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Red Velvet Cake has Roots in History

Dinner guests at the Buckhorn Inn on May 30 will enjoy Red Velvet Cake for dessert.  My personal history with this treat began when I was a child.  Then it was known as “$200 Cake”.  As the story I heard goes, a guest at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City enjoyed her dessert so much that she asked the chef for the recipe.  She received the formula and instructions,  and $200 was added to her bill.  She protested, but the chef replied that since she had seen the recipe, she must pay for it.  She paid the bill, but exacted revenge by printing cards and passing out  “the secret recipe” on New York City buses.   This story may or may not be true, but we do know a bit of the history of Red Velvet.  Velvet cakes, so called because cocoa powder or cornstarch was used with the flour  to create a fine-textured product, had been around since the 1800’s.  But it was during the 1940’s  that the Adams Extract company from Texas used point-of-sale recipe cards featuring their butter flavoring and red food coloring.  The recipe spread from Texas throughout the South.  During the era of WWII food rationing, boiled beet juice was used to give the cake its brilliant coloring and help retain moisture.  The dessert was popular at state fair baking contests and other bake-offs.   A cameo role in the 1989 film “Steel Magnolias” put this treat firmly in the modern spotlight.

Frosting on the Cake

The  Red Velvet Cake  I remember from my childhood featured a boiled milk and flour frosting, called an ermine.  It was very light and fluffy, but also very time-consuming to prepare.  That may be one of the reasons that cream cheese frosting is the current favorite go-with.  Whatever its origins, Red Velvet Cake truly is a delight!  For a peek at our ever-changing menu, please visit https://www.buckhorninn.com/DINING/WEEKLY-MENU.  

Velvet red cake

Red Velvet Cake