I was all set to order some coconut cream cake when my eyes were drawn to the radioactive color of its neighbor. "That's the reddest Red Velvet Cake I've ever seen," I remarked to the clerk, who looked back at me oddly. (Note to self: Confine dumb observations to inner monologue.) I smiled weakly and requested a slice to go.
Having made red velvet cake myself on a few occasions, I'm well aware that artificial colors are involved. But most of the RVC I've baked or bought has been a darker, more elegant scarlet hue. The version vended by Ruggles Café Bakery was a lighter, brighter red that I usually associate with bubble gum balls and obnoxious nursery school wallpaper.
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I had other serious doubts about my cake: the shape (square) and topping (crunchy, cake crumbles) were rather unorthodox. RVC slices usually come from multi-layered round cakes encased in frosting. Perhaps there had been a mislabeling, and this weirdo piece actually came from a birthday sheet cake intended for a four-year-old whose favorite color was red? I prepared myself for a mouthful of dry, over-sugared kiddie fare.
Thankfully, the taste was more familiar. The thick layers of cream cheese icing had that wonderful sweet, slightly sour flavor, and the cake itself was very moist and dense. I wish the cocoa notes were stronger, but I guess if I really wanted to taste chocolate I should have gone for the fudge cake.
I could only finish half of the more than ample portion, so I put the remainder of my slice in the fridge to save it for a midnight snack.