In Monday's cakes class, we made Red Velvet Cake. Many people seem to get really excited about Red Velvet Cake so this is a good recipe to know. We began as we always do by preparing the 10 inch cake rounds and making the batter. This time, we baked the layers as individual layers so we didn't have to do any cutting of a large cake - that's always a bonus.
Red Velvet Cake was a popular cake at the Waldorf-Historia Hotel in New York. There's an urban legend that says a woman in the 1960s asked for the recipe when she ordered this as dessert. When she received her bill, she was charged a large amount of money for the recipe. A bit peeved, she is rumored to have sent a chain letter with copies of the recipe therefore spreading the recipe all over the place.
In today's world, the red color comes from food coloring. Traditionally, the red color came from the Dutch Processed Cocoa that was used in the cake. At times, beets can also be used. This is actually a popular choice when making a devil's food cake or a red velvet cake.
Traditionally, Red Velvet Cake is iced with a Swiss Buttercream. You're probably thinking that you eat Red Velvet Cake with a cream cheese frosting, and this is more popular today, but traditionally, it was Swiss Buttercream. So we made the Swiss Buttercream.
In general, Swiss Buttercream has one part egg whites, two parts sugar, and three parts butter. To be considered a Swiss Buttercream, the egg whites and sugar are heated over a double boiler to 110 degrees F. Then they are whipped to medium peak. The softened butter is added until the mixture becomes smooth. Vanilla and a pinch of salt can be added for flavoring purposes. This is how we made it.
We formed the cake as we always do, alternating layers of cake and buttercream, and icing the cake with smooth sides and a smooth top - well, as smooth as possible. We marked the cake into 16 equal slices, formed 16 rosettes, covered the bottom edge in crushed chocolate, and placed 16 chocolate pieces on top. I did a pretty good job on this cake, but you wouldn't actually know by looking at it that it's a red velvet cake. If I made this in the future, I would try to come up with a design for the top of the cake to show it is red velvet. It tasted okay, but I think I'm more modern and would prefer the cream cheese icing.