• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Fay Jai

Red Velvet Cake

181 posts in this topic

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But red velvet is popular because of that movie with Julia Roberts, was it Steel Magnolia's?

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 (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So what if it all comes down to a red poo.

:laugh:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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:

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Also, Cake Man Raven puts his recipe on his web site if anyone is interested in yet another recipe.

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:


The Kitchn

Nina Callaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

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.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I still have never seen one in person.

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

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.).


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Panaderia Canadiense
      Hi all! I'm trying to perfect my lemon bar recipe, which is from my grandmother's Purity cookbook with all sorts of notations and changes she made. It's perfect in terms of flavour and the pâté sucree base works exactly as it should, but the topping is coming out too fluid.
       
      The topping is 3C sugar, 1/4C lemon juice, the zest off of those lemons, 1tsp baking powder, 6 eggs and 2C coconut.
       
      What can I do to firm it up a bit, so that it stays put once I cut the bars? Would cornstarch or tapioca flour do it?
       

    • By Daily Gullet Staff
      by David Ross

      I was pushing my shopping cart through the aisles of Yoke’s Supermarket on a recent “Fresh Friday,” when a spritely-sounding young woman announced over the public address system, “Attention shoppers, attention shoppers, two minutes until the next Cakewalk, two minutes.” Frozen with suspense and the anticipation of winning one of Yoke’s chocolate crème de menthe cakes, I stood pat on the number 36 yellow flower pasted on the floor in front of me. I wasn’t going to budge off that number 36 -- I wanted a cake. While I waited to hear my number called, I was overcome with a sense of nervous anxiety --the same emotion I had felt as a young boy waiting to win a cake when I was seven years old. I wondered why a boyhood fascination with winning a cake still left me with such a deep, lasting hunger some 47 years after I first danced a Cakewalk.

      What was it that tugged at my heart, telling me to delve deeper into the meaning of the Cakewalk? Why did I sense that there was an underlying truth I hadn’t discovered as a child? The only way I could unveil the mystique behind my relationship with this odd little dance to win a cake would lie in retracing the footsteps of my childhood, setting forth on a quest to discover the history of the Cakewalk.

      + + +
      We moved to Salem, Oregon from The Dalles, in the Summer of 1964, when my Father, Edgar Ross, accepted a position at the Oregon Department of Agriculture in the Commodity Commissions Bureau. My parents settled on a ranch-style, three-bedroom home on the corner of Ward Drive and 46th Avenue in the new community of “Jan Ree” Gardens. Our lot was bordered by new homes on two sides and to the East was a field of Blue Lake bush beans that would soon be consumed by the encroaching development. Mother and Father shared a few details about our new home. It had a second bathroom, a wood-paneled living room and an unfinished family room that my father promised would have a metal wood stove. But they kept one little secret from my sister and me until we were a block from our final destination on the day we drove to Salem -- our new house was next door to the grade school. I didn’t know whether to feel good or sick at the thought of living next door to the school where I would spend the next five years.

      Hayesville Elementary School was typical of the architecture of grade schools built in the early 1960’s-an L-shaped, non-descript building painted in drab green and grey. The assembly room, cafeteria and administrative offices anchored the building with the classrooms jutting out from the principal’s office. I started the school year in Mrs. Rhonda Sample’s second grade class. She was young, blond and attractive, totally unlike the spinster vision I had of the teacher that awaited me at my new school. The highlight of the school year was the annual “Open House at Hayesville.” Students showcased their talents, dazzling parents with displays of frogs and snakes in aquariums, samples of cursive writing on paper chains hung over the blackboard and paper mache busts of historic American figures like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Mothers and fathers could take a tour of the gleaming, stainless steel kitchen where Mrs. Fox prepared our hot lunches each day-warm, billowing cinnamon rolls dripping with powdered sugar frosting and her buttery, oven-fried chicken. But the most anticipated event of Open House at Hayesville was the annual Cakewalk Raffle -- a silly fun dance around the classroom. The winner won a cake and the proceeds went to fund other activities at school.

      We cut footprints out of colored construction paper and pasted them in a large circle on the spotless, pink vinyl-tiled floor. Each “foot” was given a number from one to twenty. Red, white and blue streamers were tacked on the outer walls and then brought to the center of the ceiling to define the center point of the cakewalk circle. When the room was ready, Mrs. Sample turned on the lights and opened the door, welcoming a parade of Mother’s who pranced into the room carrying Tupperware cake caddies, Pyrex baking dishes, glass cake domes and disposable aluminum trays coddling their precious cake creations.

