Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A different take on Red Velvet

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Last evening I was looking through my recipe card file (yes, I still have one of those) looking for inspiration for today's post. I found a recipe for Red Velvet cake that my sister had given me in the 1960's. Her version was lusciously rich, moist, and brilliant red, but was topped with a cooked milk frosting which, when whipped (and whipped, and whipped some more) would miraculously turn into a fluffy whipped cream substitute.

In time the popularity of red velvet cakes faded--replaced by bundt cakes, snacking cakes, and all things made with "Herman". But then, in 1989 Julia Roberts and Shirley MacLaine starred in a movie entitled "Steel Magnolias" which featured a red velvet grooms cake. Red velvet again became popular. In fact, every bakery, espresso stand, and cupcake shop I've been in lately has red velvet cake in the display case.

I love cake, but sometimes a whole layer cake seems a bit much for just the three of us. And, baking, cooling, and frosting a cake is a big investment of time. That's something I don't have today. 

So I wondered if red velvet could be baked in the form of a brownie? A Google search revealed that I am not the only person to ask that question--there are quite a few red velvet brownie recipes out there (who knew?). This one, from Southern Living was published online at http://www.myrecipes.com/. (I've made a few adjustments in technique):

Red Velvet Brownies
  • 1 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped

  • 3/4 cup butter

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 (1-oz.) bottle red liquid food coloring

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • 1.  Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.

    2. Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler over simmering water until smooth. Remove from year and let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Gently stir in flour and next 4 ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

    3. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours).

    4. Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles; gently remove foil. Cool completely.

    Suggested decorations: cream cheese frosting, white chocolate shavings, powdered sugar

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