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Old 10-21-2009, 07:20 AM   #1
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Understanding RED VELVET CAKE

I have had red velvet cake several times and always been very good.
But I never understood the reason for the cake being red and adding all that food coloring.
What is the purpose or the history of famous red cake ? Why not make the cake and not add the food coloring, wouldn't it taste the same.
Food coloring has no benifit but making it red.
I am not knocking the cake as I said I have enjoyed it everytime I have had it. It's just one of those things you wonder about.

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Old 10-21-2009, 07:24 AM   #2
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Early red velvet cake recipes did not contain food coloring. The red came from a chemical reaction with vinegar that was part of the early recipes. It was probably accidental.
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:25 AM   #3
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You can still make it the traditional way and achieve the red color, although it isn't as pronounced as if you add the food coloring.
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:34 AM   #4
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Do you have the traditional recipe?
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:45 AM   #5
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I don't have one no. I do have several chocolate cake recipes that use vinegar and cocoa and have noticed the reddish color. If you want it REALLY red you will either need to use food coloring or perhaps beet juice to achieve the color. Otherwise its just basically chocolate cake with vinegar and baking soda used to give you some leavening.
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:11 AM   #6
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As I recall, and I may be wrong, but an ex-spouse said the vinegar was used to cut the bitterness/flavor/whatever from using so much red food coloring, and that if beet juice was used, the vinegar probably wasn't needed in the basic red velvet cake recipe, not the one that Alix is talking about. But this is from an imperfect memory.
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:56 AM   #7
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The vinegar is needed in this style of cake to react with the baking soda for leaving (the cake rising). It is often used in chocolate cakes to react with the cocoa and soda to make a high moist cake.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:10 PM   #8
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Thanks for the information on this. My gramother has a recipe that she made called wacky cake - a chocolate cake that has vingear in it. Ill have to dig it up tonight
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:10 PM   #9
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Wacky cake doesn't go red. There is a lot of cocoa in it and so the reaction is less noticeable. The only real way will get a noticeable red without food colouring is to have a lower ratio of cocoa so that the brown doesn't overpower it.

I am actually experimenting with this because I am trying to come up with a "purple velvet" cupcake. For purple, I do need to used food colouring but am trying to find a way to use less.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:30 PM   #10
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Hey LP, have you tried experimenting with beet juice? I hear it has great results.
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