Many layers of The Scarlet Pimpernel-The New Indian Express

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Sitting by the window of the coffee shop at the famous Waldrof Astoria Hotel in New York, enjoying the beautiful summer morning and sipping the freshly-brewed Arabica coffee, I had this sudden urge to have something sweet. The steward assured me the Red Velvet cake, their speciality, is the one I should go for.

That was how I found out that the cake and its original recipe—among the most popular in the US—originates from their very own red velvet cake, and is a globally popular cake with a dark red colour. It is usually prepared as a layer cake topped with a creamy, vanilla icing, or mostly with cream cheese icing. The reddish-brown colour of the cake was originally derived from a reaction of cocoa powder with an acidic ingredient such as butter milk. However today, red food coloring is often added.

Red Velvet indeed has a red history behind it. While food was rationed during the World War  II, New York’s bakers used boiled beetroot as a substitute colouring, to enhance the customer appeal of their cakes. Grated and boiled beetroot extract is used in Red Velvet cakes even today, though most bakers also use red colour. Today, the red colour is mainly achieved, though, by the reaction of the shortening and butter used, with the cocoa powder, which tends to reveal the red anthocyanin in cocoa.

A Texas-based firm was the first to bring the Red Velvet to kitchens across America during the Great Depression, by selling the red food colour and other flavour extracts with promotional tactics like free posters that included the recipe as tear-off card. The cake’s original recipe is also made with butter-cream icing, while a Southern variation is made with cream-cheese frosting. Beets are not used in the Southern version of the Red Velvet recipe.

In Canada the cake was a well-known dessert in restaurants and bakeries of Eaton’s chain departmental store in the 1940s and ’50s. Promoted as an exclusive Eaton’s recipe, with employees who knew it sworn to silence, many mistakenly believed the cake to be the invention of the store’s matriarch. A resurgence in popularity of this cake is partly attributed to the 1989 film Steel Magnolias, in which the groom’s cake (a Southern tradition) is a Red Velvet in the shape of an armadillo. However, in recent years, Red Velvet has become increasingly popular and can usually be found in most cupcake stores across the US.



[button color="green" link="http://monishgujral.com/red-velvet-cake/" target=""] Click for RED VELVET CAKE Recipe [/button]

First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.

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