I recently listened to a This American Life podcast which explored the idea of food doppelgangers. Suffice it to say, I don't recommend ordering deep-fried calamari, especially if it's a particularly good deal... But here are a couple of food look-a-likes I can highly recommend!

I first heard about Red Velvet Cake a few years ago when Baker Son was commissioned to make one by a classmate. I was somewhat horrified to discover, however, that the "red" is really just food dye and lots of it. It didn't really fit in to my keep-it-real food philosophy and isn't red supposedly the "worst" of all the food dyes?

Enter the Red Wine Velvet Cake! Yup, 2 cups of red wine, cocoa powder for the chocolate flavour, and no food dye! I had to give it a try -- would it be surprising if I said the batter was bowl-licking delicious?

Scrumptious as the baked layers appeared to be, they were begging for a frosting of some kind. The original recipe called for a marscapone  concoction, but that wouldn't work for the lactose intolerant in the house, so I flipped the cookbook page and found a S'more Cake -- the frosting on this one is supposed to look, smell and (sort of) taste like toasted marshmallows though there are no marshmallows harmed in its making. Note: marshmallows are made with gelatine which is an animal product and therefore, marshmallows are not vegetarian. Who knew?

The frosting on the S'more Cake is really just a sugared-up meringue, prepped over a simmering pan of water, then beaten to a cloud-like consistency...

There was tons of it, too... so I slathered it between the layers and over the entire surface of the cake. Then, came the fun part -- the blow torch! (Definitely a job for a baking son....)

So here it is! 
Red Wine Velvet Cake 
with Faux Toasted Marshmallow Frosting 

Admittedly, it lacks that radioactive-glow quality of a true red velvet cake, but the taste --- Oh my.... words fail.

Doppelgangers, in the traditional sense, often suggest a heinous alter ego (as in the "imitation calamari" alluded to above-- shudder!); the two things look the same, but one is decidedly more wicked than the other.. If that's the case, I know which version of this cake and frosting I would pick to be the "evil twin"....


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