The Red Velvet Latte can be found in high end coffee bistros like Starbucks. The allure of warm espresso, frothed milk, sweet red velvet sauce and warm scarlet hues can be a draw not only at festive times and Valentines’s day but all year round. Perhaps its the twist of whipped cream capping off the rich flavors or the sprinkling of red cookies that completes the attraction of the Red Velvet Latte. Read until the end to uncover how to make this much loved latte at home and how you can fine tune the ingredients to your own tastes.
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What you Need to Make the Red Velvet Latte
To achieve a barista-level red velvet latte, you will need primarily three devices: an espresso machine, a milk frother (many espresso machines come with milk frothers or you can opt for a stand alone milk frother), and a juice extractor for a healthier drink (or simply use ready bought velvet sauce).
Ingredients for the Red Velvet Latte
- 200 g of water
- 80 g of white chocolate
- 50 g of cocoa powder
- 180 g of white sugar
- Freshly extracted beet juice OR freeze-dried red fruits (raspberry, strawberry) OR a few drops of food coloring
- Glass container
Whipped Cream Cheese ingredients
- 240 g cream cheese, softened (Low-fat, light, nonfat, regular)
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
Red Velvet Latte (With Milk Froth) Ingredients
- 1 (or more) espresso shot
- Tall glass or wide mug
- 6 oz of milk for the froth
- 5 tablespoons of red velvet syrup
- 1 tablespoon of whipped cream cheese
Step 1: Choose your “Red” for the Red Velvet Latte
This step will determine the shade or red of your red velvet latte. If you choose to hark back to the traditional ways of making red velvet, use beet juice.
For another natural alternative, use freeze-dried red fruit, such as strawberry or raspberry. They too, will add a modicum of delicate citric aromas and flavors to the final taste. Either way you make it, have in mind it will be slightly more earthy than your regular latte and a tad more healthy. Alternatively, If you have neither of those options available you can opt to using drops of red food coloring until you get the shade of red you want.
Step 2: Make the Red Velvet syrup
Heat the 180 g of sugar, in a saucepan on medium flame. Stir so the sugar at the bottom doesn’t burn. Once it starts to melt and turn to caramel, add the water little by little, while stirring.
When you see small bubbles in the mixture slowly add the white chocolate. Once it melts (the melting point of white chocolate is low), add the cocoa powder, and lastly, your source of “red” color (beet juice, freeze-dried red fruits, or red food coloring). Keep stirring until you obtain a glossy, honey-like syrup. Set aside.
Step 3: Make the Espresso
An espresso shot is a key ingredient. Make a serving of espresso using your home espresso machine. While it’s being made, pour some of your red velvet syrup in the bottom of a 10-ounce glass or mug (preferably a tall glass so your lucky guest can see the velvet colors). Serve your fresh espresso on top.
Step 4: Add your frothed milk
Before frothing your milk, think about how you want to present your Red Velvet latte. If you want your foam to simulate the whiteness of the cream cheese that is used in a red velvet cake, set aside half a glass of froth. If you want your froth to be red like the cake, add to your taste some of the red velvet syrup or coloring. Now it’s time to heat your milk with the frother.
A good frother should get your milk velvety and thick for a latte within 45 seconds, though not too dense as lattes don’t require as much thickness as their cappuccino cousins. If you use a handheld frother, remember to heat your milk in a micro wave before frothing, since these devices don’t heat up milk like for example the Breville BMF600XL. Pour your frothed milk into a tall glass with your espresso.
Step 5: Enhance Your Presentation
To finish your Red Velvet latte, you can add a twirl of whipped cream cheese on top. To prepare the whipped cream cheese, mix 3 tablespoons of milk with 240g of cream cheese in a previously frozen bowl until you get whipped cream consistency.
If you don’t like the flavor of cream cheese (a traditional method) in your coffee, you can switch to bought regular whipped cream. You can also decorate the top by adding some finely grated beet or freeze-dried red fruit; about enough so the red color stands out in the cream-white color of your whipped topping. For the decadent you could opt for a sprinkle of red velvet biscuits.
Did You Know – History of Red Velvet in Cooking?
The concept of red velvet cake first appeared in the Victorian era, when it was used to describe the silky smooth texture of a cake which was compared with the smoothness of real velvet. The cake red velvet recipe was also known as the Devil’s cake. Plus there was a similarity in looks with the crimson red hue often used with velvet fabric. Bakers at the time discovered that this fluffiness was often helped with the addition of cocoa, which helped combat the coarseness of flour.
Adding cocoa to cakes created a reddish hue, created by a chemical reaction between cocoa and acid. Today, cocoa processing means this reaction does not occur. The cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, published in 1943, made the name official.
Soon after, the dawn of World War II forced civilians to ration ingredients such as sugar, butter and cocoa, to keep their cakes soft, bakers began using beet root juice in their cakes. This helped maintain the fluffy texture they were looking for and made the cakes a vibrant red color. The tart flavor of the beetroot disappeared in the baking process.
The great appeal of making a Red Velvet Latte at home is you can tweak the recipe to your own liking. Do you like the traditional cream cheese flavor or not? Do you like 1, 2 or 3 shots of espresso? Do you like your latte with or without a swirl of whipped cream. If you live in cold climes, you, too, will be able to keep your digits warmer in the comfort of your home rather than seeking out a coffee shop for the ‘Devil’s’ recipe. Plus you’re bound to gain a gaggle of new friends whom find your Red Velvet Lattes devilishly decadent.