A creamy, spongy red velvet cake!! Sounds irresistible, right? It is intriguing how even after having so much similarity with a chocolate cake, the red velvet cake manages to steal the show every time. The ingredients are the same; the baking steps are the same. But then, what is special about the red velvet cake?
The velvety-soft texture with the mild cocoa taste is the specialty of a red velvet cake. These cakes are visually appealing due to the perfect combination of red cake crumbs and white cream cheese with a creamy icing on top. As soon as you take a bite, it melts in your mouth instantly.
The term velvet indicates the cake’s tender, fluffy and creamy texture. A velvet cake can be of any colour of your choice. However, the red crust and white cream makes the most appealing combination! It is also, at times, referred to as Devil’s food.
Wait, there’s more to red velvet cakes. In addition to specialized ingredients, they also have a significant historical and symbolic connection.
What Does Red Velvet Cake Symbolise?
Red velvet cakes were made to symbolize a significant historical event. It was cut on Emancipation Day, 19th June 1865, to celebrate freedom from 300 years of slavery in former colonies of Europe in the Caribbean.
The red colour symbolically represents the bloodshed soldiers faced during war to finally have freedom from slavery. Emancipation Day is also referred to as the Freedom Day or Anticipation Day.
It mainly originated in 1800s, in the South America. Today there are a lot of occasions where you can cut a red velvet cake. The most common ones include birthday parties, weddings, and anniversaries. The less common ones include celebratory occasions, kitty parties, and others. A red velvet cake is one of the tastiest additions you can make to any party.
People of every age group love a red velvet cake. Such is its magic. It is also one of the popular go-to options when you have excessive cravings for pastries.
Red velvet cake is also a popular dessert option in regular meals. You can easily enjoy a red velvet cake after dinner with your family while recalling funny anecdotes and childhood memories.
Ever wondered about the ingredients used that imparts the red colour and velvety texture to these cakes?
What Are the Main Ingredients of Red Velvet Cake?
The main ingredients of a red velvet cake are flour, buttermilk, sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and vinegar. Each of these plays a key role in bringing out the perfect texture of a velvet cake.
Buttermilk is an extremely crucial ingredient for an amazing red velvet cake. When mixed in the right proportion with vinegar, it brings out the perfect fluff that you love in your cake. Vinegar is equally important for the fluff and hence should be added in perfect quantities.
Vinegar, buttermilk and sugar also play a secret role in bringing out the red colour. They primarily react with the cocoa powder to bring out the beautiful bright red colour of the cake.
Another significant purpose of using cocoa powder is to soften the proteins present in flour. Since flour is the only ingredient used extensively in the red velvet cake, the proteins present in it can, at a time, affect its fluff to a great extent. Alternatively, cooks also use almond flour or corn starch to serve the purpose.
Chefs usually choose to avoid eggs in a red velvet cake because it significantly increases the moisture in the cake. Thus, it hinders the fluff of the cake, which is the main reason for its hype. At times, a small amount is also added to the batter to give it a slightly spicy taste. This twist is preferred by huge masses who do not like excess sweetness.
Each of these ingredients is carefully measured to the perfect proportion before adding. A small change in the proportion can significantly affect the consistency of the batter, ruining your entire effort. Using a weighing scale or measuring cups can save you extensively from this blunder. Also, sticking to the exact measure brings out all the flavours beautifully. Red velvet cakes are usually expensive as all these ingredients add up to the pricing.
So, the next time you go for a bakery, make sure it ticks all the points on your checklist for a perfect bakery.
What to Check in a Bakery Before Ordering a Red Velvet Cake?
Always buy cakes from bakeries that offer preservative-free, freshly baked cakes that are rich in taste. Also, take a note about the hygiene protocol followed by the bakery.
Below are a few things to consider before buying a cake:
- Go through the ingredients in detail that a bakery uses for baking the cake. This way, you can know exactly what the cake is made of. For custom-made cakes, if you are allergic to any of those ingredients, you can even ask the baker to avoid the same.
- Check if the bakery periodically processes all ingredients. If not, then chances are there that your health might get adversely affected. Consuming expired products can also deal a deathly blow.
- Monitor if a bakery maintains hygiene protocols stringently. You do not want your guests to end up with health issues after your party. So, it becomes mandatory to check if the bakery is hygienic enough.
- Go for bakeries that provide freshly baked cakes. Cakes that are old might not taste as good as freshly baked ones.
- Opt for bakeries that provide you with customized cakes. You can add a personal touch to a cake’s design.
Now that you know where to purchase a red velvet cake, make sure to know the tricks of keeping the taste intact for a long time.
How Can You Keep a Red Velvet Cake Tasty for a Longer Time?
You can simply refrigerate a red velvet cake to keep the taste intact for a longer time. For a cake, the maximum refrigeration period is 5 to 6 days.
Refrigerating is a quick solution to preserve your red velvet cake for an extensive period without tampering with its taste. Lower temperature ceases bacterial activity and keeps it as fresh as the first day you have put it in the refrigerator.
You can cover the cut edges of the cake with wax paper or cellophane paper. This would keep the edges soft and fluffy and preserve its taste. Also, you can keep the cake in a plastic box or air-tight container to prevent it from hardening excessively or cooling it down to a great extent.
If you delay more than 5-6 days, there lies a chance that the cake will lose its integrity and dry up excessively. Red velvet cake is spongy in nature, thereby more prone to drying up. You can also store your cake at room temperature for a maximum period of 2-3 days.
In case it dries up, you can easily moisten your cake using milk or buttermilk. Make small holes in the cake and sprinkle the buttermilk or liquor. It seeps into the bottom layers of the cake and makes it as delicious as before.
How is a Red Velvet Cake Different from a Chocolate Cake?
A red velvet cake differs significantly from a chocolate cake in terms of ingredients, colour, and frosting. While you would often find a mild taste of cocoa in a red velvet cake, it can also be vanilla flavoured, implying the absence of chocolate as a core ingredient.
Red velvet cake is a type of sponge cake infused with chocolate powder which enriches its taste significantly. However, you have the liberty to use vanilla which brings out a difference in its flavour. However, it is needless to mention that the main ingredient of a chocolate cake is cocoa powder, as it is the very reason for its name and fame.
Several ingredients differ for both the cakes. You will also find similar ingredients in both the cakes, such as flour and butter.
You will mostly come across eggless red velvet cakes in the bakeries. Eggs are avoided to maintain the fluffy nature of a red velvet cake. However, you always have the option of customizing a red velvet cake as per your choice.
On the other hand, eggs are a crucial ingredient for a lip-smacking chocolate cake. It keeps the cake moist since it lacks buttermilk in its core ingredients to serve as a potential alternative. Speaking of alternatives, you can also find an eggless version of chocolate cake in a bakery.
The main magic of a red velvet cake lies in its cream cheese frosting. No other frosting makes a red velvet cake as enticing. However, for a chocolate cake, you can use any frosting as per your cravings. You can easily use whipped cream or buttercream frosting to customize your cake.
Now that you know what is special about the red velvet cake, it is time to go and buy one, raising your special occasion up an entire level.