I have a love affair with Red Velvet cake, as in can't get enough, adore the flavor, texture, color. It just looks and smells decadently rich, like good dark moist potting soil. Not that it smells like dirt but it is a grounded and savory flavor and when you inhale deeply, it fills up every possible nook and cranny, lingering for a sweet reward later on. But I am getting ahead of myself.
As we all know there are so many choices when it comes to wedding cakes. We have all seen the amazing creation by high end and expensive cake companies. Given my love affair with Red Velvet, you may be in slight disbelief that I decided to try a vegan wedding cake. WHAT no EGGS, no MILK, NO BUTTER? Are you nuts? You will serve your guests flavored cardboard! I choose vegan because of my excellent friend, co-worker and vegan baker extraordinaire Jack who would be dismayed at the praise I am going to lavish on his most incredible, absolutely gorgeous creation.
Now I love Jack's baked good but at first, I had my misgivings. Well his cake may LOOK good but how does it taste? A non-vegan hears the word vegan and thinks: BORING and TOFU. I am NOT about boring and I don't do Tofu. Funny thing is, Jack doesn't do boring either and after the cakes I've seen him create and the heaven sent delicacies I've tasted from his kitchen, I had to trust that it was possible. I mean the man makes a chocolate ganache like you have never had in your life, we are talking GET YOU HIGH ganache. He actually made me a birthday cake replica as a test, so I knew I was in good hands. The amazing thing about today's food is that it's possible to create cakes using non-diary items and it tastes just as good.
Flash forward: Our wedding day, it is hot outside, still air under the tent, and there sits our vegan wedding cake in all her shining glory. Will she withstand the heat, will her vegan-ness come though, i.e cardboard, will the scrolls Jack so lovingly placed on the sort of crusted over frosting stay put long enough to photograph? My trusty baker friend had worked days to devise, create, construct a cake mounting plan, hours slaving in the hot kitchen and many more hours just for the frosting. It sure looked good but looks can be deceiving.
DJ annouces, "And now time to cut the cake." The moment of truth; after months of waiting, and talking and testing - Jack actually made a complete test cake in the event something happened to the real cake - collaborating about design, creating a recipe to achieve the correct taste....oh my god it was here and I was there with my new husband and then...we sliced effortlessly through that creamy off white frosting, which matched my dress by the way, and released that savory, decadent, rich soil smell I had been waiting for, wafting in the air around me as my husband gently placed a small piece in my mouth and I his.
I closed my eyes and savored my Red Velvet bliss....
no vegan cardboard, no tofu, nothing boring in the least.
I don't remember much about my reception, the day flew by so fast. But I do remember it stopped long enough for me to enjoy a little slice of heaven. It may have been the love Jack added - this was his present to us - that made it taste so sweet but let me tell you, if I ever get married again, I am going vegan all the way cause it is possible to have a great cake and be ethical in our food choices.
It was almost, ok not really, fat free AND red velvet. My two favorite things.
PS I talked to Jack who wrote up his own version of the Red Velvet 2010 incident. He also said he used over 22 pounds of sugar for both cakes. Thanks Jack!