Taste Test: Red Velvet

August 16, 2011 8:24 am by

The red velvet, that most indulgent of cupcakes, has become a staple at most

Toujours red velvet cupcake.

bachelorettes, baby showers and brand launches in the city. Traditionally, the deep, rich colour of the cupcake was partly due to the result of a chemical reaction of cocoa powder combining with the acid in the buttermilk and the dash of vinegar added to the batter. The redness of the red velvet is often further enhanced with food colouring, which in recent times has replaced cocoa in some recipes. We sampled the red velvet cupcake at five patisseries to find the one that got both the colour and taste just right.

Shop No.4, Bajaj Arcade, Union Park, near Olive, Khar. Tel: 6529 1737.
Price: Rs80
We expected more from a store that specialises in cupcakes. There are several things that are wrong with Butterfly’s red velvet. The cake was dry and hard and instead of just a hint of cocoa, it had lots of it, resulting in a red velvet that can easily be mistaken for a chocolate cupcake. The icing, shabbily smeared on the cake at the time of purchase, was literally just sugar icing whipped to a creamy fluff. ★☆☆☆☆

MacRonell’s Bungalow, St. Andrews Road, near Learner’s Academy, Pali Hill, Bandra (West). Tel: 2642 2324. ONGC Complex, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra (West). Tel: 2642 3512. Union Park, Pali Hill, near Sarvodaya DVD Library, Bandra (West). Tel: 2648 1686.
Price: Rs40
Cupcakes have only recently been added to the Candies menu. The thick layer of sprinkles-dusted, cotton wool-like cream cheese frosting has just the right amount of sweetness. However, a little more butter would greatly improve the texture of the bright red cake, which is a tad dry. ★★☆☆☆

Shama Hair and Skin Boutique, Krishna Building, 
near Podar Hospital,
 J.N. Palkar Road,
Good Earth, Ground Floor,
 Raghuvanshi Mills,
 Lower Parel. Tel: 97692 86544.
Price: Rs35
By lunch time on most days, Le15 Patisserie runs out of red velvet cupcakes at its Worli and Lower Parel outposts. The cupcake gets its bright red colour partly from food colouring and partly from the acid in the buttermilk and apple cider vinegar reacting with the cocoa powder. Sugar is not added to the cake batter but is instead lavished on the fluffy cream cheese frosting that crowns the cupcake. Like a packet of chips, Le15’s mini cupcakes (they only make them in one size) can be quite addictive, but the sweet frosting stops us from having more than two cupcakes at a time. ★★★1/2

Hill Road, opposite St. Stanislaus High School, Bandra (West). Tel: 6528 4457.
Price: Rs35
Tart sells mini red velvet cupcakes that look good enough to be showcased in their window displays. Their taste, however, doesn’t match up to their visual appeal. The swirl of frosting is grainy in texture and sadly, sweet enough to induce diabetes. The cake is dry and leaves an odd synthetic aftertaste. Besides its colour, which we suspect is due to heaps of food colouring, there is nothing red velvet-y about this travesty of a cupcake. ★☆☆☆☆

Opposite Breach Candy Hospital, Warden Road. Tel: 2369 3254.
Price: Rs85
Call to check the availability of red velvet cupcakes at this Breach Candy cake shop because they are among their best selling items. The glistening, butter-brushed surface of the cake is the colour of mahogany but at its centre, the soft and crumbly cake is more rich red than reddish brown. Their real achievement however is the airy dollop of smooth and tangy cream cheese frosting. This under-the-radar confectionary also gets points for its judicious use of sugar, making their red velvet a playful confection suitable for grown-ups and kids. ★★★★☆