Everybody, I suspect, who reads my blog (yes, all two of you) will have at some point come into contact with red velvet cake. Anyone who knows anyone who has read a cookbook or weekend newspaper* recently will have heard about it, seen the gorgeous photos of it, tasted it and possibly even made it themselves.
For the uninitiated, you can refer to the pic to the top-left for the visual. Beautiful isn’t it? I mean truly – red velvet cake looks amazing.
What a pity cake isn’t exclusively a visual medium.
If you’d like to know what it tastes like, I suggest you go out, find a large cardboard box, cut it into a series of same-sized circles, glue them together with Perkins Paste, paint them a rather rich, dark red, then microwave them for one minute and thirty seconds. What comes out won’t look as good as red velvet cake, but it will probably taste a little better.
Now perhaps I’m being a little cruel given that red velvet cake is unlikely to make you instantly vomit**, but I have tasted this cake several times, cooked by a number of different people – some of them superb actual chefs who make delightful other cakes, desserts and meals, I’ve tasted red velvet cake with different icings, presented in different ways, with and without syrupy stuff and the taste has been uniformly awful. And it’s not like each of these red velvet cakes had some different issue, no, it’s simply that the actual cake bit – the dark red stuff – tastes like crap. I’ve tasted $2 plain butter cakes from the supermarket with more flavour.
Like a gorgeous, well-dressed person who is a total arsehole, the red velvet cake will disappoint you every time.
AND YET THE BLOODY STUFF IS EVERYWHERE!! Every second dessert recipe I see is “Red Velvet Mufffins” or “Red Velvet Cupcakes” or “Red Velvet Cake with [insert icing with actual flavour in here]”. I do not understand why people persist with printing recipes for it.
What it is about red velvet cake which makes it taste so bad I cannot know, for I am about as talented with baking as I am with spinal surgery (and probably slightly more likely to kill you with it), but I will put forward a theory: great-tasting food doesn’t often look all that flash. I mean just look at a kebab – some brown stuff and red and green stuff mashed into a wrap with goop dripping off it. Attractive? No, but ooooh so delicious.
And perhaps that’s the secret – I mean it is a beautiful looking cake, so any print artistic director would love to see this cake in their pages. Magazines and newspapers are certainly a visual medium and who cares if the people reading your publication go out and bake the cake and it tastes hideous? They already bought the damn thing!
Well there you have it people, problem solved: do not allow newspaper or magazine artistic directors anywhere near your dessert menu. And enjoy your red velvet cake with your eyes only. ;o)
* Which are basically gossip mags mixed with recipe books anyway
** No, that would take probably two slices