going back to red velvet, to own the truth, i’ve never had red velvet before! cakes, cupcakes, cheesecake … never have and have yet to try it! maybe it is bcuz the color is really red. maybe it has to do with my mom making things that would require food coloring but often it would not result in that color, e.g. celebration red eggs = barely pink eggs. or maybe bcuz i watched steel magnolias and remember that crazy red armadillo cake. well, either way, it has never been my thing to eat something soooooo RED.
anyhoo, the first time i thought about trying a red velvet cake was from watching an old episode of throwdown with bobby flay (season 5) where bobby challenged cake man raven to a red velvet cake throwdown. when you compared cake man raven’s red hot cake to bobby flay’s pinkish colored cake, even i wanted to try the bright red cake! now what i didn’t know prior to watching throwdown was that red velvet cake has a chocolaty flavor. it is sometimes referred to as “devil’s food.” i remember a childhood junkfood: devil dogs (in its expected brown color) — yum! interestingly enough, the history of the red color of red velvet cake didn’t come from food coloring. it actually came from beets! yup, bakers in world war 2 used to boil beets to create color in their cakes. apparently beets also help to retain moisture in cakes as well.
anyhoo, sometimes in throwdowns, the challenger will share their recipes with food network but not the cake man. he’s keeping it safe with him. but i do remember when watching the episode that cake man raven’s cake was much taller than bobby’s. his cooking tip, if i remember correctly, was to add baking soda for its chemical reaction with the other ingredients gives a rising boost to his cakes. fun tip! anyhoo, one of these days i’m gonna have to try me some red velvet cake … but where to start?
photo from and information about Cake Man Raven Confectionery
bobby’s winning recipe on Throwdown with Bobby Flay: Red Velvet Cake
history of red velvet cakes
* my past post on red velvet cupcakes