So it’s that time in the Singapore calendar that requires a seasonal amount of red in all shades and in all objects – from clothes to decorations to food.
The younger tiers of multi-generational families aren’t usually superstitious. So they don’t believe that good luck (whatever that is) can be derived from surrounding themselves with scarlet, vermillion, rose, maroon etc, but are quite willing to toe the traditional line for the sake of the older folk. Besides, it’s all in good fun – like dressing up for Halloween.
Food, however, is the issue. There’s only so much you can do with mandarin oranges (believed to represent prosperity) before everyone gets citrused-out. So I wondered if we could fit in some red velvet confections (so we could say,”Look – it’s red!” to any elderly objectors). It’ll probably be easy just to buy something with the requisite red food colouring. But what about that slight cocoa taste (though not full-on chocolate), paired with cream cheese frosting? Might be slightly harder. And it’s all generally cohinealled nowadays (Adams Extract being on the main beneficiaries perhaps?), so I wouldn’t expect of find them containing the depth of the earthy beets of World War II.
Will update “reviews” (ha!) as we try more red velvet stuff:
Red velvet cupcake from Plain Vanilla Bakery (facebook, , 34A Lorong Mambong, Holland Village). Plain Vanilla is known for its tender-crumbed cupcakes with buttercream frosting and this delivered. A nod to the Platonic form of the red velvet with a hint of cocoa in the cake base and a whiff of cream cheese in the frosting, but I was hankering for more than a mere reference.
A slice of red velvet cake sold at Rouse (36 Dunlop Street). Dense cake with good cocoa taste, cream cheese evident in frosting, topped with a sprinkling of cocoa nibs. Just a pity we had to scrap so much frosting off to even out the cake-frosting ratio.