty cake but I only make it when requested as I don't care for using the food color.


Yes, the food color thing bothers me as well, so I don't make it so much anymore either. Contrary to k8's opinion, this cake was very popular back when we didn't think that much about the health aspects of what we ate. Especially when it came to desserts. After all, we did always realize that sugars and fats were not so good for you as carrot sticks.

But that cake, well made, is delicious. And deserves its many fans.

#84 Lindacakes

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:31 AM

I support Jaymes' support of red velvet cake for all the same reasons. There's something about the flavor of a good red velvet cake that can't be beat. It's all in the buttermilk/vinegar thing, and as an oil-based cake, it's extremely moist. Ditto on the cream cheese icing, very tangy.

As far as the 2 ounces of red food coloring goes: I eat this cake once a year. on Valentine's Day. I make it myself, I'm not interested in someone else's version. My sweetie and I each take a fork and work at meeting in the middle. I've eaten this cake in the bathtub. By candlelight. I've made this cake in small heart shaped pans and arranged them in an outward-facing circle on a magenta plate. I have large heart-shaped layer pans for it. I love this cake.

The red color is very important. It does look like velvet. Deep, rich, sensual. Exquisite.

So what if it all comes down to a red poo.
I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

#85 RodneyCk

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:36 AM

I have an old recipe that does not use food coloring, but pureed cherries and grenadine syrup. There is something about throwing in 1 1/2 bottles of red food coloring that is a little disturbing to me.

#86 Jaymes

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:37 AM

So what if it all comes down to a red poo.


:laugh:

#87 Jaymes

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:42 AM

There is something about throwing in 1 1/2 bottles of red food coloring that is a little disturbing to me.


But...but.... MY recipe only calls for 1 bottle of red food coloring. :raz:

#88 MissAmy

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 10:00 AM

Ooh red velvet cake! :wub: :wub: We Southern girls love our red velvet cake! It's my sister's favorite, and we use an old recipe of my great-grandmother's. I disagree that it is dry. Maybe if it's a bad recipe it is. Ours isn't. It's moist and rich and had just a slight tang that counteracts the cream cheese icing really well. It's to die for.

The Red Door Bakery in Arlington, TX, does an excellent version. They also have red velvet cupcakes so you can just get a little fix every now and then.
-Sounds awfully rich!
-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

#89 RodneyCk

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 10:05 AM

There is something about throwing in 1 1/2 bottles of red food coloring that is a little disturbing to me.


But...but.... MY recipe only calls for 1 bottle of red food coloring. :raz:

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I'm blind...I'm blind... :cool: :laugh:

#90 K8memphis

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 11:46 AM

Jaymes. It's good to know there's a good formula out there for red velvet, obviously I haven't tried your recipe. If I get an order for red velvet and I can't talk any sense into 'em (on the excessive food color issue) I'll surely use yours. And yes, the movie made that cake flavor very popular. Red velvet wasn't created for the movie, the movie popularized it. And popularized the armadillo cake as well.





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