Red velvet cake: Duty calls
Who would’ve thought that calling for beets in a recipe ingredient list would lead to a quest for the best red velvet cake?
Well, it did just that in The Times test kitchen.
Our solicitation for the best red velvet cake recipe in response to our post on the American Cancer Society’s “New Red Velvet Cake” led to a flood of responses. An overwhelming majority supported the red velvet bundt cake at Kiss My Bundt Bakery in West Los Angeles.
We contacted owner Chrysta Wilson, who graciously offered to send us the recipe.
We tested the recipe, baked the bundt cake and waited -- an eternity it seemed -- for it to cool just long enough so we could slather on a thick layer of cream cheese frosting and devour it.
The verdict? Amazing! This was a warm, moist cake with a delicate chocolate flavor complemented by the light, not too sweet, tang of rich cream cheese frosting. The cake was practically gone before we could get a decent photo.
But it doesn't end there....
Much as we liked it, there were still some who thought the cake could be done better. Times employees from the Long Beach area swore that Jongewaard's Bake 'n' Broil version was the best red velvet cake on the market.
We were pleasantly surprised Wednesday morning when one staff writer brought in a three-layer Bake 'n' Broil cake to sample.
As fate would have it, we had to wait until Thursday afternoon before we could try it, what with the kitchen’s regular testing and shooting schedules and the availability of our selfless red velvet taste-testers.
We finally sliced into the cake and were a bit disappointed. The cake lacked the depth of flavor we found with Kiss My Bundt’s (we all felt that this could very well be due to the cake not being freshly baked). And while the frosting had a nice tang (with some chopped walnuts folded in for added texture?), the total amount of frosting was skimpy, nowhere near enough to cover a three-layer cake (there was, literally, like an eighth of an inch of frosting between the layers, and it barely covered the top and sides of the cake).
We decided to try one more test. We’d snap up more samples of both Kiss My Bundt and Bake 'n' Broil.
We had one final test on Friday, as our faithful (and now slightly worn out) crew assembled once more to try the cakes. We had mini samples from each establishment: mini-bundts from Kiss My Bundt and cupcakes from Bake ‘n’ Broil.
It was tough challenge, and there was a lot of deliberation, but Bake 'n’ Broil’s cake edged out Kiss My Bundt’s for its texture and flavor, while the mini-bundt’s frosting won us over with its creamy, fluffy tang.
Much as we may love our red velvet cake, I fear it will be a while before we’re allowed to bring another one anywhere near our the Food or Health sections. We've had enough red velvet to last a while.
However, on a side note, I have been informed that Wilson, Kiss My Bundt's owner, has come up with a Maple and Bacon bundt cake that supposedly tastes like "pancakes with bacon and maple syrup." I think I'll have to sneak that in for a little test some morning. Hmmm....
-- Noelle Carter
Photos by Noelle Carter