It’s a common misconception that red velvet is just regular cake generously doused in red food coloring. Unfortunately in a lot of places I’ve visited this seems to be the case. The cake often looks tempting and completely Instagram-worthy but the overwhelming flavor is metallic from all the artificial ingredients pumped into it.
Tried and tested tip – While baking you can simply replace red food dye with beet juice to make it more natural
So what makes red velvet truly special and how do you do it right? Red velvet is unique because of its silky texture which comes from ingredients like cocoa powder and buttermilk which are often found in the recipes. It’s usually more dessert-like than cake-like. Unlike a sponge, a red velvet cake will taste better if made in advance and stored properly.
Fun Fact – Red velvet cake dates back to the 19th century which is why in traditional Victorian style it was given a fancy name!
The recent craze around red velvet is undeniable with restaurants and bakeries making red velvet versions of just about everything. I made it my personal mission to scour the city in the search for the best of red velvet. Here are the hits and the misses–
✗ Miss – I tried baking red velvet whoopie pies (very ambitious because I’ve never made whoopie pies before!) which unfortunately turned out very dense and eggy. I don’t think the inherent texture of a whoopie pie goes well with that of red velvet. I would love to hear if it turned out well for you!
✗ Miss – I visited one of the most popular bakeries in the city and was tempted into spending an extraordinary amount of money on a slice of red velvet cheesecake. The meticulously put together three layered cake was too sweet for me and didn’t capture the red velvet taste. I was a little disappointed because it’s a great idea but could have been executed better. (PS It still looked great though!)
✓ Hit – Red velvet cupcakes – Whoever said “money can’t buy happiness” has never bought a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Cupcakes are definitely the most authentic and best version of red velvet. The most popular destination for this little cup of goodness is the Rouge in Park Circus. A number of the city’s home-bakers have nailed this dessert as well so don’t miss out on trying them when visiting food carnivals this year!
|Tried and tested tip – If you’re not a fan of cream cheese, you can try pairing red velvet with chocolate ganache. It’s ideal for chocolate lovers and is cost effective too – win win!|
✓ Hit – Picadilly Square does the loveliest red velvet waffles topped with whipped cream and a side of cream cheese sauce which complimented each other so well! I’m not the biggest fan of waffles but these ones might have changed that!
✓ Hit – My recent excitement around red velvet lead me to try baking red velvet everything. My favorite outcome was red velvet cookies – so simple and so delicious. (I also don’t know any places you get this in Kolkata!) I experimented and did a couple of test batches (my family legitimately ended up eating kilos of cookies!) and finally perfected the recipe. You can find it here.
Let us know what your favourite version of red velvet is and where you go to get it.
Don’t forget to check out our Instagram page and tag us in your Red Velvet posts.