A Red Velvet Christmas: Brock’s Red Velvet recipes

Who invented the Red Velvet Cake? No one really knows. However, it seems that it’s been around in one form or another since the about the 1930′s. In those days it was something of a regional specialty, being closely tied to the State of Texas, especially the City of Austin and most especially the Adams Extract Company. Adams manufactured food colorings, and one of the company’s favorite promotion techniques was to give away copies of recipes that used colors — lots and lots of colors. They spread around quite a few copies of their red velvet cake over time.

By the 50’s and early 60’s red velvet cake had burst its regional boundaries and had spread all over the West, Northwest and Midwest. By that point it just may have reached the East, especially the City of New York and most especially the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Red velvet cake is and always was a novelty. Odds are it was originally created for the holiday season, a bright red buttermilk cake that was meant to look Christmas-y. Its popularity peaked in the 60′s, when other-worldly looking foods were all the rage in the States and housewives delighted in bright molded fruit salads, cube-shaped savory aspics and spherical potted meat dumplings. Red velvet regained prominence in the 1989 film Steel Magnolias. It was “a thing”, as the kids like to say, all through the 90′s, until its popularity seemed to explode about five years ago. Since then red velvet has been pervasive, and so has the rumor that there was once a version that didn’t use red food coloring. Alas red velvet and two ounces of red coloring go hand-in-hand. Such is life in America, where we like to play with our food almost as much as we like to eat it.—this article comes from joepastry.com. Hope you enjoy these recipes of mine this week! These are some of my favorite red velvet recipes! Perfect for Christmas! Enjoy, readers!

Red Velvet Chess Squares

Note: The first time I ever encountered these, I was just blown away! One of my former students prepared these for a Christmas party for the teachers where I taught. These dessert bars are a sure hit for any Christmas get-together!

Crust:

1 Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix

2 tsp. red food coloring

1 egg

1 stick butter (melted)

Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese

1 box powdered sugar, sifted

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

To prepare crust, combine cake mix, coloring, egg and butter until dough is formed. Press into lightly greased 13x9x2 baking dish, pressing some of the crust up the sides. For filling, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer, adding eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Mix well. Pour over prepared crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Mama’s Easy Red Velvet Sheet Cake

Note: This is one of the easiest holiday sheet cakes to prepare! Everyone loves it, and it is just ideal to have at a Christmas dinner.

Cake:

One and one half boxes red velvet cake mix (Duncan Hines)

One and one third cup vegetable oil

Two thirds cup water

3 large eggs

2 tsp. red food coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 boxes confectioner’s sugar (sifted)

1 stick butter, softened

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix ingredients for cake in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer for two minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13×9 cake pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until middle of cake is done. Cool completely. For frosting, cream butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer and gradually add in confectioner’s sugar. Add vanilla. Beat until no lumps are present and frosting is smooth and creamy. Pour over cooled cake. Chill for at least 3 hours. Decorate with chopped pecans or leave plain.

Editor’s note: Brock Wetherly Rogers is an experienced southern food writer, educator, overseas traveler, and passionate student of the culinary and pastry arts. E-mail your comments to him at brockrogers1@gmail.com, or find him on Facebook at Brock’s Bites-Southern Recipes.