- Joined Dec 3, 2008
I have a favorite red velvet cake and frosting recipe. I'm curious if there's any purpose for the red food coloring other than the appearance. I'd like leave it but not sure if it plays a part in the baking process.
Because originally the cake was made with beets giving it a reddish color.Can't possibly have an effect on the cake. I never understood why a chocolate cake should be red. I want my chocolate brown! Chocolate velvet cake.
I never had or saw a red velvet cake - why is it red, what is the point? Does it look tastier? there must be a reason.
Nope. Not even close.Because originally the cake was made with beets giving it a reddish color.
Here's some history on the cake from Wikipedia:Originally Posted by Chefross
Nope. Not even close.
In the old days, before "Dutch processed" cocoa and when clabbered milk and baking soda were used as the leavening agents, the leaveners would react with the cocoa making it (wait for it) red.
Very good question.A side question- would beets actually make the cake red? Beets react with substances that turn them blue, for instance, and anyway, the color of beets is more of a purple rather than what red food coloring would look like.
Also once i tried a making a beet chocolate cake (looked interesting - wasn't) and i don't remember any particular redness - though it was a long time ago so i may be wrong. I imagine it was put there for its moisture rather than color (other than darkening the batter somewhat).
You are right that this is more about getting the right information than anything else. I am not offended in the least but will admit that I too have learned something about this.Chef Ross,
Please do not take offense. Your argument with my post is not well taken, My post was very clearly pointed to your claim that beets were the original source for the red color of red velvet cake.
As I quoted the relevant portion of your one sentence post which unambiguously referred to how the cake was "originally" made, a fair reader will conclude it was not likely I was confused or misread you in any way.
Please note I neither said not implied that beets were not ever used to to make red velvet cake red; also that my response was limited to discussing the origins of the dessert. Furthermore, the Beard article you extensively cited not only supports my contention and contraverts yours, but also implies that, whatever their current popularity, beets were not commonly used until the sugar rationing days of WWII.
I sincerely hope our discussion here, which has become more about us than the subject itself, is not off-putting to those who might otherwise be interested in the topic.
Again, nothing personal here. All references are to the ideas only.
I don't know - sugar beets are white not red. So that doesn't seem like an explanation.You are right that this is more about getting the right information than anything else. I am not offended in the least but will admit that I too have learned something about this.
I have no formal documented proof to back up my statement other than the notes I took in culinary school back in the 70's.
My instructor was a no nonsense German pastry Chef who gave us this information.
Perhaps, at the time, he too, was looking at it from the perspective that since sugar was scarce and a sweetening was needed, sugar beets came into use.
This use fell out of favor as sugar became more available.
So it is, in a sense, both true about the use of beets and also true about the chemical reaction between the buttermilk, vinegar, and baking soda.
Is it possible that the use of red food coloring came as a result of dislike for beets, in any form....?
Thanks for you wisdom and professional manner.