"All the bakers are bringing red velvet cake to sample," said Karen Buck of resource guide Wedding411. She works more than 50 big bridal shows a year and said, "If 10 bakers are there, eight are going to sample the red velvet. They know it's popular." At SugarBakers Cakes in Catonsville, red velvet is now No. 2 in popularity among wedding cakes, topped only by the bakery's signature amaretto butter cream. "Brides pick it all the time," said Ashley Moone, the lead consultant and cake decorator for SugarBakers. "A bride at a tasting once told me, 'Now that's dessert.' They love the idea that you can have good wedding cake." The intense chocolately flavor of SugarBakers' red velvet cake comes from the chocolate fudge the bakery adds to the cream cheese and butter cream frosting. SugarBakers' version is also less the fire-engine red color seen on many modern cakes and more a deep brownish-red. Moone said she uses just enough red coloring to boost the cake's naturally ruddy color. The one place where you definitely won't find red velvet cake these days is at Whole Foods Market, which shuns the use of artificial coloring additives. "We have some bakers working on it, trying to get it right," said Andy Friedman, a merchandiser associate with the store's Mid-Atlantic regional office, who acknowledged that customers are expecting a red velvet cake to have a bright red color. So far, attempts to create a pleasing red appearance with natural ingredients have been a wash, Friedman said. "We use beet powder, but the best we can get is a mauve velvet cake." But why stop at red? If it's red dye that makes red velvet cake red, why stop there? "We do many a red velvet cake," said Mary Alice Yeskey, director of marketing for Charm City Cakes. "We've also done a blue velvet cake as well. It was very Memphis-cool. When it comes down to it," Yeskey said, "if a client wanted green or purple or orange velvet, we can do that, too."
Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun
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