Maybe it was the armadillo-shaped red velvet cake in Steel Magnolia, but all things red velvet have occupied the Southern imagination for decades. Delightfully garish, tender in texture and draped in a thick layer of sweet-tangy cream cheese frosting, the ruby red pastry is a staple of spiral-bound cookbooks, family gatherings, and bakery and restaurant menus. And while it’s a welcome dessert any time of year, nothing befits red velvet cake like Valentine’s Day.
While red velvet layer cake is a treat on its own, the flavor’s playful whimsy also inspires plenty of sweet spinoffs. But whether you go for cake—or something cake adjacent—now’s a great time of year to enjoy this festive favorite.
Red velvet cake balls from Brew Ha-Ha
711 Jefferson Highway, Suite 2-A
One of Brew Ha-Ha’s most popular flavors, red velvet cake balls deliver a diminutive explosion of tasty flavor. The best part is sinking your teeth into the outer shell of icing on the way to the succulent pastry inside.
Red velvet king cake from Ralph’s Market
15013 Highway 44 and 6431 Highway 44, Gonzales
Ascension Parish-based Ralph’s Market serves dozens of king cake flavors. Recently, one of its most in-demand has been red velvet. Red crumbles and sweet cream cheese filling are tucked inside its brioche roll. Red velvet crumbles sprinkled on top add extra flourish.
Red velvet cake from DiGiulio Bros. Italian Cafe
2903 Perkins Road
Made from scratch by Baton Rouge cottage baker Nannette Mayhall, DiGiulio’s well-balanced red velvet four-layer cake is impossibly moist. Homemade cream cheese frosting delivers the right amount of sweetness.
Red velvet cheesecake from Les Amis Bake Shoppe
11826 Coursey Blvd.
Les Amis tucks the beloved flavor of red velvet into a cheesecake vessel, complete with an Oreo crust and a topping of white chocolate curls. Rich and decadent? You bet. But isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is about?
Red velvet pie from Elsie’s Plate & Pie
3145 Government St.
Combining the flavors of red velvet cake with tarte a la bouille (Cajun custard pie), Elsie’s red velvet pie is a study in tangy sweetness. The restaurant is constantly rotating dozens of specialty pies, so call ahead for availability.
Red velvet stuffed Oreo cookies from Eloise Market and Cakery
320 Lee Drive, Suite D
Among Eloise’s over-the-top behemoth cookies, there’s long been a red velvet flavor. But this next-level version features Oreo cookies baked in the center, generously topped with cream cheese frosting and Oreo cookie crumbles.
Red velvet cake from The Ambrosia Bakery
8546 Siegen Lane
Ambrosia’s show-stopping traditional red velvet layer cake delivers a tender crumb balanced by a thick layer of cream cheese frosting and filling. It’s a classic.