When most people hear the term “Red Velvet Cake”, they think of the urban legend of the “Waldorf Astoria Cake” or the “$100,000 Cake”. But, Red Velvet Cake, a popular layered cake with a red color, has a deeper and more involved history. Red Velvet Cakes can be traced back to before the turn of the century. Originally the dark red hue was created by the chemical reaction of the vinegar, buttermilk, and cocoa which are always included in a traditional Red Velvet Cake recipe. More commonly the cake was called “Mahogany”
Around the time of the Great Depression, Adams Extract & Spice created their own version of the Red Velvet Cake recipe. This more vibrant red cake included all the traditional ingredients such as vinegar, buttermilk, and cocoa, but was the first to incorporate the use of Red Food Color and the substitution of shortening and Butter Flavor for butter in their recipe. This recipe was printed on tear off cards added to product displays around the country. The bright red colored version was an instant hit, and over time, Adams Red Velvet Cake recipe has become a staple in households around the country. In 1972, Author James Beard discussed three recipes for Red Velvet Cake in his classic book, American Cookery. All three recipes featured shortening and Red Food Color, an adaptation that can be traced back to Adams innovative recipe. Similar recipes can also be traced to multiple State Fair Winners and recipes used by some the most renowned pastry chefs in America. But most importantly, all modern recipes for Red Velvet Cake contain red food color, the product Mr. Adams built his entrepreneurial marketing strategy around.
The next time you eat a Red Velvet Cake, remember the history goes back much further than the modern food trend of the last few years or the common urban legends. The resurgence is tied to historical recipes that date back decades. This classic recipe is definitely worth the effort to make. Once you do, you will be adding it to your family recipe traditions.
Adams Original Red Velvet Cake Recipe:
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/2 cup shortening
11/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon Adams Best Vanilla
1 teaspoon Adams Butter Flavor
1 ounce Adams Red Color
3 Tablespoons cocoa
21/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
Cream the shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat vigorously. Add flavors to mixture. In a separate bowl make a paste of cocoa and food coloring and blend into shortening mixture. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with buttermilk to mixture. Add vinegar to mixture with last part of buttermilk. Blend well. Bake in 3 - 9" pans for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.
This recipe, Red Velvet Cupcake recipes and icing/frosting recipes can found on our website at www.adamsextract.com or on our YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/
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Adams Extract & Spice is an industry leader in food flavor solutions that provides a wide range of consumer products from pantry basic spices and extracts to culinary spices, blends, and herbs from around the world. Best known for its worlds famous Adams Best Vanilla, Adams manufactures their own brands and private label spice, blends, and extract items sold in retail locations around the nation. One of the oldest spice and extract companies in America, Adams Extract & Spice will be celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2013.