March 5, 2014: Red Velvet
Several years ago I coordinated my employer’s holiday bake-off competition, and was mesmerized when a co-worker walked in with a beautifully decorated cake. She said it was red velvet, which I’d never heard of and was eager to try.
Although this taste treat was once confined to the southeastern U.S., everyone now knows about red velvet cake. Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) recently reported that according to restaurant research company Datassential, “red velvet appeared on 23 percent more menus in 2013 than in 2012…and its mention on menus has grown by 500 percent.”
For those not in the know, red velvet cake contains cocoa (which in the old days provided the red coloring), red food dye and in modern times is traditionally topped with cream cheese frosting.
But the current boom in red velvet is seemingly driven by its “morphing” into other food items, including, reports NRN, “waffles, pancakes, and doughnuts” as well as ice cream, milkshakes and alcoholic beverages. The magazine also says red velvet has “crossed over to the savory side, appearing in hush puppies and as a breading for fried chicken.”
Many national fast-food chains, such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Cosi sandwiches, Panera and Dairy Queen, have successfully featured red velvet food items.
To be honest, I am not a red velvet fan. But obviously, I’m in the minority. So if you own a restaurant, catering company, bakery or other food-related business, make sure you include red velvet on your menu.