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.
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.
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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.