It is humiliating for me to admit that the first time I became aware of the existence of Red Velvet Cake was on Newlyweds with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. I can remember Jessica walking up to her wedding cake and shrieking “Red Velvet! My favorite!” and me being baffled thinking, “Huh?”
Seriously, what is Red Velvet Cake? Why was it so mysterious to me? What’s the hype? Who made it red? The Red Velvet Gods? Why isn’t it blue, or green, or just the normal light brown if it weren’t for the addition of almost an entire container of red food coloring? Is it a chocolate cake? Is it vanilla? The words “Red Velvet” did not give me any indication of what I would taste upon trying this cake.
I ended up tasting this elusive flavor in various places, and I couldn’t decide what I felt about it, or what it was. Once I made one of Paula Deen’s recipes, and it was weak and weird. Then, one summer while on vacation in Harbour Island years ago and I tried a dense, wonderful Red Velvet Cake that bowled me over, and that was it. Sold. I got it.