Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Red Velvet Love

Whether you are from the South or not, you have most likely heard of Red Velvet Cake. It is all over the place in recent years. Everyone has their own version of how it should be done and sadly...So many of them are wrong. This isn't just my opinion, this is the opinion of Southern Women and what can I say. They're right.

No one knows, as stereotypical as it may sound, what a RVC (Red Velvet Cake) should be better than an old Southern Woman fanning herself on her front porch in the middle of a hellish summer heat. If you want to know if any dish you made that has "Southern" influence is right just go down 3rd Avenue around the Lime Sink in Albany Ga, pick any of the homes on the street lined with old trees with hanging moss and let them taste your dish. They'll let you know. If you hear "Bless your heart", you got it wrong.

Now, I was not born in the South, very much the opposite. I was born in Steel Town USA - Gary, Indiana. (And if you start singing I will shoot you.) But I was raised in the South, the deep South. We had a white picket fence, picked blackberries from across the street and went swimming in the creek on the hottest of days. Granted I never did develop the southern drawl, it does sneak out from time to time, lol.

While being raised in the South, I learned a lot. One was how to cook, two was never expect anyone in the south to have the same recipe for anything. They all have their own. Passed down from generation to generation. Hell, families will feud over who has the best of this and the best of that. So and so does the best Pecan Pie but if you want Collard Greens go here. No, she has the best hush puppies
but he does the best BBQ.

So, needless to say fin
ding the best Red Velvet Cake might be difficult. Not in the way you would think. Most everyone that bakes goes - I do the best red velvet. Even me. lol (Sorry, it is what I believe I do best, ^_~) One thing you will find though, those recipes that are at the top, all have certain things in common and frankly they are the things that make a red velvet, a red velvet.

What makes Red Velvet Love? Well, here is a list of things I have found most agree on that know true Red Velvet. So, if you have a recipe and it doesn't follow these...Um, you might be doing it wrong, lol. Don't get me wrong, you're cake might taste wonderful but it just may not be Red Velvet. Remember these aren't my rules, I just happen to agree with them. :P

1. Red Velvet is NOT chocolate cake with red food coloring. It should have a minimum of cocoa powder. Too many times I have been out and about and we go out to eat. Many places these days have Red Velvet on the menu because it is the in thing, especially on Valentine's Day. I will order it and only to be broken hearted because it is nothing more than a red chocolate cake.This is not how it should be. RVC is known for a very rich flavor yes but that flavor isn't chocolate. It is Red Velvet. Yeah, I know, hard to understand if you haven't had it. It is a flavor all to itself and just cannot be put anywhere else.

2. Buttermilk is a must. Why? It helps give is that texture and a bit of tang that many Red Velvet lovers search for. Even though most RVC batters are rather runny due to the high fat content they bake up very dense and do not have that tell take sweet cake taste. Don't get me wrong, they are sweet but they have a zing to them and it ain't citrus.

3. Ain't got vinegar? Ain't RVC. The vinegar reacts with the buttermilk and baking soda and gives it that distinct flavor. Heck, it even reacts with the food coloring to help give it that red red color. Yeah, you know what I am talking about. It is called Red Velvet for a reason. It is because your cake slice should look like a piece of red velvet cloth. Deep, rich, luscious! Adding in vinegar right before you put it in the pans it what does this.
See, only 3 little things but they really do make the cake what it is. Now, there are tons of other things people say you need for a Red Velvet but those vary greatly. Do you use butter? Crisco? Vegetable Oil? White sugar? Brown sugar? Both? Thin layers, thick layers? Crushed pecans on the sides or red velvet crumbs? It is a heated debate waged many times on old front porch swings over a glass of iced tea.

Granted there is one more rule I go by personally that I get rather heated about myself...The 4th rule -

4. If it is served with anything but cream cheese frosting...Throw it at the cook. Okay, maybe not literally. But seriously, you cannot enjoy RVC without it. It compliments the flavor perfectly. Cream Cheese frosting has a similar tang to Red Velvet that helps bring it together but it provides that layer of sweetness that really finishes the dessert.

So there you have it, a few quick rules of thumb for next time you bake Red Velvet Cake. Sorry, no recipe. I hold that close to the heart. lol But I will say this. Don't reserve RVC for only Valentine's Day or even just cakes! Or Cupcakes. There is so much you can do with it. Crepes, pancakes, waffles, doughnuts, brownies and more. Things I will share how to make later on. But for now...Gonna enjoy some RVC.

More images will be posted later on this week. This cake is the hubbies for his birthday and I hope to do more to it than I already have.



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