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Red Velvet Cake

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178 replies to this topic

#91 Jaymes

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 12:23 PM

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.


Hey, I ain't saying mine is the best. But it surely ain't dry and it ain't so bland that it requires icing to give it some flavor.

:rolleyes:

#92 2010

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 12:24 PM

Thanks for all the responses everyone. I guess I'd have to try a piece myself to make my own assessment. Still, a bottle or two of red food coloring? :blink: Oy! I'd be interested in anyone's recipe that uses a natural source for the red color vs. using food coloring. Would concentrated beet juice work?

Edited by 2010, 27 June 2006 - 12:25 PM.


#93 Nina C.

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 12:32 PM

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

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My southern family agrees that Cake Man's red velvet isn't chocolatey enough, but it is a hit here in Brooklyn. I suspect that Cake Man's personality and good deeds for the community have at least as much to do with his success as his recipe does.

My stepfather has a great red velvet cake recipe but keeps "forgetting" to give it to me :biggrin:
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#94 Jaymes

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 12:42 PM

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.


Just FWIW...Red Velvet Cake was THE single most chic and popular cake throughout the 50's, 60's, and into the 70's. You couldn't go to any party or covered dish supper or bake sale without running into at least one, and usually more. And, as I said above, there were many "Red Velvet Cake bakeoffs," and most state fairs had a separate category just for them.

They began to fade in popularity sometime during the 1970's when it was discovered that red dye #2 in large doses caused cancer.

Steel Magnolias wasn't released until 1989. Long after the heyday of Red Velvet Cake.

Although I suppose it's possible that the movie "popularized it" to a new generation that previously had not been familiar with it.

Edited by Jaymes, 27 June 2006 - 12:46 PM.


#95 JAZ

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 01:23 PM

Just FWIW...Red Velvet Cake was THE single most chic and popular cake throughout the 50's, 60's, and into the 70's.  You couldn't go to any party or covered dish supper or bake sale without running into at least one, and usually more.  And, as I said above, there were many "Red Velvet Cake bakeoffs," and most state fairs had a separate category just for them. 

They began to fade in popularity sometime during the 1970's when it was discovered that red dye #2 in large doses caused cancer.

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Maybe in some parts of the country. I'd never even heard of Red Velvet cake until I started reading internet food message boards, and I never once saw one at a bake sale, potluck or dinner in the 60's or 70's. I still have never seen one in person.

#96 RodneyCk

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 01:40 PM

I still have never seen one in person.

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Come to think of it, neither have I. Is this like some weird sci-fi channel thing?

#97 Jaymes

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 01:50 PM

Dunno. Guess, like so many things, it depended entirely upon where in the country you were and what you were interested in. It appears that, sadly, I've always been interested in cake.

In some locales, though, it was called "Waldorf Astoria cake" and there was one of those urban myths about how the ladies at lunch asked for the recipe, $100 got put on their bill, they asked a lawyer if they could do that, the lawyer said yes and charged them another $100, now they're spreading around the recipe....yada yada yada....you know the rest of that story.

Waldorf Astoria Cake and $100 Dollar Cake....

Do either of those names ring any more bells?

Edited by Jaymes, 27 June 2006 - 09:10 PM.


#98 Megan Blocker

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 02:01 PM

Maybe in some parts of the country. I'd never even heard of Red Velvet cake until I started reading internet food message boards, and I never once saw one at a bake sale, potluck or dinner in the 60's or 70's. I still have never seen one in person.

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Red velvet cupcakes were part of the big cupcake trend here about five years ago, and are still big sellers at the American-style bakeries (Buttercup Bakeshop, Magnolia, etc.).
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#99 Lindacakes

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 02:05 PM

My recipe calls for two ounces of red food coloring -- that's two bottles, depending on which size you buy . . .

I'm perplexed by everyone's fear of large amounts of food coloring. Red dye number two was taken off the market some time ago. Most flavors and perfumes are now made in a factory in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I'd be a lot more afraid of most packaged food than a bottle of food coloring.