      Three long tables were placed against the wall and covered with proper linen tablecloths. The tables served as the stage upon which the cakes would strut their stuff. The chorus line of cakes went on and on through the annals of cakedom-Chiffon, Angel Food, Devils Food, Sponge Cake, Pound Cake, Marble Cakes, Chocolate Torts and Jelly Rolls. There were cakes garnished with coconut, dusted with nonpareils, frosted with peanut butter, sprinkled with peppermints, and dotted with spiced gum drops. I entered the Cakewalk over and over until I won, seemingly always at the end of the evening when very few of the best cakes were left on the table. While Mother’s “Burnt Sugar Cake with 7-Minute Frosting” was good, it would be a total embarrassment in front of ones classmates for a kid to choose the cake made by his mother. No, should I win the Cakewalk and should it still be available, I would choose the Spiced Praline Crunch Cake made by Bernie Bennett’s Mother.

      The historical importance of the Cakewalk wasn’t a part of Mrs. Sample’s second-grade curriculum at Hayesville in 1964. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we were insulated from the racial struggles of the South at that time. I was a young white boy in a middle-class American family. I led the colorful life of a kid, yet I lived in a country that saw only shades of black and white.

      Only three years before my second grade, in the Spring of 1961 the Freedom Riders set out on a campaign to test the Supreme Court Ruling that upheld the segregation of blacks and whites at bus depots, waiting rooms, lunch counters and restrooms throughout the South. The Freedom Riders were met with ignorance and violence. African-Americans couldn’t drink from the same water fountain I drank from. I never knew.
      + + + The Cakewalk played an important role in the history of America -- a long-forgotten chapter that tells the story of the struggles forced upon the enslaved, who in spite of their burdens rose above the oppression of race and found a new form of the expression of freedom.

      The seeds of the Cakewalk were sown in the segregated deep South sometime around 1850, as a parody of the way plantation owners escorted their ladies into a formal ball. The women wore long, ruffled dresses of silk and glass beads with long, white gloves that reached above the elbow. The gentlemen were outfitted with top hats and tail coats. Couples pranced and paraded into lavishly decorated ballrooms, arm-in-arm in high-stepping fashion, marching into the center of the party, often to the music played by a banjo-strumming fiddler who worked in the fields.

      The winner of the dance contest sometimes won a cake presented by the master of the house, leading many to think this is where the name the “Cakewalk” comes from.

      African-American slaves who watched the proceedings took the dance on as their own in the yards outside their shacks, mocking what they saw as the frivolous customs of the plantation owners. According to the oral histories of slaves and their descendants, the Cakewalk was a marriage of traditional African tribal dances and rhythms combined with the dance steps of the upper classes. When the land barons and ladies saw the slaves dance, they missed the satirical element entirely, but the popularity of the Cakewalk had been established among the elite and it now transcended the boundaries of class.

      Wealthy farmers went on to sponsor competitions between plantations and the dance moved to large cities in the South and then to the East where it became a staple of traveling minstrel shows and ultimately to Vaudeville, the lights of Broadway and throughout Europe.

      On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation with these humble words, “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Inspired by the renewed freedom gifted to them through Emancipation, a freedom that allowed them to express themselves openly through dance and music, African-Americans led a creative revival that would usher in new forms of dance and music that had never before been seen or heard. The artistic contributions of former slaves and their descendants would forever change the creative landscape in America.


      From this humble beginning in the sweltering, humid heat and back-breaking work of picking cotton, African-American artists penned the notes of a new from of music called ragtime that would eventually evolve into jazz. It was the Cakewalk, unintentionally and ironically, that crossed the bounds of race and class status as it burst into the popular consciousness of America By the 1890’s, African-American actors, dancers and musicians had started forming their own production companies and staged versions of the Cakewalk became all the rage.

      Scott Joplin, (1867-1917), was an early musical pioneer of the Cakewalk style of music. Known as the “King of Ragtime,” Joplin wrote and performed in the style of rag—a combination of dance and marching music entwined with the “ragged” rhythms and soul of African music. One of Joplin’s most famous pieces was “The Ragtime Dance,” (published in 1902), that included a Cakewalk:

      “Turn left and do the “Cakewalk Prance, Turn the other way and do the “Slow drag, Now take your lady to the World’s Fair and do the ragtime dance. Cakewalk soft and sweetly, be sure your steps done neatly.”

