Red velvet cake is the superstar among holiday confections. It is an eye-catching and fancy-looking cake, even with the simplest decorations. I love it because it’s simple and unique at the same time, and that’s what makes it stand out. For me, it was certain it would become my fav voguish dessert, but many people are still skeptical whether it’s worth trying. So I will answer the question to help you decide if this treat works for you: What does red velvet cake taste like?
When biting into red velvet cake, you’ll first taste the sweetness of vanilla, the tang of buttermilk and cheese frosting, plus base notes of flowery cocoa. However, this is a rich buttery cake that melts in the mouth. Red velvet cake is a melding of simple, mild flavors which awaken the hidden parts of your palate.
You don’t always need one powerful ingredient to adapt your other ingredient around it, and this cake is proof. I always thought you needed special ingredients to make a special confection, but regular pantry ingredients with a drop of color will do the job, as well. Read on to learn about the flavor, smell, and what makes it spesh.
What Gives Flavor to Red Velvet Cake?
A bit of cocoa, vanilla, and buttermilk are, in fact, base notes that each satisfy taste buds. It has a sweet, sour, bitter, and even a bit salty tone. One bite of high-quality velvet cake will make you swoon and want more.
Ingredients and the amount used for making red velvet cake are actually unobtrusive when standing alone, but in the fusion, those flavors make a real delicacy. On an important note, it doesn’t taste like chocolate cake. Nothing will overtake the flavor, but they will complement each other finely.
Cocoa gives it a touch of earthy flavor with fruity notes and a bitter aftertaste. It’s not overwhelming, though, as you need just a spoon or two, so it has mild cocoa relish. The marriage between tart cocoa and sweet vanilla is what makes it special.
Buttermilk is the foundation of this cake and makes it exceptionally tender and moist. It reacts with baking soda, as well, making the dough squashy, airy, and soft. Along with buttermilk, vinegar adds to the overall acidity of the cake.
These three ingredients combined will give some pungency, as said, but they balance the cake too well. It’s best to add both butter and oil to the cake blend, and here are the reasons why. Butter secures richness and butteriness, while the oil makes it dump with a melt-in-mouth texture.
The next notable thing to elevate the flavors is, believe it or not, cake flour. It is the simplest ingredient of them all, but it makes a huge difference. It doesn’t have a special taste but has a massive influence on one. The lightweight and spongy dough is a statement touch to the cake.
Cream cheese frosting in between the layers is silky and mild, so it smashes the flavor amazingly. It adds up to a tangy taste, but a few drops of vanilla and sugar keep it on the sweet side.
When you go through the list of ingredients for this cake, you’ll maybe think you’re missing a chief component to make it attention-worthy. But, even if its relish is gentle, it is still complex and subtly rich. Frosting loaded and delicate red velvet cake is among the favorites of any sophisticated palate.
If this is too boring for you, there are many other peculiar things that will elevate its basic taste. For exotic taste buds, you can sprinkle a handful of shredded cocoa, and if you want to keep it simple, I sometimes just cover it with melted chocolate. Consider enriching it with chopped almonds, pistachios, white chocolate chips, or even mint for a tad of coolness.
What makes this cake unique is the texture more than the flavors. The cake dough is deliciously tender, luscious, and moist, while the cream frosting gives that velvety, smooth hint to it. All of this together makes the velvet cake rhapsody of flavors reserved for cosmopolitan palates only.
Does Red Color in Red Velvet Cake Have Flavor?
Artificial, store-bought red dye has no taste whatsoever. Anyway, you need just a tad of it, so it has no chance to change the flavor, in any case. All in all, the red color is there only for aesthetic purposes as the cake will be completely the same without, as well. You certainly won’t add a whole bottle of red dye, but if you would, it will have some effect on the taste, though.
On the other hand, if you opt for natural food coloring, expect some new base notes, like beetroot, cranberries, pomegranate, or hibiscus, depending on what you use in the prep process. Even though these may seem like better options, they will undoubtedly change the flavor, so make sure you’re aware of that.
I’ve tried a beetroot-based red dye — it merged amazingly well with other components, as it has a slightly sugary, earthy note. It has a pretty vivid shade of red, considering it is natural and can be made at home by simmering beet cubes till reduced.
What Does Red Velvet Cake Smell Like?
To me, red velvet cake smells like holidays and big family gatherings, taking over the whole house with a homey aroma. The smell of butter, vanilla, cocoa, and buttermilk intertwined is rich but still toned down. Vanilla gives a sugary scent, while butter, eggs, and buttermilk have a creamy aroma.
The last one is a chocolaty note which is not too intense but subtle. Cocoa alone is powdery and strong-scented, so its small amount in the cake will give a dash of sweet and floral notes. Cream cheese frosting has a light smell that blends with other ingredients, with a few sprinkles of sugar.
Still, not all cakes are made the same — it’s like this with red velvet cakes, too. In this video, you can see how even the same kind of cakes differ according to the taste of the one who made them. So, if you didn’t like one slice of red velvet, that doesn’t mean that you won’t like the second or the third (just make sure the slices come from different red velvet cakes :)).
What Is the Difference Between Red Velvet Cake and Regular Cake?
People are pretty skeptical when it comes to this rich dessert because they think it cannot beat a regular cake. Despite the whole fuss about it, red velvet may even suit your tastes more, but how can you know if you’ve never tried it? So, let’s see how it actually differs from the regular cake.
Red velvet is not chocolate or vanilla cake but a bit of both. It’s lighter than regular choco cake, as it has a distinct cocoa flavor. When comparing those two, it is velvety with traces of dark chocolate because of cocoa and buttermilk fusion.
Basically, it has a chocolaty flavor but no chocolate at all with aromatic vanilla. It is much more buttery than a regular cake, it’s not crumbly but satin smooth. Also, cheese frosting gives that tangy note, along with buttermilk and vinegar.
Original recipes call for boiled milk frosting, which is much more delicate but a bit trickier to make. That milky sweet paste drizzled with vanilla will skyrocket the flavors, though. It is not as heavy as chocolate cake, yet it’s rich and full-flavored.
Do you remember the first time you tried red velvet? How was it? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!