Starbucks adds Red Velvet to its Winter Menu, Questionable Frosting Choice

Jan 29 2019 0 Comments Tags: bakery, Baking Business, Cake Business, cakes, Starbucks

With the addition of Red Velvet Cake Starbucks' Winter Menu may win the hearts of some sweet lovers, but others may find it odd that cream cheese is missing from the equation.

Starbucks recently announced its new Winter Menu and we’re so excited because one of the new additions is a Red Velvet Cake Loaf.

Here are the details straight from Starbucks, the Red Velvet Cake Loaf is a “delicious vanilla cake swirled with classic red velvet cake, and topped with white chocolaty icing.”

Yes, you read that right…white chocolate icing.

I suppose Starbucks gets an A for effort, but in the South “it ain’t red velvet if it don’t have cream cheese.” Well…at least in my opinion. LOL!

I'm kind of joking, but I bring all of this up to shed light on the fact that many factors come into play when making decisions in business.

Image of new Starbucks Red Velvet Cake Loaf, offered for a limited time on the 2019 Winter Menu.

I'm almost certain that Starbucks went the white chocolate route due to its shelf life. White chocolate will definitely hold up better than a cream cheese frosting when it comes to staying fresh. The company had to have considered this when making the final recipe decisions. Given that Starbucks' pastries aren't made in the local stores, the company probably made the strategic decision to go with a white chocolate topping to help preserve freshness.

And...I would agree that freshness is more important than the consumers' flavor preferences.

However, I will point out that Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and Duncan Hines have all proven that a cream cheese like substitute could have been an option.

Relating this all back to the Sweet Community, the issue of working with cream cheese recipes isn't unique to Starbucks. In fact, since most states don’t allow for Home Based, Cottage Food bakeries to sell items that require refrigeration such as cream cheese icing or cheesecakes, we as a community have had to get creative with our recipes too.

If you're looking for ways to include cream cheese flavors without violating your state's Cottage Laws, keep in mind that you can purchase cream cheese flavored emulsions that can be use in your buttercream to make it taste similar to the real deal. Although you may can taste the difference, your customer may not even realize that it's not the real deal. Just run some recipe tests and decide what works best for you and your sweet business.

Other Menu Additions

Although my preference may be for cream cheese icing...I'm definitely grabbing a slice the next time I roll up to Starbucks. If you'd like to join me in a taste test, you'll need to make plans to go sooner rather than later because unlike the other new menu items, the Red Velvet Cake Loaf is only temporary.

Along with the cake, Starbucks also announced the permanent addition of a few other breakfast/lunch sandwiches including: Ham, Cheddar and Peppers Sous Vide Egg Bites, a Ham & Swiss Panini and an updated recipe for their Morning Bun. You’ll also notice Valentine’s Day cake pops in the pastry case.

Time to vote

So, let’s weigh in. What team are you on? Are you team white chocolate, cream cheese, or vanilla? I promise I won’t judge you and we’ll still be friends at the end of this. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

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Cydni Mitchell is the owner of Sweet Fest the company that helps bakers and sweet business owners in their sweets businesses.


About the Author

Cydni N. Mitchell (aka Cyd) is the bakery and Sweet Business Coach behind Sweet Fest®. Based in Atlanta, GA, Sweet Fest® is an online company that supports the business needs of the Sweet Community in the areas of professional development, marketing and branding. By trade, Cyd is an accountant & financial analyst with a Masters from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also the organizer of The Ultimate Sugar Show, a baking and sweets trade show in Atlanta, GA, and she is the Co-Founder of the Sugar Coin Academy, an online business academy for business owners in the baking and sweets industry. Learn more.


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