Saturday, February 23, 2013
My First Attempt at Red Velvet - A Success Story
So I always see people making Red Velvet cake and cupcakes, and around Valentine's Day, the red velvet craze is in full swing. I've never made Red Velvet anything before, and finally decided it was time to give it a try.
My mother sent me this cool Red Velvet "stuff". It's basically vanilla, chocolate, and red food coloring in a thick liquid. The bottle says to add one tablespoon to your favorite chocolate or white cake recipe, but I decided to use an actual Red Velvet recipe as my base, since it includes some cocoa powder but not so much that it mutes the red color.
I ended up using a Paula Deen recipe (you can guess how bad these were for me!) and it worked pretty well. I actually used a lot more cocoa than the recipe called for, because I wanted more chocolate flavor, and then substituted the two tablespoons of food coloring with one tablespoon of this crazy paste stuff.
They ended up a nice deep red color, and were a bit brighter on the inside. The taste was subtle, mostly like a vanilla cake with just a little hint of chocolate. Since it was an oil-based cake, it was more dense than usual, but I think that was perfect with the frosting.
I used my usual cream cheese frosting, and flavored it with vanilla bean paste (my go-to flavoring for plain frosting). With some pink and red nonpareils, they ended up looking quite festive!
I made four dozen of these bad boys--two dozen for me to take to work, eighteen for my husband, and four to eat at home. Wait, my math isn't right. What happened to the last two? They got baked in mason jars and shipped to a coworker in Kentucky!
I felt bad that he always saw my emails announcing cupcakes and never got any, so this time I decided to make sure he would get some. I packed them in many layers of bubble wrap, and kept the package frozen until it was time to ship. They arrived in three days (priority mail) and he said that they were intact, edible, and tasty. He called me at work that morning and said that the cupcake arrival made his day, which made my day, too!
Overall, I liked this recipe a lot, but I will definitely save it for holidays that call for red cake (like Christmas and Valentine's Day). The cake itself is honestly a bit boring, but a fine vehicle for festive cheer and frosting.