Red velvet on the rise

Red Velvet cake

There’s no doubt that on Valentine’s Day plenty of red velvet cake will find its way onto dessert plates. The cake, which originated in the Southern US, achieved its peak popularity during the cupcake craze a few years back. But recent signs point to its possible comeback on dessert menus, according to Restaurant Hospitality.

Red Velvet Oreos recently hit store shelves after Oreo’s parent company identified red velvet cake as an underserved niche. “We knew there was a lot of love out there for the flavor red velvet … and for Oreo,”  says Janda Lukin, senior director for Oreo North America. “So we asked ourselves, why not combine the two?” Ben & Jerry’s has long offered Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream, which the company describes as “red velvet cake batter ice cream loaded with red velvet cake pieces and a cream cheese frosting swirl.” 

Previously, restaurants have shunned red velvet cake due to its pedestrian roots. It’s seen as something too simple to be featured on a dessert menu. But the recent trend of outsourcing desserts, as noted in Washingtonian magazine, may provide incentive to offer red velvet cake. The dessert menu increasingly “falls to chefs and line cooks who, lacking any background in baking, have contrived to fill their menus with simple, quick-fix solutions. Puddings, custards, panna cotta (an Italian term for what is essentially Jell-O made with cream) don’t require a lot of effort or expense; all can be made in the morning and stashed in the walk-in refrigerator,” the magazine notes. Since red velvet cake requires no specialized experience, it could easily fill this role. 

Would you order red velvet cake if it were offered on a dessert menu?

Photo of Red velvet cake from The Chew: Food. Life. Fun. Over 100 Delicious Recipes from the Chew Kitchen

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  • Queezle_Sister  on  February 18, 2015

    What does red velvet offer other than a chocolate cake with a ton of red food color? I suppose if the red came from beets, I would be intrigued and order it, but as a chocolate cake with a big dose of red food color, I'd order a different chocolate cake!

  • hillsboroks  on  February 18, 2015

    I agree with Queezle Sister. I made a couple of them when I was a teenager and then never bothered with them again instead just making regular chocolate cakes. I also find that if I am ordering dessert at a restaurant I tend to order something that takes more effort than cake, which is something I can make at home. When a restaurant offers something for dessert that the home cook can't or won't make on a normal basis then I am intrigued and may forgo the main course and just order salad or an appetizer so that I can justify ordering their fabulous dessert unless I can talk a table mate into splitting it with me.

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