Today, red velvet cake is one of the most popular flavors you can find at many bakeries and restaurants. Folks can't get enough of that deep red color to add a splash of color to any dessert table. Well, it just so happens that this Southern classic dessert has quite an interesting history.
If it weren't for businessman, John Adams, and his family who founded Adams Extract Company in 1888 in Battle Creek, Michigan, we might not have red velvet cake today.
Fast forward a few years to 1905 when the family moved their extracts and flavorings company to Beeville, Texas. It all started when Mr. Adams began concocting a better-tasting vanilla extract than the other brands grocery stores sold. His wife was unhappy with the quality of other brands of vanilla extract and John Adams finally discovered the perfect formula. His wife was thrilled and named the product, Adams Best Vanilla.
A few years later, Fred Adams, John Adams son, bought the family business from his father and moved the company to Austin, Texas where the company continued to grow and make a selection of extracts, flavorings and food colorings for kitchens all across the United States. However, the Great Depression struck and the company had to come up with creative ways to keep the business successful and running.
To increase sales, Adams Extract Company thought to display pictures of red velvet cake throughout grocery stores in the South and Midwest in hopes of bringing this delicious cake to kitchens around the United States. It also just so happens that Adams Extract is also known to be one of the first companies to sell red food coloring, so thanks to them, red velvet cake became truly red. Also, with every purchase, Adams Extract provided customers with a free cake recipe card as well as two bottles of red food coloring.
Word got around about Adams Extract products and business continued. In 1947, John Adams other son, John G. Adams returned from The University of Texas at Austin and built the assorted pack of food coloring, which you can still find at grocery stores today.
In the early '00s, under new leadership, the company moved to a new facility in Gonzales, Texas and still produces a product line of extracts, flavorings, food colorings, and spice blends.
One of the oldest spice and extract companies in the United States, Adams Extract celebrated its 125th birthday and is continuing to grow and prosper. So, next time you're whipping up a beautiful red velvet cake, think about using Adams Extract red food coloring. If you need a great recipe to use, check out the original recipe below.
For more inspiration, you can also check out their website for even more recipes and products.
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