My grandmother used to make my brother a red velvet cake every time we were visiting her near his birthday. He looooves that cake, and so do I. It was so special and yummy and had the most amazing fluffy creamy frosting.
It was not until much later when I moved to Seattle for college and started working in different kitchens, and then cupcakes became so unbelievably popular that I became aware of the red velvet craze. I get why it's popular and interesting and everything, because I loved it when Grandma made it, but I'm always kind of confused by the excitement in people's eyes when they hear that the bakery offers it. Especially because they always expect cream cheese frosting because that is apparently, the LAW in the U.S. that red velvet cake must only be paired with cream cheese frosting. My grandma's frosting is WAY better. It doesn't totally overwhelm the cake like I feel cream cheese does. It's a lighter, tastier, daintier cake. I may be biased.
It's purely because of the color, you know. There's about a bucket of red food coloring in every red velvet cake. Which I don't have a problem with-it's just, there's no mystical wondrous reason as to why it's red. And being red doesn't seem like a good reason to be so popular. NOT THAT THIS MATTERS.
The reason I bring up red velvet is because of the wackos I meet at my job. When I pick up the phone to talk to a customer about ordering a cake, I hesitate slightly before informing them of the red velvet choice. This is because this nearly always involves a conversational detour. Now, red velvet is very well known. It flies off of the shelves in cupcake shops-(it was the best seller in two of the places I worked), it's sold in every grocery store EVERYWHERE, and I swear, everyone I meet who knows I make cakes wants me to make it for their birthdays. How is it possible that just about every time I tell someone we offer red velvet cake, they say " Oooh- red velvet! What's that? What kind of cake is that?"
Ok, fine. I really don't care about that so much. Order it all you want. It's just cake. Interesting cake. Good for you for trying something you're not sure of and have never heard of. (again-HOW?)
BUT. When a person picks up a red velvet cake, there is, I would say, about a 25 % chance that there will be an exchange like this:
Me:" Here you go! Take a look and make sure we got all the writing and decorations right, ok?"
Customer: Pause. "Wait. I got red velvet cake."
Me:" Yes you did! It's right on the order form--see? It's red velvet, I promise."
Customer: Pause. "Wait. Why isn't it RED?"
Me: Pause. "Well, the cake is. The frosting isn't red velvet. It's frosting. You ordered cream cheese frosting."
Customer: " But you said that I would have a red cake! This isn't RED!"
(This is usually when I fake a cough or dropping something so I can turn away and roll my eyes so hard it's a miracle they haven't shot through the top of my head)
Me: "Yes, I told you that the CAKE would be red. It's RED VELVET. But then I went through the rest of the steps and you chose a filling and FROSTING? And you chose CREAM CHEESE FROSTING to go on the OUTSIDE OF YOUR CAKE? Like ALL OTHER CAKES?
No, I am not this rude with customers. Only in my head. I actually find this bizarro problem fairly funny rather than annoying. It's just so WEIRD that it happens a lot. So many people order this cake and expect an actual red cake. Which I would understand, I guess, but then they order the rest of the things like the frosting and decorations. Which are not red. And could not be considered red.
Maybe this is when my sister would call me a snob.
Okay, I just tested it. I asked my teen step-daughter what she would expect if she ordered such a cake, and she said she'd expect a white cake. Then I told her what a lot of people think-that the cake is going to be red, and this was the response- "Well, that's DUMB."
HA! It IS weird!