Origins & Information - Red Velvet Cake

My friends and I are huge fans of red velvet cake. I'm not sure why I like it so much but I do. Perhaps it's the moist sweetness that is not overpowering. Perhaps it's the color. Whatever the reason, it's delicious. Out of curiosity, I looked up how red velvet cake came to be (and potentially how to make some of my own). I found this interesting informational article here that I will reference for your knowledge too!

So there is a general myth about how red velvet cake came about that concerns the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. However, this is not the true history. Red velvet cake dates back to as early as 1873 where it was mentioned merely as Velvet cake in a receipt book. The naming of such cakes were not uncommon and for Velvet, it referred to the fine crumb of the cake. "Red" referred to red sugar which we now call brown sugar. So what ended up being called red velvet cake? A combination of Red Devil's Food cake and Velvet cake.

The color of red velvet cake is mainly due to food coloring. However, it is true that cocoa has a natural pigment called anthocyanin which becomes more vibrantly red in the midst of ingredients such as buttermilk and vinegar. This isn't all that brings red velvet cake to what we think of it now as though; it also isn't what made the hue so popular. A man named John A. Adams had a family-owned business selling food colorings and extracts but was not doing well in sales so eventually he took to showing how red a red velvet cake could get using his products. These were shown throughout the Midwest and the South with free recipes given out that included other products of the Adams Extract Company in the ingredients list.

The popularity of the cake which was only used to showcase the dyes' prowess at first was perpetuated by other entrepreneurs and bakers who tried to compete to make the most pleasing red velvet cake in color. Though it started off being called Velvet cake because of the crumb, it became known for its color. Nowadays, we see it everywhere in a very robust red that even threatens to stains the maker's hands. Admittedly, it makes for a great picture because of its color. I think the most common form I've seen red velvet cake in is cupcake form. In cake form, it is rarely seen as just a single layer. Red velvet cake is typically layered with white frosting in between. What a delicious dessert! I'm hankering for some right now...