We ingest all sorts of chemicals thoughtlessly -- hairspray, Windex, air freshener, Cool Whip, etc. but food coloring has people really running.

Maybe I missed something on the six o'clock news, though.

I got my recipe from one of those employee recipe books that a vendor mailed to us one year -- I work in publishing, so they made a little cookbook slash type catalogue. It was like, the six o'clock shift proofreader's recipe. It's basically the same as everyone else's.
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#100 Jaymes

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 02:12 PM

I'm perplexed by everyone's fear of large amounts of food coloring.  Red dye number two was taken off the market some time ago.  Most flavors and perfumes are now made in a factory in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  I'd be a lot more afraid of most packaged food than a bottle of food coloring.


Yes, I think that the slightly discomfited feeling is really more of a holdover about the red dye #2 than any real, current threat.

Edited by Jaymes, 27 June 2006 - 06:49 PM.


#101 RodneyCk

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 02:19 PM

Oy! I'd be interested in anyone's recipe that uses a natural source for the red color vs. using food coloring. Would concentrated beet juice work?

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Here is the one I have. I found it here on eGullet, no food coloring.

http://recipes.egull...806dfc056dafe27

#102 therese

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 02:31 PM

Red Velvet Cake was featured in "Steel Magnolias"? I didn't notice, but that was most likely because Red Velvet Cake's been a favorite in these parts (and every other place in the southeast that I've lived) as long as I can remember.

Red Velvet Cake's one of my very favorites: moist, nice sweet/sour balance. Cream cheese frosting crucial.
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#103 Megan Blocker

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 02:36 PM

Red Velvet Cake was featured in "Steel Magnolias"? I didn't notice, but that was most likely because Red Velvet Cake's been a favorite in these parts (and every other place in the southeast that I've lived) as long as I can remember.

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Yup! It's the groom's cake at Shelby's wedding (says the self-proclaimed Steel Magnolias addict - nothing better for a good cry).
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#104 Ling

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 10:23 PM

Maybe in some parts of the country. I'd never even heard of Red Velvet cake until I started reading internet food message boards, and I never once saw one at a bake sale, potluck or dinner in the 60's or 70's. I still have never seen one in person.

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I haven't seen it in Vancouver either, and I didn't hear of it until I started reading internet food boards a few years ago.

I'm interested in trying it, though, as I've never eaten it before. I have some grenadine syrup...could I sub it 1:1 for the red food coloring and lower the sugar in the recipe to compensate? Or would that affect the taste of the cake too much?

#105 eatrustic

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 11:27 PM

I thought I could work my way around the food coloring with beets but despite using raw grated and canned (depending on the various "healthy" recipes I tried) the finished product never had the red tinge that I thought a Red Velvet Cake should have.

Too bad. I like the idea of this retro cake but not with the dye. Just the thought of using maraschino cherries or grenadine - both of which are overly sweet and loaded with colorant makes me queasy.

#106 Ling

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 11:47 PM

Really...so grenadine is basically just red food colouring? I guess I can just leave the red colouring out then, and add 2 oz. of liquid (like water?)

#107 miladyinsanity

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 05:23 AM

Really...so grenadine is basically just red food colouring? I guess I can just leave the red colouring out then, and add 2 oz. of liquid (like water?)

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Just what I was thinking! I have Jaymes's recipe bookmarked, but the food coloring scares me, so I've not made it yet.
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#108 therese

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 05:51 AM

Really...so grenadine is basically just red food colouring? I guess I can just leave the red colouring out then, and add 2 oz. of liquid (like water?)

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Grenadine is (usually) pomegranate syrup and gets its red color and tart flavor from pomegranate (though of course commercial products may have added food coloring). Using grenadine would add sugar and pomegranate flavor to the cake.
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#109 Jaymes

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:06 AM

As someone else here said, the food coloring on the market today is quite safe, but even if you're still a little put off by the idea of it, the fact is that the recipe makes a fairly large two-layer cake.

I'm not sure how many servings that is, but it's a lot, unless you're with a pretty piggy group. Good recipes for this cake are rich and moist and with the cream cheese icing, you don't need a lot.

So in my recipe, that's 1 oz of red food coloring for something that probably feeds between 12-20 people. When you divide 1 oz of something into even 12 portions, you're not really getting that much of it.

Especially considering that it's something you would never eat every day, I can't think it's harmful in any way.

If you read the lables on prepared foods, colorant shows up often, as in: "natural colors and flavorings." Jell-O doesn't seem to be having any trouble selling its products. And look at all those people that stand around guzzling cokes day in and day out. I'm not a fan of sodas, and don't have one here to check, but it seems to me that I've read the labels on them before and they all have some sort of "caramel color" that makes them that dark brown. I think "caramel color" is different from just saying "caramel."

Although it's true that I don't make it several times a month, as I did during the big Red Velvet heyday, I do make Red Velvet Cake for special occasions two or three times a year. I think it's impossible that I'm harming anyone.

Zeroing in on this one thing seems to me to be just silly.

Edited by Jaymes, 28 June 2006 - 07:18 AM.


#110 K8memphis

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:31 AM

As someone else here said, the food coloring on the market today is quite safe...

So in my recipe, that's 1 oz of red food coloring for something that probably feeds between 12-20 people.  When you divide 1 oz of something into even 12 portions, you're not really getting that much of it...

I can't think it's harmful in any way...

I think it's impossible that I'm harming anyone...

Zeroing in on this one thing seems to me to be just silly.

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Well, that's another reason why I'm not a fan of the red velvet. Red food coloring can certainly be immediately harmful to hyperactive children. Hey, it's been in chocolate cake mix for example, bar-b-q chips, cheese products etc.. So those kids are problems anyway, but oh my yes it does send them further sky rocketing into space. And there are many other very harmless food items that can be avoided that will keep some of these kids from pinging off the ceiling. About fifty percent respond well to diet changes.

However, I respectfully disagree that red food color is not harmful. I believe it is harmful. And still I use it as needed in my line of work.

Who can deny, in general, the less junk we put in there, the better off we all are? So an ocassional foray into food color land is understandable. But it certainly can be harmful sometimes, if not undetected and harmful all the time. Besides it tastes like poo.

#111 Jaymes

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:36 AM

As someone else here said, the food coloring on the market today is quite safe...

So in my recipe, that's 1 oz of red food coloring for something that probably feeds between 12-20 people.  When you divide 1 oz of something into even 12 portions, you're not really getting that much of it...

I can't think it's harmful in any way...

I think it's impossible that I'm harming anyone...

Zeroing in on this one thing seems to me to be just silly.

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Well, that's another reason why I'm not a fan of the red velvet. Red food coloring can certainly be immediately harmful to hyperactive children. Hey, it's been in chocolate cake mix, bar-b-q chips, cheese products etc.. So those kids are problems anyway, but oh my yes it does send them further sky rocketing into space. And there are many other very harmless food items that can be avoided that will keep some of these kids from pinging off the ceiling. About fifty percent respond well to diet changes.

However, I respectfully disagree that red food color is not harmful. I believe it is harmful. And still I use it as needed in my line of work.

Who can deny, in general, the less junk we put in there, the better off we all are? So an ocassional foray into food color land is understandable. But it certainly can be harmful sometimes, if not undetected and harmful all the time. Besides it tastes like poo.

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Well then, if you and your children come to my home, you could certainly refuse to eat "the Devil's Cake."

:cool:

#112 RodneyCk

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:47 AM

I certainly don't want to eat anything that taste like poo. :blink:

It is one of those topics that one personally has to weigh, good for me or how hungry am I...hmmm? It is also one of those topics that ignites a field of fear and spreads like wildfire, sort of like "OMG...are these egg whites cooked in the Italian meringue buttercream? OMG...you leave butter sit out on your counter?..OMG!!!"