      The vaudeville team of Mr. Egbert Williams and Mr. George Walker were two of the first African-Americans to take their musical show on the road in a grand scale. Crowds packed into The New York theatre in 1903 for 53 stunning performances of song and Cakewalk dances in William’s and Walker’s new production “In Dahomey” -- the first all-black musical to be performed on a grand scale in a major Broadway venue. After its raging success in America, “In Dahomey” crossed the Atlantic, performing for seven months of standing-room-only audiences at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London before returning to New York.

      By the turn of the century, Americans were moving off farms and into towns and cities in record numbers. Ragtime music transformed into a new genre called “Jazz,” with emerging talents like Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington playing at the Cotton Club in New York.

      By 1930, the public fascination with dance theatre began to fade as America was lured by the intrigue of other forms of entertainment like talking motion pictures. But the early concepts and the heritage established by the Cakewalk endured throughout the twentieth century and into the 21st, namely, as a contest to raise money at church socials and school functions. The Cakewalk also delivered new words into the American vocabulary-“take the cake,” and “it’s a real cakewalk,” are terms used to refer to something that is “the best,” or a job easily done. Cakewalk software is a cutting-edge firm today that produces award-winning digital audio and recording software to the music industry.

      + + +
      I’m nearing my 54th birthday in November, some 46 years removed from my second-grade class. I had been lost until that Cakewalk at Yoke’s, yet now I’m found. I’ve learned a lesson in respect through the Cakewalk -- a lesson that taught me how emancipation allowed the enslaved to express themselves through music and dance. A lesson that freedom is an unalienable right bestowed upon all Americans. I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the place that this little ditty we call the Cakewalk plays in the history of America, opening our eyes to a world that was color blind.

      I found my personal truth in the Cakewalk -- a truth far richer and deeper than the dreams of a boy winning a cake.

      * * *
      David Ross lives in Spokane, but works a one-hour plane ride away. When he's not tending to his day job -- or commuting -- he writes about food and reviews restaurants. He is on the eGullet Society hosting team.
    • By JohnT
      I have been asked to make Chinese Bow Tie desserts for a function. However, I have never made them, but using Mr Google, there are a number of different recipes out there. Does anybody have a decent recipe which is tried and tested? - these are for deep-fried pastry which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
    • By shain
      Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves. 
       
      50-60 g very aromatic olive oil
      80 g honey 
      120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet) 
      2 eggs
      2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon 
      230 g flour 
      1 teaspoon salt 
      1 teaspoon baking powder 
      75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios
      50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts) 
      Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed
      Optional: more olive oil for brushing
       
      Heat oven to 170 deg C.
      In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform. 
      Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. 
      Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix. 
      Add nuts and fold until well dispersed. 
      On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough. 
      With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long. 
      Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. 
      Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. 
      Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. 
      Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. 
      Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. 
      Let chill completely before removing from tray. 
      Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea. 
       
        
    • By Tennessee Cowboy
      I'd like help from anyone on making the best Pistachio Ice cream.  This forum is a continuation of a conversation I started in my "introduction" post, which you can see at 
      I recently made Pistachio ice cream using the Jeni's Ice Cream Cookbook.  I love Pistachio ice cream, so I've launched an experiment to find the best recipe.  I am going to try two basic approaches:  The Modernist Cookbook gelato, which uses no cream at all, and ice cream; I'm also experimenting with two brands of pistachio paste and starting with pistachios and no paste.  Lisa Shock and other People who commented on the earlier thread said that the key is to start with the best Pistachio Paste.    
      Any advice is appreciated.  Here is where I am now:  I purchased a brand of pistachio paste through nuts.com named "Love 'n Bake."  When it arrived, it was 1/2 pistachios and 1/2 sugar and olive oil.   I purchased a second batch through Amazon from FiddleyFarms; it is 100% pistachios.  I bought raw pistachios through nuts.com.  The only raw ones were from California.  If anyone has advice on using the MC recipe or on best approaches to ice cream with this ingredient I'd appreciate them.  I will report progress on my experiment in this forum.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.