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Sunday
Jun062010

Sweet Surrender: A Red Velvet Smackdown and Tasting with Lorna Yee and Jackie Baisa at CakeSpy Shop

It began, as so many excellent things do, on Twitter.

Upon rhapsodizing about the most excellent Red Velvet Cake from Seattle's Kingfish Cafe, Lorna Yee responded with what can only be described as fighting words: "My red velvet cake is better". 

Now, as Red Velvet challengers go, Lorna Yee is a formidable one: her recipe comes from her recently published book, The Newlywed Kitchen (which contains this recipe for Chocolate Mudslide cookies, btw), has received rave reviews.

The only way to figure out this battle? A Red Velvet Smackdown, natch! 

With the Kingfish Red Velvet Cake in one corner, and Lorna's Red Velvet in the other, we set up a tasting at CakeSpy Shop, with talented photographer Jackie Baisa to document every sweet minute. Of course, cute husbands Danny (aka Mr. CakeSpy) and Henry were on hand to help out.

Lorna was also kind enough to bring a large batch of cupcakes to share with customers at the shop. She ran out of red food coloring at a certain point, so a lucky few actually got Blue Velvet Cupcakes.

So how did these ladies in red stack up?

Well, on the one hand you've got the Kingfish Cafe Red Velvet, which is something of a Seattle standard. It's dense, it's sweet, it's rich...but depending on what day you buy it, sometimes it can be a little dry. Still, I wouldn't kick it out of bed for leaving delicious little crumbs.

But then you've got Lorna's triple-threat of awesome. Equally dense and rich, this is nonetheless a very different cake, with pronounced contrasting flavors: a very tangy and only lightly sweet, very cream cheese-y frosting and a rich, extremely moist cocoa-infused cake. All of the tasters, who were cut generous slices, zeroed right in on the compelling flavor contrast, and were more than happy to wax poetic about the sweet subtleties in flavor--but perhaps even more telling, everybody cleaned their plate. 

Lorna Yee and very cool kid IrisSimilarly, customers who came in and sampled the cupcakes were thrilled with their sweet treats, and Lorna not only sold through her stock of books but also raided nearby Elliott Bay Books for more.

The final word? You should still order the cake if you go to Kingfish, but for your next special occasion, bake the one from Lorna's book. People will remember and love you for it.Jackie Baisa, Lorna Yee, CakeSpy

Want to see more awesome photos of this event? Visit Baisa Fotograferie (photos coming soon!)

For Lorna's Triple Red Velvet Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, visit her site, The Cookbook Chronicles!

Reader Comments (10)

Thanks for hosting the cookbook signing and the "Red Velvet Smackdown"--all in good fun, of course! Your store is the absolute cutest. Thanks so much for opening it up to us for this event. I had such a good time, as did my husband and puppy Kimchee!

June 6 | Unregistered CommenterLorna

Ditto what Lorna said... the shop is ADORABLE and it was great to see the art upstairs, as well as sample the cakes (I agree that Lorna's is the one I'd want to make/serve). You guys were great and I enjoyed taking photos of both your shop and Lorna and her goodies. :-) We all know, though, that the guest of honor was Kimchee. Hee hee.

I make mine with a chocolate mint ganache fililng and topping made with simmered mint leaves, with some other goodie secret ingredients in the cake itself - makes the cake very rich, but very deeelish.

June 7 | Unregistered Commentervelvetacide

oh my gosh NOM ! i haven't had any kind of velvet dessert in the longest time .

June 7 | Unregistered CommenterCassidy

oh my gosh NOM ! i haven't had any kind of velvet dessert in the longest time .

June 7 | Unregistered CommenterCassidy

Oh no! Red Velvet Cake does not have cream cheese frosting!! It is suppose to have a cooked milk/flour frosting. Very lightly sweet. Absolutely.

June 7 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

Oh, Lynn, thank you SO much for pointing that out! The cooked frosting is WAY better than cream cheese & I attempt to educate when I can. :)

June 8 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

The cooked frosting is indeed traditional, but cream cheese frosting seems to be making headway. My (extremely) southern friends approve of the recipe and that's enough for me!

June 8 | Unregistered CommenterLorna

LOVE red velvet. It's my favorite cake! It's the cream cheese frosting that makes it so amazing! The color doesn't matter to me... I don't think!

Just made these into cupcakes, and oh my goodness, Lorna.. AMAZING.

June 9 | Unregistered CommenterAshlae

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