I have wanted to try my hand at a Red Velvet Cake for some time now. However, when I found out how much food coloring one needs, I began to rethink my plans. I did some research and found a Red Velvet Cake recipe on Helene Dujardin's Tartelette blog, swapping out food coloring for strawberry juice. I decided to give it a try. I was not entirely expecting the cake to turn out red, but I was hopeful. Of course, the result was not red, but more of a pinkish brown.
Overall, the recipe was easy to follow. There were three components to the recipe: making the strawberry juice, baking the cake, and making the frosting. The cake itself was nothing to write home about (and I am not just saying this because it wasn't red). While it was moist, it did seem a little dense. Also, it was lacking in flavor. The frosting, on the other hand, was wonderful. It tasted great and was easy to work with (I was even able to use it for piping, something I have always had difficulty with!). I will definitely make the frosting again.
Even though I wasn't a hundred percent sold on the cake, I did learn some new tricks that I will use again. Helene's method for make strawberry juice is really easy. I love to make strawberries with juice for crepes, pancakes, waffles, etc. Also, the frosting was so tasty and easy to make that I will be using it in the future.
Here is what I did to make the strawberries in juice:
Slice one pint of strawberries. Juice 1/2 lemon. Cook the strawberries along with the juice and 1/2 cup of sugar in a sauce pan. Let the juice become a little syrupy. If you would like to separate the strawberries and juice, strain the mixture. If the juice is still too liquid for your needs, put it in a pot over medium heat until you reach the desired consistency.
For the cream cheese frosting:
Beat together one stick of unsalted butter (at room temperature) and one 8 oz bar of cream cheese (at room temperature) at low speed until smooth. Then, while continuing to beat at low speed, gradually incorporate 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar until fully incorporated and smooth.
Since I prefer to not put a ton of frosting on my cake, I actually cut the frosting recipe in half and it worked really well.
Tartelette also has another recipe for Red Velvet Cake. This one does use the food coloring. There also a lot of other decadent recipes on the website. I may have to give another a try........