There are few desserts as popular for Valentine’s Day as red velvet cake, a perfect match with its palette of burgundy and creamy white. For the cake to be made in a way authentic to the original from New York’s culinary darling the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, a red velvet cake “must” include:
1. A hint of cocoaNo problem here - natural cocoa powder contains anthocyanins, the same antioxidant found in pomegranates and cranberries. Note: traditionally the cocoa was the natural stuff, not Dutch-processed.
2. Vegetable oilWell, we do not really DO vegetable oil around here, since most fall into the category of Fats That Kill instead of the category of Fats That Heal. But fear not, healthy Flora Olive Oiland Sacha Inchi Oil (CA/US) will work just as well, and will not weigh down the cake like butter or coconut oil could.
3. ButtermilkIf you want to include some organic buttermilk from pastured grass fed cows, the probiotics in cultured buttermilk predigest the milk sugar, which makes it sour and safe for the lactose intolerant. However, you can also mimic buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to dairy-free milk and allowing it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
4. PecansDelicious, if a little precious. If you are allergic and you leave them out, we won’t tell.
5. VinegarFun Fact: The acidic vinegar and buttermilk combine with the alkaline baking soda and the anthocyanins in the (natural only) cocoa to give off a reddish tint!
6. Cream Cheese FrostingNot really healthy, but so good. If you have a favorite substitute, again, we won’t tell the red velvet police. Any white topping will make the red POP for Valentine’s Day! Natural cocoa may be difficult to locate, but you can still get a nice red hue without artificial coloring. Boost the color naturally with Red Beet Crystals (CA/US)! This turns the cupcakes into unique conversation pieces and ups their nutrition. And since you are clearly sweet enough already, these are low in sugar.