History of Red Velvet Cake

Learn the history of red velvet cake from professional cake decorator Amanda Oakleaf in this Howcast video.

Hi, my name is Amanda Oakleaf. I am owner, head baker, decorator of Amanda Oakleaf Cakes in Winthrop, Massachusetts where we do cupcakes, custom cakes, wedding cakes, birthday cakes, anything you can think of we can make it into a cake. And today I’ll be talking to you about baking cupcakes. So Red Velvet is one of our most popular flavors here at the shop, both for cakes and wedding cakes, kids’ birthdays, cupcake flavors. It’s most popular all the way around. The origin of the recipe, I think it’s a Southern-based recipe. And it was popularized by the movie "Steel Magnolias" from the armadillo groom’s cake, and then from there, everybody set up to their own recipes. Basically, it’s a red cake originally because the cocoa in the recipe turns red after a chemical reaction, a chemical reaction between the alkali, which is the baking soda, the base, and the acidic ingredients like the cocoa, the vinegar and the buttermilk. That reaction kind of makes the cocoa turn red. And then from there, we have added even more red color. You can add red fruit coloring, which is what we do. It’s a chemical, and that makes the cake even a brighter red. If you want to go a more natural route, you can use crushed beetles, which are also a really bright red. And that’s the history behind Red Velvet.