Friday, February 11, 2011

Red Velvet-ism

A- I decided to make red velvet cupcakes for Valentine’s Day, seen below

and this article was brought to my attention where it talked about the “requirements” for “authentic” red velvet cake. So, let’s break this down...

C-This article was brought to her attention by a jerk-face who thought that it was the epitome of “true” red velvet.  That’s why we’re being so harsh.  Also, because it’s kind of crazy-sauce.

1. The cake must have some cocoa, but not too much because it is not a chocolate cake.

C- How very helpful.  Doesn’t presence of cocoa make it a chocolate cake?

A- Definitely... just adding red food coloring to cake doesn’t cut it... but don’t we all know that already?

2. The cake must have red food coloring; beet juice does not add the right kind of red.

C-The right kind of red.  She doesn’t say the right flavor, so why the heck is the beet-color so wrong?  Also, according to completely unsubstantiated internet sources, beets were used during food rationing in WWII.  Did they ration red food coloring?  Did Red #40 side with ze Germans?

A- Seriously, the right kind of red?! What’s the definition of the “correct red” anyway? So what if I mix red food coloring with beet juice, would that be considered okay?

3. The cake must have cream cheese frosting.

A- Sure, cream cheese frosting is nice and I’m definitely a fan of... but its not necessarily a “requirement”.... what, without cream cheese frosting, we shouldn’t eat it? Way to be extreme.

C- I’m not sure I’d like it nearly as much without cream cheese, though.  I’ll allow her this one point.

A- Rose mousse... with rose WATER. story for another day.

C-Touche.  But I’m not sure I’d call it a Red Velvet Cake.  I’d qualify the title.  “Red Velvet and Rubbing Alcohol Cake”, for instance.  But you’re right, the mousse story will wait.

4. There should be pecans.  Maybe someones grandma did this back home and she thinks that’s right.  Like how I think macaroni and cheese needs to have cheez-its on top to be real.  

I’ve seen some recipes where pecans are used on the frosting, as garnish, but this article sounds like you toss a bunch into the batter.  

A- Pecans?!? Really?!? I really wouldn’t want to eat a red velvet cake if i knew it had pecans in it... I’m thinking a lotta people will agree with me on this.

C-Or maybe it should just be you leave a bowl of pecans beside it on the table.  

A- What about the people who are allergic to nuts? No red velvet for them? How sad.

5. You must use high-quality ingredients, including White Lily flour, a Southern specialty flour.

C-Never trust an article with product placement.  Also, White Lily is only sold in the Southeastern US, which means that those of us in the rest of the country might as well give up now.

A- So, everyone outside of the southeast should never make red velvet? That’s geography-ism man.

C-We don’t have to take it.  Oh, and also...The South?  Apparently Red Velvet cake might have originated in Canada or New York.  Sure, you made it what it is today, but I’m not sure you can claim ownership.  I can’t say that I’m “From California” even though I live here now.

6. Precise measurements and meticulous attention to detail are key for this cake; therefore, it must be made in small, easy-to handle, family-sized batches. (Mass-produced batter just doesn't cut it. Sorry, large-scale bakeries.)

C-Unlike all those other cakes, where you just throw ingredients in willy-nilly.

A- Aren’t precise measurements the epitome of baking? red velvet is no exception. And way to diss them bakeries, some of which make awesome red velvet cake.

7. You must use a hand-held electric mixer, not a stand mixer: Larger machines can over-mix the batter, which sometimes prevents the cake from rising properly.

A- Um no, standing mixer ftw. Some people don’t have all day to “delicately” hand mix the batter... just beat at low power and for a shorter amount of time.

C-Next, she’s going to recommend you just give a toddler a whisk or else your own massive biceps will over-mix.

8. Red velvet cake batter needs vegetable oil, not butter or shortening. Oil yields a very moist cake.

A- I’ve made plenty of cakes with butter and the end product... very moist. It really depends on the recipe. And who says you can’t use butter AND vegetable oil, ever think of that?

C-And she specifies that you need vegetable oil.  It’s in italics.  The only italics that she uses in the whole article, so you know it’s important.  What about all those other oils out there?  Again, according to the internet, vegetable oil is a relatively recent addition to the recipe.

full article found here:

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