The beloved Red Velvet cake
History of the Red Velvet cake
When foods were rationed during World War II, bakers used boiled beet juices to enhance the color of their cakes. Beets are found in some red velvet cake recipes, where they also serve to retain moisture.
The cake and its original recipe are well known in the United States from New York City's famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. However, it is widely considered a Southern recipe. Traditionally, the cake is iced with a French-style butter roux icing (also called ermine icing), which is very light and fluffy but time-consuming to prepare. Cream cheese frosting and buttercream frosting are variations which have increased in popularity.
Red Velvet v Devil Food's cake
The lack of melted chocolate, the use of vinegar and the addition of coffee is typically what distinguishes a Devil's food cake from a red velvet cake. Adding red food colouring to the a Devil's food cake batter will technically make is a red velvet cake. The use of hot, or boiling water as the cake's main liquid, rather than milk, is a common similarity to the both cakes.
Devil's food cake is sometimes distinguished from other chocolate cakes by the use of additional baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which raises the pH level and makes the cake a deeper and darker mahogany color. Devil's food cake incorporates butter (or a substitute), egg whites, flour (while some chocolate cakes are flourless) and less egg than other chocolate cakes. Devil's food cake was invented in the United States in the early 20th century with the recipe in print as early as 1905.
The red velvet cake, is closely linked to a Devil's food cake, and in some turn of the century cookbooks the two names may have been interchangeable. Most red velvet cakes today use red food coloring, but even without it, the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in the cocoa. When used in cakes, acid causes reddening of cocoa powder when baked, and before more alkaline "Dutch Processed" cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name "Red Velvet" as well as "Devil's Food" and a long list of similar names for chocolate cakes.
A simple Red Velvet recipe
Devil's Food cake recipe
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup nonalkalized cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup milk
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/devils-food-cake-recipe.html?oc=linkback