The Red Velvet Experiments

As requested by a few of my readers, I would like to share the recipe of my red velvet experiments. Actually…the pancakes, the makeshift cake and the cupcakes all came from the same batter. Unfortunately, not all of them met expectations.

First, the disclaimer: I am not a baker and I know baking requires precision. I’m the kind of person who would just estimate the amount of ingredients to use depending on my taste.

Second: This experiment came about because I hate chocolate cake but LOVE red velvet, which is basically a kind of chocolate cake. I had looked up various recipes to find out what makes it different and…well, apparently, it has vinegar.

I used two different recipes as my reference:

I ended up using the following ingredients and estimates:
  • 2 cups or 250 grams flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (that’s 1/4 cup less than the original recipe)
  • 1/2-1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • buttermilk (I used a substitute for this, thanks to Joy of Baking: mixed 1 freshly squeezed lemon juice with 240mL fresh milk and left it for 10 minutes before using)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2-1 cup coco sugar
  • 3 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
What I did was mix all the dry ingredients together. Then I added the red food coloring into the substitute buttermilk and mixed it well. I gradually mixed the red buttermilk into the dry ingredients and added the rest (vinegar and vanilla). I avoided over-mixing the batter lest it turn into soup. Then I cooked it the way I usually do with regular pancakes: poured some batter into a pre-heated pan (at low-medium heat), and then waited for that perfectly round shape to solidify before turning it over and eventually fishing it out of the pan.
Uh, yeah. Don’t stack them while they’re hot. Wait for a few hours before stacking them or the cream cheese frosting will melt. That will definitely make the cakes slip off each other.
Nerd trivia:
If you’re wondering why there’s vinegar among the ingredients, it’s because cocoa has anthocyanin (these belong under flavonoids, a type of compound that have antioxidant properties). The combination of buttermilk and vinegar makes the anthocyanin react in such a way that its redness becomes more predominant. That’s the simplest way I can explain it and I hope I did not bungle it. Hehe. Anyway…moving on…
Cream Cheese Frosting:
I manually beat together 8oz cream cheese (I used Philadelphia’s whipped cream cheese), 1 cup butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (that’s half a cup less than Joy of Baking‘s amount) and 1 cup whipping cream. I found it to be too sweet on the first day, but the cream cheese became more predominant on the second day, which I liked. I cannot imagine using more sugar than this! Using more could probably make your frosting more stiff and beautiful, but my tongue won’t be able to tolerate it.
I noticed that the pancakes actually tasted better the next day, and even better the day after that, especially when the cream cheese flavor popped. I also noticed that they did this kind of formation on the second day:

Yup. They started to look like an actual cake with layers and I dunno if it’s just me, but I liked ’em better this way than when I was eating them like pancakes. The result was creamy but not nakaka-umay. (I don’t think the English words “sickeningly sweet” would be enough in describing what “umay” means.)

Buuut I had this epic failure:

These cupcakes don’t taste as good as they look. I realized that I should try to do it differently for cupcakes because pancakes are too light. I love the second incarnation of my pancakes so I guess I’d be doing that more often.

Anyway, thanks to all the readers who suggested I post about this. I actually post a lot of kitchen experiments on my FB page but it looks like only the red velvet ones merited a blog entry.

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