Red Velvet Cake traditionally falls under the Layer Cake category. It’s known for its unique bright red or maroon colour that stands out among other cakes.
Red velvet cake is considered to be a type of chocolate cake, just with a hinge of colour difference and the heavy usage of cocoa powder. It is usually layered with red sponge cakes, icing or white cream cheese, and topped with creamy white frosting, though some variations may be different.
Traditionally, the recipes for this dessert did not use any food colouring. The colour was produced from a type of non-Dutch cocoa. The basic ingredients used to bake this dessert are flour, vinegar, butter, and food-derived colourings, such as beetroot, with key components including buttermilk, cocoa and food colouring in red.
History and Origins
There were many claims and assumptions of its origin, mainly surrounding the Victorian era and Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the 1920s. However, it was actually created during the Great Depression period where people during World War II used beetroot to colour their food as their food supplies were rationed heavily by the soldiers.
It is believed that a Texas company wished to sell more of his food dye to improve his business, thus many started to purchase food dye from him as it is more convenient to bake.
The dessert started to gain its popularity among the higher societies in the Victorian era and was thought to be a fancy dessert. In recent years, this dessert began to spread to the UK, Canada and other countries besides the United States.
Red Velvet vs Chocolate Cake
Commonly thought to taste the same as regular chocolate cakes, red velvet cake is more than just adding food colouring to make it more pop out. This dessert has cream cheese frosting and usually tastes slightly richer than a regular chocolate cake.
On the other hand, regular chocolate cakes are usually topped or layered frostings such as chocolate ganache. Also, buttermilk and cocoa are a must ingredient when making red velvet cake. This, as a result, gives a different texture and aesthetic to the seemingly high-class dessert.
Variations of Red Velvet Cake
With the increasing diet preferences and restrictions in modern years, the world has introduced different types of red velvet cake to cater to those of vegans, vegetarians, people who have nut-allergies or are lactose-intolerant.
Special variations as such are very much well-received as well since the texture and taste are not too far off from the normal red velvet cake, yet it offers a healthier option for these selected group of consumers.
This dessert was so well-received that many other companies also took up the recipe and added their own variations. Now, there are red velvet flavoured Oreo biscuits, chai, latte, ice creams, cookies, protein powder, waffles and even alcohol beverages!
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