Rosie Mayes Red Velvet Cake Recipe: Celebrate Juneteenth With This Recipe


Whether you prefer it in the deepest shade of red or the shade of ripe strawberries, the red velvet cake is a classic on any dessert table. And for Juneteenth, dessert offers more than just satisfaction to your sweet tooth.

June 19, or juinteenth, marks the day in 1865 when Union Commander Major-General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas that slavery had been abolished. This news arrived in Texas more than two years after the publication of the Emancipation Proclamation, which ordered all slaves in Confederate states to be free.

The relationship between Red Velvet Cake and Juneteenth stems from its red color, which according to Adrian Lipscombe, founder of 40 acres and a mule project and owner of Uptowne Cafe and Bakery, in fact became popular in the 20th century after a specific red food coloring began to be used to give velvet cakes a red makeover.

“The red color that it is today has been attributed to Adams extract, a Texan company. Before that, the “velvet cake” was not red. The first color improvement came from the beet root, which was introduced during World War II as a result of the rationing of foods like sugar, ”she says. “The cake which is the dark red color that we have today was not necessarily that color before. It was more of a fancy chocolate cake.

Lipscombe goes on to say that there are many explanations for why the color red is associated with Juneteenth, including a reminder of the blood of slaves who were lost. Hailing from San Antonio, Lipscombe says the cake makes appearances at many of his family’s celebrations, including those in Juneteenth. In 2019, she even collaborated with other chefs to organize a June 17th dinner at the James Beard House.

If you’re celebrating June 19 at home or don’t want to show up empty-handed at the block party this weekend, put your baking skills to work and try one yourself. But before you pull out your apron and cream cheese, think about some cooking tips from Rosie Mayes, author of I Heart Soul Food.

Mayes, who is also the founder of I Heart Recipes, says the most important part of making the cake is making sure it’s moist. “Growing up, the red velvet cake was not my favorite because all the red velvet cakes I had were actually on the dry side,” she says. “When I made my own recipe, instead of using lard and shortening, I used vegetable oil to dilute the dough, and found that the thinner the dough, the thinner the cake. was mellow. “

Mayes currently lives in Seattle, but her grandparents were from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which inspired her to write her cookbook. “Southern cuisine is important because it was always a big party when my family got together and we always shared love and stories around food,” she says. “It’s a tradition that I carry on with my son, my husband and my family.

Although Mayes’ recipe calls for food coloring, she acknowledges that some people prefer not to use a lot, if at all, in their red velvet cake and said using beets would always give you a red cake. “Use as little or as much food coloring as you want,” she says. “I just like a really red, vibrant cake when I make my own.”

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