red velvet cake

Ask ten experts about the origins of this bright red chocolate cake with creamy white icing, and you'll get at least six different answers. One legend is that it was first served at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the 1920s (some say it was the 1950s). Others swear that red velvet cake has its roots in southern cooking. The flavor isn't strongly chocolate; the ratio is typically 2 tablespoons cocoa powder per 2½ cups flour. And, though some believe the color comes from the chemical reaction between the cocoa and baking soda, the truth is that it's due to a healthy dose (1½ to 2 ounces) of red food coloring. Some recipes call for boiled beets as a color enhancer. This novelty cake got a boost in popularity in the late 1980s from the film Steel Magnolias, where it was served as an armadillo-shaped groom's cake.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Cake Walk: Golf Course Cake

This Father's Day, serve up a dessert guaranteed to be a hole in one for any golf-loving dad. The Kitchen shows you a creative and fun way to decorate a cake to look like a miniature golf course!

Peppermint Candy Cake Template

This page should redirect you to the peppermint candy cake template. If it does not redirect you automatically, click here

Cakes: Tips and Techniques

Use this guide to make baking a cake, well, a piece of cake.

Piece of Cake Summer Party

Summer is winding down, but it's not too late to throw one more outdoor party and go out with a bang! We're getting one last taste of summer with these fun, new party ideas. The Kitchen and party planner Mary Giuliani teamed up to make a memorable summer party with "snacktivities" for all ages.

Piece of Cake Summer Party

Throw a great summer party with our easy tips for pleasing a crowd. We'll show you how to upgrade your favorite dishes and let your guests customize their cocktails with these new ideas for food, drinks and more!

A Guide to Buying and Cooking Red Snapper

A guide to buying and preparing red snapper.

Mix-and-Match Coffee Cake

Create your own coffee cake recipe: The possibilities are endless!

The Simple Art of Dump Cakes

Some say this dessert is more of a cobbler than a cake, but we say, "Who cares?" It's sweet and gooey, and barely requires effort.