As a huge chocoholic, even as a little girl, I always gravitated towards that cake flavor at birthdays, class parties, and other celebrations, so I tried my very first red velvet cupcake much later in life while at college. It was a gift from my law student neighbors, a thank you for all of the homemade goodies I dropped off for them throughout the year, purchased from a gourmet bakery in town.
When I tried my first bite, I felt surprise and intrigue and excitement all at the same time. Was it chocolaty vanilla? Vanilla-y chocolate? I slowly savored the dessert, a deep crimson red color with rich brown undertones, but as I licked the crumbs from my fingers, I still hadn’t figured out how to define its flavor.
I’ve tried many more red velvet cupcakes since then, and most have tasted rather flat and bland compared to that first one. Garishly red, the same hue as maraschino cherries, instead of that beautiful darker almost mahogany color; rather oily; and cavity-inducing sweet without any chocolate notes… Basically vehicles for the sugary cream cheese frosting on top, more than anything else!