*sigh*

#113 K8memphis

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:58 AM

Well then, if you and your children come to my home, you could certainly refuse to eat "the Devil's Cake."

:cool:

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Naw, if I get an invite, buddy, I'm eating whatever you serve especially the home made goodies (except I'm not big on raw fish) But I'd sing a few bars if you start me off.

The kid is 6'4" now and a chef--he hated his diet--it totally worked--would still work if he stuck to it.

No, I just couldn't let all 'the food color is completely harmless' stuff pass unchecked. Didja see the part where I said I use it in my line of work?? I mean I had a girl the other day want a yellow & black scooter cake to match her work logo. I talked her into yellow and chocolate instead. Stuff like that.

What time is supper???

#114 Jaymes

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:22 AM

Naw, if I get an invite, buddy, I'm eating whatever you serve especially the home made goodies (except I'm not big on raw fish) But I'd sing a few bars if you start me off.

The kid is 6'4" now and a chef--he hated his diet--it totally worked--would still work if he stuck to it.

No, I just couldn't let all 'the food color is completely harmless' stuff pass unchecked. Didja see the part where I said I use it in my line of work?? I mean I had a girl the other day want a yellow & black scooter cake to match her work logo. I talked her into yellow and chocolate instead. Stuff like that.

What time is supper???


I don't believe I said that "all the food color is completely harmless."

What I intended to say, and what I'm pretty sure I DID say, is that in the quantities one would eat it in Red Velvet Cake (especially given the ubiquity of food color in the American diet; not to mention the frequency with which one is likely to eat Red Velvet Cake at all), zeroing in on this one thing is silly.

And I believe that.

Supper. I'll swing by your place. You'll be able to recognize me at once. I'll be the one with the Red Velvet Cake.

Edited by Jaymes, 28 June 2006 - 08:52 AM.


#115 K8memphis

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:35 AM

Supper.  I'll swing by your place.  You'll be able to recognize me at once.  I'll be the one with the Red Velvet Cake.

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High five :laugh:

#116 Ling

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 01:42 PM

I made Jaymes's recipe for Red Velvet cake today. The cake is very moist with all that oil. I doubled the amount of red food coloring (might as well go all the way :wink: ) because 2 oz. seemed to be the norm for a cake of that size, and I wanted the cake to be pretty damn red. I also added an extra tablespoon of cocoa.

The cake was quite sweet for me, so I barely used any sugar for the cream cheese frosting (only about 3 tbsp for an 8 oz. pack of cream cheese and 4 oz. of butter.)

I didn't make a double layer cake because one of the layers stuck to the pan a bit and came out ugly. :sad:

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#117 Jaymes

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 01:57 PM

I doubled the amount of red food coloring (might as well go all the way  :wink: ) because 2 oz. seemed to be the norm for a cake of that size, and I wanted the cake to be pretty damn red. 


:laugh:

And indeed it is.

#118 Ling

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:00 PM

I'll take that as a compliment. :laugh:

Thanks for the recipe!

#119 Nina C.

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:20 PM

So Lorna, this was your first time tasting red velvet cake - what did you think?

(don't worry - those of us with it in the blood won't be offended if you didn't like it. We'll just assume that a Canadian didn't make it properly! :raz: :biggrin: Just kidding - I can only aspire to bake as well as you, I'm sure.)
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#120 Jaymes

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:27 PM

So Lorna, this was your first time tasting red velvet cake - what did you think?

(don't worry - those of us with it in the blood won't be offended if you didn't like it. We'll just assume that a Canadian didn't make it properly!  :raz:  :biggrin: Just kidding - I can only aspire to bake as well as you, I'm sure.)


Let me hasten to add that if she didn't like it, I can't be held responsible since, on her own, she chose to double the amount of "poo."

:raz:





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