05- Red Velvet

“…While many of the recipes today pair the cake with cream cheese frosting, red velvet cake was originally frosted with ermine or ‘heritage’ icing. Made from cooked flour and boiled milk, this not-so-sweet icing is much softer and fluffier than cream cheese frosting.

To be completely honest, it took me a long time to appreciate red velvet cake. Most versions I had tasted seemed to be just plain cake with a gallon of red food dye, smothered in sickeningly sweet cream cheese frosting.”- Tessa Huff

As per usual, I agree completely with Tessa! Red velvet has always been an overrated flavor, in my personal opinion. A simple vehicle for cream cheese frosting was all I thought it was supposed to be! “Why not cut out the middle man, and the extra calories, and just use a spoon?!” Is what I used to think….until I found this recipe.

With the contribution of more buttermilk than in a normal red velvet recipe, not too much red food coloring, and the perfect amount of cocoa; Tessa has found a way to transform a classic into something everyone will love. And this frosting?! Not overly sweet and a perfect pair to this cake! It makes you wonder why this isn’t more common.

As you can probably tell by my previous posts, I am a buttercream/icing lover! With that said, I had never tried to make a “roux” based buttercream before. I knew about heritage and German buttercream, but had never been adventurous enough to actually try it. Today that changed, and I was challenged.

Let’s break this down like we always do:

Red Velvet Cake

  • The consistency of this batter was more wet then I am used to for a red velvet cake, but I believe that that’s what aided in it coming out so moist!
  • Classic red velvet does have buttermilk, but I found this recipe to have more then the norm. I LOVE it!
  • With the use of gel food coloring you end up using a lot less, because it is so concentrated, which I like. Adding a whole bottle of red food color just feels so wrong no matter how many times you do it!

Heritage Frosting

  • Total transparency, I am not sure how I feel about this frosting. I have heard such good things about these types of frosting but I struggled a little bit.
  • While simmering my milk, salt, and flour it didn’t seem to thicken until it THICKENED! Within 20 seconds of it starting to thicken it was done, so I would make sure to not step away if you try it out.
  • I creamed the butter and sugar for well over the time stated in the book, but the mixture still had some grainy-ness to it so I kept beating it until that feeling was gone.
  • After adding the flour mixture it had clumps of…gummy bits. I don’t know how to explain it, but to solve this problem I pressed it through a fine mesh sift and it seemed to get rid of a lot of the clumps.
  • It came out so fluffy! Beating the butter and sugar for so long helped with that, but spreading this on the cake was a breeze!

White Chocolate Curls

  • The directions for this step were perfect!
  • My chocolate came out of the microwave the perfect consistency to make curls, but sadly I have naturally hot hands and I couldn’t keep my chocolate from melting in my hands.
  • I popped the chocolate that had gone too soft in the fridge for a couple minutes and continued to make curls.

Overall

  • I love this red velvet recipe! Moist, soft crumb, and delicious (from what my fiancĂ© says).
  • Next time I would love to pair this cake with a white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream! That sounds delightful, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
  • I LOVE how fluffy the frosting came out. For such a flavorful cake I really enjoy a light and airy component.
  • With six cake layers, I ended with a beautiful cake with a height that I really enjoy!

Unrelated to this cake; if anyone is reading this with constructive criticism, tips, or are wanting to see more of something specific please reach out! I would love to hear what you have to say, thank you!

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