Seeing Red Velvet

Columns Ono, You Know

July 27, 2014

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

If you tell me that discipline and ultimate resistance are a “piece of cake,” then you’re telling the wrong person. Paying no attention to anything sugar-coated is almost impossible for my sweet tooth (duh!), but tempt me with cake — specifically red velvet — and guess what? You’ve just created a monster. Have you ever experienced a legit sugar hangover with heart palpitations and all? Well, trust me, it’s not a fun experience. But I will admit that being a sugar-loaded mess is no problemo in the case of binge red velveting. Yes, I said “red velveting,” because it’s not just cake that has me seeing red velvet.

This week, I hit up the following OYK eateries and went crazy for anything and everything red velvet-related. Its cocoa undertones and cream-cheese tang totally have become a national obsession — there’s even red velvet cake body mist if you want to get to the nitty gritty of it all.

We should be giving credit to cooks in the 1800s, who used almond flour, cocoa or cornstarch to soften the protein in flour. The result? Finer-textured cakes, named velvet.

I fully accept the fact that I’m addicted to anything affiliated with red velvet — and I’m fine with that. So without further ado, let’s get into it. Writing this column is massively stirring up another red velvet craving. Oh well, bring on the cupcakes, waffles, cake and macarons!


Pull out the red carpet. YogurStory is the mastermind behind an original red velvet creation in waffle form. Enter what’s been deemed Red Carpet Waffle, a dark chocolate waffle that transforms into a red velvet masterpiece.

Priced at $10, the dessert waffle is cut into four pieces, each topped with taro cream cheese, which boasts the consistency of whipped cream.

Restaurant manager Nao Fukazawa says taro cream cheese is the perfect complement to the sinfully rich waffle, as it offers a lighter component to the dish, along with a soft pastel purple hue that’s just as pleasing to the eye. Red velvet cake crumble accents this star-studded waffle that’s coated with chocolate drizzle. And wait for it … there’s more! You’ll also want to gobble up that marbled piece of white chocolate perched atop the red velvety waffle, which is meant to aid in presentation, but doesn’t last long when in the hands of a chocoholic.

YogurStory is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Red Carpet Waffle is available at all times.

“Red Carpet Waffle was our first house special when we took over the restaurant in 2011,” Fukazawa recalls.

Situated within a modern cafe setting, YogurStory comfortably seats at least 100 patrons within its two-story premises.

815 Keeaumoku St. Ste. 105

Hokulani Bake Shop

As this year’s first-place recipient of Star-Advertiser‘s Hawaii’s Best Awards for Best Cupcakes, Hokulani Bake Shop leads the cupcake craze. With another prestigious award to its name, it’s reinforced that this cupcake lover’s haven holds the recipe for awesome.

Alfer Cruz-Strong, manager of the Waterfront Plaza (formerly Restaurant Row) locale, says that although the cupcake options are very diverse, during Hokulani’s decade of existence, red velvet cupcakes still manage to hold the spot as the No. 1 seller.

Hokulani's Filled Red Velvet ($3.25) and Southern Red Velvet ($2.50) Nathalie Walker photos

Hokulani’s Filled Red Velvet ($3.25) and Southern Red Velvet ($2.50) Nathalie Walker photos

“On average, we sell about 300 Red Velvet cupcakes a day — that’s including special orders,” she confirms. Southern Red Velvet ($2.50 each) and Filled Red Velvet ($3.25 each) are signature confections, both made of cocoa powder and topped with homemade cream cheese frosting. It’s totally understandable if you are a frosting freak, and that’s why Filled Red Velvet is made especially for you. It’s guaranteed that cream cheese frosting will be part of every bite.

“We bake everything from scratch, and we use absolutely no preservatives or shortenings,” Cruz-Strong says. “The cupcake’s matte finish is a true indicator that we only use real butter, real sugar, etc. There’s really no need for us to use preservatives, because our cupcakes sell out every day.”

Hokulani Bake Shop
500 Ala Moana Blvd. Ste. 4B (additional locations at Windward Mall, Hyatt Regency Waikiki and Pearlridge Center)

Cake Works

For Abigail Langlas, chef and owner of Cake Works on South King Street (located across Hawaiian Humane Society), creativity is oh, so sweet. Prior to opening her own business, she worked as a pastry chef at Alan Wong’s. Now, she runs an establishment based on custom, specialty cakes and cupcakes derived from her own recipes. She sharpened her skills at L’ecole de Cuisine Francaise de Sabine de Mirbeck and Westminster College, a selective training program for working pastry chefs.

And if you’re curious about all things red velvet, Langlas is in the know when it comes to this hot commodity.

Cake Works Red Velvet Cake (6-inch $19.25), Red Velvet Macaron ($2 each) and Mini Red Velvet Cupcake ($1.65)

Cake Works Red Velvet Cake (6-inch $19.25), Red Velvet Macaron ($2 each) and Mini Red Velvet Cupcake ($1.65)

“Red velvet is a traditional Southern cake made with buttermilk and cocoa powder. Many people think it’s a chocolate cake, but it really isn’t. It’s a lighter cake, and the cocoa powder shines through,” she says, adding that its trademark red appearance is the result of food coloring. “In the past, beets or beet juice were used to obtain the color.”

Cake Works features an assortment of red velvet offerings, including Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing (6-inch cake $19.25), Red Velvet Macaron ($2 each, presented with white chocolate cream cheese filling) and Red Velvet Cupcakes ($1.65 per mini cupcake, $3 per regular-sized cupcake).

“The cupcakes also are topped with white chocolate cream cheese icing,” Langlas notes. “The reason that cream cheese pairs well with red velvet is because it’s not overpoweringly sweet. White chocolate brings a light sweetness, and there’s no added sugar.”

Langlas best associates red velvet with having an umami flavor (pleasant and savory taste). I couldn’t agree more. Everything about red velvet is amazing.

Cake Works
2820 S. King St.

Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best