Red Velvet Cake
The Red Velvet Cake is a
delicious part of Southern and African-American cuisine.
Yes, the cake really is red.
The unusual coloration may have originally be a result of old-fashioned cocoa
powder reacting with buttermilk or vinegar. Some time in the past, bakers may
have added beet juice or red food coloring. It is usually made as a layer cake
with a light-colored frosting.
It has had something of a
comeback after appearing in the movie "Steel Magnolias" in 1989.
The exact origin of the
popular treat is unclear, as is its relation to Devil's Food.
Various recipes appear in
cookbooks in the late 1800s. In the past, some versions did not contain
chocolate. This may have been an adaptation to food rationing during World War
Today, most bakers do use
chocolate and red food coloring to make the standard version. Thus, it
is essentially a red-colored chocolate cake, but it's a rich and delicious
A story about a recipe, what
we would today call an "urban myth", circulated during the 1930s and
'40s. It is very similar to the Neiman-Marcus chocolate chip cookie story. A
woman supposedly asked for the recipe for the red velvet cake served at the
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. She was given the recipe, but was later shocked to find
$100 added to her hotel bill. Feeling outraged, in order to even the score she
sends copies of the recipe to all her friends. The story is untrue, but it does
show that this unusual creation has been associated with luxury and has been a
part of our culinary heritage for many decades.
Here is a recipe
containing 11 ingredients taking 30 minutes to bake. This recipe
has 13 ingredients and takes 30 minutes to bake as well. It also has a recipe for
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