The red velvet experiment
Posted: 08 February 2013 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  339
Joined  2009-01-22

Hi all,

  I just mentioned in another thread that I’ve been contemplating doing some experimentation with a red velvet cake, but I’m not sure where to start with things. There are a few things I’d like to modify from most of the traditional recipes I’ve seen out there.

First off, every red velvet cake I’ve seen out there is an oil cake, but I’d like to try a butter cake instead if that’s possible.

Second thing I’d like do is use cake flour instead of AP. I’ve seen a few recipes that call for cake flour, but most call for AP.

Third, I’d like to incorporate more cocoa powder into the cake. Typically what I have seen is the recipe calling for around 2-3 Tbsp of cocoa powder. I’d like to try to at least double that, maybe more. The other thing I’d like to do is apply Rose’s method of adding the cocoa powder to boiling water and then adding it to the batter after it has cooled rather than just adding it in with the rest of the dry ingredients. The issue with this is figuring out how to adjust the rest of the recipe based on the extra water being added by doing this. The math is fairly straight forward. All I have to do is know the mass and/or volume of water being used and then reduce the amount of either the buttermilk or vinegar (or a combination of both) to compensate for the extra water being added. My concern with doing this is how it will affect the overall chemistry of the cake and how well it bakes. The buttermilk and vinegar are acidic, but the cocoa powder is an alkali substance, and the baking soda is amphoteric (it can behave as an acid or a base, depending on the conditions). So, as soon as you adjust one of these components you will inevitably have to change the others in order to maintain the proper balance between all of them. However, if I’m adjusting the buttermilk and/or vinegar based on the volume of water in it, I’m not sure the proper acid/base balance can still be maintained.

There are so many factors to consider I’m not sure where to begin. If anyone has any suggestions on how to approach this I’d love to hear them. Thanks.

- MP

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 February 2013 01:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1376
Joined  2008-09-27

You’re overthinking this, IMO. Baking soda will act as a base in the cake. Dutched cocoa powder may be alkaline or it may be neutral, but it’s probably safe to assume neutral. A little on the acid or alkaline side for the cake probably won’t matter much. Conduct some baseline experiments and make adjustments as necessary. I kept adjusting the baking soda in my cinnamon muffins until they had the dome size that I liked, and I switched between baking soda and baking powder to control the browning. The ratios are pretty forgiving.

 Signature 

If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 February 2013 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1214
Joined  2009-11-24

MP, Red Velvet seems to be very popular for testing and modifying.  First, I recall you mention you do not have RHC.  RHC has a red velvet.  Rose’s red velvet used oil and butter. There are many recipes (on the internet and in cookbooks) that only use butter.  Also, I have searched through many Red Velvets.  Some do use up to 1/4 cup of cocoa.  I think in cases where you want to increase the cocoa you just reduce the flour by the same amount. 

This person tested (perhaps not perfectly) comparing several recipes
http://thebakemore.blogspot.com/2009/12/red-velvet-taste-test-round-2.html

this person did a smaller comparison
http://www.crumblycookie.net/2009/02/12/red-velvet-cake-comparison/

Of course, if you search the forum you will find the topic on Red Velvet throughout. 

RHC is available for Kindle PC also.  You do not need a Kindle to have an electronic version.  I love that cookbook (I love TCB also).  But RHC is really friendly with nice photos.  And, you do get the photos in the electronic version as well.  I have electronic and hard copy as I like using the search version. 

As Charles says, do not overthink it.

 Signature 

So many recipes - so little time.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 February 2013 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4839
Joined  2008-04-16

MP, definitely take a look at Rose’s red velvet in RHC, it already has a lot of the things you’re wanting to test, including an option for max cocoa powder.  Library?

 Signature 

Brød & Taylor Test Kitchen:  Peanut Butter Cups, All Grown Up

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 February 2013 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  339
Joined  2009-01-22

Thanks for the tips and advice here, everyone. I have a bad habit of over thinking things all the time. I will look around some more and try to figure out the best approach to this experiment. In the meantime, I am going to follow Julie’s advice and see if I can get a copy of RHC from my library. Thanks again for the help here, folks. I really appreciate it.

