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Red Velvet Cake – where did it come from?

2 Mins read

Red Velvet is probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. The sweet of the cake with the slightly salty taste of the cream is absolute perfection. And Red Velvet cupcakes are even better, they are just tiny bundles of joy. It’s dense and soft, and has a bit of heaven in each bite. 

Red Velvet was originally just called Velvet Cake and was served for the elite and royals in the Victorian Era. No one really knows why the cake originally had a dull red color, a few people think that is due to the ingredients having a chemical reaction. Many believe that the name came in from the usage of brown sugar, back then called red sugar. Others believe it was due to the usage of beets as a substitute in the recipe during World War 2, since sugar and butter were rationed back then. Adding beets gave the cake a smooth and soft texture. Now food colour is added to give it a bright red tinge.

Unfortunately it gets confused with Devil’s food cake quite a bit since they have a lot of similarities in ingredients and method of baking, and the cake is well… really red. Devil’s food cake is a dense, rich type of layered chocolate cake, called such because it is the opposite of airy and soft cakes that are usually made. It is commonly made with a bit of coffee to enhance the intensity of the chocolate.

Now the difference is that in Red Velvet, we use cocoa, usually Dutch-processed cocoa (treated with an alkalizing agent). And Devil’s food uses chocolate as an ingredient. While both are considered as a type of layered chocolate cake, the Red Velvet doesn’t quite taste like chocolate cakes do.

It has a ‘can’t quite put my finger on the flavour’ mysteriousness to it. The signature tang of Red Velvet comes from vinegar and buttermilk, a combination not found in classic chocolate cakes or the Devil’s cake for that matter.

The cake has lived through a lot of hard times as well as good, the colour giving it a special feel and look. Many people add the treat to their menus at events due to the look and the feeling of celebration that it brings with it. 

After so many years, you can find so many renditions of the famous cake. Like Red Velvet pie, Red Velvet cupcakes and even Red Velvet cookies!

The best way to have the Red Velvet cake is with generous amounts of cream cheese frosting. The frosting contributes the silkiness to the cake and a slight salty tinge that perfectly balances the sweetness of the layers.

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