Red Velvet Cake – The Colour, Texture & the Taste

12 May, 2015 by Neeru Singh


Over the last few years, if there’s any layered cake that has seen the most love is Red Velvet Cake. The sudden rise in popularity of this pretty looking cake can be a case study in itself. Not just as cake, but Red Velvet has also evolved into cupcakes, macaroons and ice creams, a testimony to the buzz around the cake.

The luscious Red Velvet Cake took over a market dominated by black forests and fruit cakes. Intrigued by Delhiites obsession with it, I wanted to find out what’s more to it. The history of Red Velvet Cake has been a bit of a mystery.

Few decades ago, the cake was created by a chef in United States, who used the red colour to symbolise a red carpet event he was heading. However, it has also been said that to increase the sale of food colours in United States, the recipe of this cake was invented. During World War II, bakers used boiled fruits like carrots and beetroot in many recipes to give colour and moisture to the cake. Hence, beetroot appears in Red Velvet Cake’s recipe. Although not many bakers use this particular ingredient anymore.

Despite the hype, I have really never been able to place my feelings for Red Velvet, well enough. Nevertheless, I was always curious about what goes into the making of this cake.

After joining baking school, I learnt that it’s the food colour that gives the sponge such a beautiful hue. Also, the core ingredients include buttermilk, cocoa, red food colour or beetroot, vinegar besides cake flour, sugar and butter. The process to make this cake is fairly simple. First, cream the butter and sugar together, add one egg at a time. In a separate bowl, mix food colour and buttermilk. Alternately add dry ingredients (flour and cocoa) and buttermilk into the batter. Dissolve baking powder into the vinegar and mix it with the other ingredients. Avoid over mixing the batter and immediately put it to bake.

The use of buttermilk and vinegar, is what results into soft and moist texture to the sponge, which is cut into layers. Then iced with cream cheese frosting, which is a delicious mix of Philadelphia cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla essence and whipped cream. The crumbs of the cake are garnished on the frosting to create a beautiful velvety layer on top. The cream cheese frosting, is a welcome break, from regular whipped cream or buttercream.

Already sounds immensely inviting, doesn’t it? But if you can’t wait to dig into a delicious piece of this cake then head towards Elma’s at Hauz Khas Village. They should be awarded for making it so popular in a city that loves food like no other. As Shelly Sahai (Elma’s chef) would tell you, her display would be incomplete without a delicious piece of Red Velvet Cake.

Well no one knows for sure how it started or was invented entirely, but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone as long as, we can dig into a huge delectable piece of this gorgeous looking cake.



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