- MP

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 February 2013 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2012-12-27

I tried (twice) to replace the food coloring with beet juice and both times was rewarded with pink velvet cake.  Am I missing something?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 February 2013 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  339
Joined  2009-01-22
fourarchangels - 11 February 2013 09:48 PM

I tried (twice) to replace the food coloring with beet juice and both times was rewarded with pink velvet cake.  Am I missing something?

Hi fourarchangels,

  What was the source of your beet juice? If you used beet juice from a can, or some sort of processed product, this could be a reason that your cake was not as red as you would have liked it to be. If this was the case, try using raw beet juice from a puree and that may give you better results. You might also try using more juice next time if you were already using raw juice to begin with. Good luck!

- MP

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 February 2013 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1652
Joined  2011-02-17
Monsieur P?tisserie - 08 February 2013 07:56 PM

Hi all,

  I just mentioned in another thread that I’ve been contemplating doing some experimentation with a red velvet cake, but I’m not sure where to start with things. There are a few things I’d like to modify from most of the traditional recipes I’ve seen out there.

First off, every red velvet cake I’ve seen out there is an oil cake, but I’d like to try a butter cake instead if that’s possible.

Second thing I’d like do is use cake flour instead of AP. I’ve seen a few recipes that call for cake flour, but most call for AP.

Third, I’d like to incorporate more cocoa powder into the cake. Typically what I have seen is the recipe calling for around 2-3 Tbsp of cocoa powder. I’d like to try to at least double that, maybe more. The other thing I’d like to do is apply Rose’s method of adding the cocoa powder to boiling water and then adding it to the batter after it has cooled rather than just adding it in with the rest of the dry ingredients. The issue with this is figuring out how to adjust the rest of the recipe based on the extra water being added by doing this. The math is fairly straight forward. All I have to do is know the mass and/or volume of water being used and then reduce the amount of either the buttermilk or vinegar (or a combination of both) to compensate for the extra water being added. My concern with doing this is how it will affect the overall chemistry of the cake and how well it bakes. The buttermilk and vinegar are acidic, but the cocoa powder is an alkali substance, and the baking soda is amphoteric (it can behave as an acid or a base, depending on the conditions). So, as soon as you adjust one of these components you will inevitably have to change the others in order to maintain the proper balance between all of them. However, if I’m adjusting the buttermilk and/or vinegar based on the volume of water in it, I’m not sure the proper acid/base balance can still be maintained.

There are so many factors to consider I’m not sure where to begin. If anyone has any suggestions on how to approach this I’d love to hear them. Thanks.

- MP

Monsieur, I have baked Rose’s Red Velvet Cake and I must warn you. If you bake this cake, bake two of them because you can count on guests wanting more than one serving.

If you go to amazon.com and search for Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, scroll down the page and you will see Rose provides the recipe for her Red Velvet Cake:

http://www.amazon.com/Roses-Heavenly-Cakes-Rose-Beranbaum/dp/0471781738/ref=ntt_at_ep_edition_1_3

Enjoy!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 February 2013 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  339
Joined  2009-01-22
Flour Girl - 12 February 2013 12:29 AM

Monsieur, I have baked Rose’s Red Velvet Cake and I must warn you. If you bake this cake, bake two of them because you can count on guests wanting more than one serving.

If you go to amazon.com and search for Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, scroll down the page and you will see Rose provides the recipe for her Red Velvet Cake:

http://www.amazon.com/Roses-Heavenly-Cakes-Rose-Beranbaum/dp/0471781738/ref=ntt_at_ep_edition_1_3

Enjoy!

Thank you so much, flour girl! I am definitely going to give her version of this cake a try. It looks like it’s just for one layer, though, so I think I will have to triple the instructions to make a three-layer cake. I’m very excited about this. Thanks again!

- MP

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 February 2013 01:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1652
Joined  2011-02-17

You’re welcome! Good luck with it. I’m looking forward to reading your results.

Profile
 
 
   
  Back to top