A Southern specialty, the red velvet cake owes its red color to history. Originally, its deep red color was thought to be due to a reaction between early varieties of cocoa and baking soda. But this reaction also gave the cake a soapy taste. Thereafter, cooks and bakers must have opted for food color or an edible red dye to get the effect.
In the Southern states, where the Devil's food cake originated, it was made with cocoa and beet, hence the original red color effect. The contrasting white frosting completes the effect that has been related to the contrast between 'the good' and 'the evil' (the evil being represented by a passionate red color).
The name 'devilled' dates back to the 18th century and was meant to be used for spicy foods. In the early 1900s, the red velvet (Devil's food) cake was a popular and also the most favorite dessert. The recipe was nobody's secret and was handy in America as early as 1902. After reigning supreme for almost seventy years, the cake gradually started losing its popularity when in the 1970s, red food color was linked to cancer and discontinued in many places.
However, Devil's food cake, or red velvet cake, continues to be a fascinating dessert even today.
The secret of the continuing success of this straightforward recipe is a lot of dark-brown sugar that ensures a really dark cake. It may not be red or velvet but yes, the taste is still sinful.
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp. cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1½ tsp. baking soda
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- 1½ cups dark-brown sugar
This cake needs frosted icing which can be done in various flavors. The plain frosting can be done in the following way.
- 6 tbsp. flour
- 1 cup milk
- 8 oz. white butter
- 1 cup finely powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract