Take the Cake: Bite-sized Inspiration for the Savvy Baker

The History of Red Velvet

We may be biased but we’re pretty sure the best things in the world come out of New York City.

Frank Sinatra , Sex and The City, Pizza (at least the good kind),  Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and red velvet cake all hail from our lovely city. As an ode to our namesake, and our town, here is a brief history of our favorite ruby red dessert.

Red velvet batter

Red velvet cake stems from the ever-luxurious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Ave. Born and Raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the  recipe for red velvet cake was developed around World War II, when bakers started using beet and other vegetable juices to dye their baked goods. Shortly after, a red food dye was invented and the recipe was  dispensed across the country. First sold in the five star hotel in the 1930’s, and called “Waldorf-Astoria cake”, red velvet has always had a taste for the finer things in life. It has been served in kitchens across the country, from your mom’s oven to ones that have earned Michelin stars.


Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City

Red velvet made a comeback once again in the late 90’s due to, you guessed it, yet another NYC staple. Magnolia Bakery started marketing the delicious dessert as quintessentially New York. By 2005 the recipe had  spread faster than Manhattan’s staggering rent, not only hitting Brooklyn and Queens but also reaching the West Coast. The colorful cake soon became an idea to be played with, inspiring latte’s and ice cream alike.


Red Velvet cupcakes, Magnolia Bakery, New York City

Fast forward ten years and two sisters in NYC decided to revive red velvet once more, paying homage to the city staple by naming their company after it and serving New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers alike the very cake that inspired them.


Visit Red Velvet NYC

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