Red Velvet Cake. Seriously, this was something that mystified me for quite some time. I think part of the reason I had never tried it is because it’s really more of a southern thing, not quite so common here in New England. Heck, they don’t even sell red velvet cake mix in our groceries stores (at least not that I have been able to find). When I came across this idea for a festive red velvet cake from the Domestic Goddess, I knew it would the perfect thing to make for July 4th. (ps: She really is a goddess. Check out her blog!) July 4th also happens to be my uncle’s birthday and my friend Jenn’s daughter’s birthday, so it suddenly became the perfect birthday cake too.
So like I was saying, I’ve never had red velvet cake before. I’d asked around for people to describe the flavor to me, and all I could get were things like “it’s amazing” and “so very rich” and “my favorite cake ever!”. But what, exactly, is the flavor meant to be? Some recipes called for no cocoa powder, while others just called for 1-2 tablespoons. I decided to be a rebel and go with the recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which called for a whole half cup. I like me some cocoa! Now, this may be an interesting thing to note, the BH&G cookbook actually calls this Red Waldorf Cake, not Red Velvet. I had to do some searching online, but it turns out they are pretty much the same thing.
It’s too bad I don’t have anything to compare it too, but I was really happy with my results, because everyone else seemed to love it! The texture was moist, dense and rich, just like I want my cake to be. The flavor – well, it was still a little hard to pin down. It was chocolaty, for sure, but not brownie-like. A nice, sort of light cocoa flavor (I know, that doesn’t really sound possible). Whatever it was, it made a perfect base for homemade cream cheese frosting and fresh berries. The combination was quite irresistible!