Red Velvet has certainly enjoyed a surge in popularity in the past few years--as well it should, due to its high deliciousness factor. But when it comes to red velvet lovers, Stefanie Gaxiola, aka "Red Velvet Stefanie", may just take the cake. Not only is she the award-winning mastermind behind The Cheesecake Factory's bestselling Stefanie's Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake™, but she also develops and sells specialty cake mixes--red velvet being the keystone of the line, natch--online at her Red Velvet Stefanie website. Care to get a closer look at this international (red) velvet superstar? Well, you're in luck: here's an interview.
CakeSpy: First off: what is the last baked good you ate?
Stefanie Gaxiola: One of my Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting. It was amazing!
CS: OK, down to business. Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you start this company/what is your background / etc?
SG: I am a 25 year-old baking enthusiast, baking since the age of 5. With 20 years of experience under my belt, I felt it was about time to break into the baking industry with a bang! I have the highest dreams and aspirations of anyone I know; I literally, eat, breathe and sleep baking. All of my experience has been self taught or, I learned through my mother. I have not attended culinary school but, I am currently making plans to do so in the very near future. Baking as much as I do, I try to find short cuts for myself. So, my boyfriend and I decided, why not pre-package all of my dry ingredients so that when I bake everything is ready to go, minus the wet ingredients. So, we created our very first cupcake mix! What better way to go to the top of the baking world than with a Red Velvet Cupcake mix? I have googled, shopped and searched for Red Velvet Cupcake mixes and, to my disappointment, there is a very small selection to choose from. As my boyfriend, Jason Heard researched all of the guidelines on business and selling of baking goods, I spent extra time in the kitchen perfecting my mix. One empty box and bag of sugar at a time, Stefanie's Gourmet Red Velvet Cupcake Kit was complete and ready for sale. Within the first hour my website was up and running, we had sold several kits. When I saw that, I knew we really had something good on our hands. Stefanie's Gourmet Red Velvet Cupcake Kit is currently only for sale from my website, www.redvelvetstefanie.com. I am also happy to announce that we have recently introduced cupcake catering to Red Velvet Stefanie, one of our first big events will be catering Coachella Music Festival next weekend. Also new to our website, cupcake apparel, Cupcake mix of the Month Club, downloadable recipe guides and custom cupcake stands! We are so excited!
CS: What is included in the cupcake kit?
SG: Stefanie's Gourmet Red Velvet Cupcake Kit includes: All dry ingredients for the cupcakes and frosting and 20 baking liners.
CS: What is it about Red Velvet cake that makes it so special to you?
SG: Red Velvet cake is truly my all time favorite dessert. The combination of light chocolate, extra moist cake and sweet and creamy Cream Cheese frosting makes me smile. Every time I take a bite, it makes me feel like a kid again; I get excited, bubbly and light up.
CS: It says on your site that you are the creator of the Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake....please, tell us more!
SG: I am the concept creator of the top selling cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory® named Stefanie's Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake™. I entered The Cheesecake Factory's "What's your Flavor?" contest. The idea was to find a new recipe concept for their menu. As soon as I heard about the contest, I knew Red Velvet was going to be my entry and, that I was going to win with it! Moist layers of Red Velvet Cake and The Cheesecake Factory’s ® Original Cheesecake covered with cream cheese frosting. On April 1, 2009, America had voted and The Cheesecake Factory named Stefanie's Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake the winner! The moment I saw my name on The Cheesecake Factory's website, I knew this was going to change my life.
CS: Some people have an idea that cake mixes are "bad" -- what is your response to this?
SG: Definitely not true! Before I went pro in the baking world, The Cake Mix Doctor's collection of cook books were my baking Bibles. Anne Byrn, the amazing author behind these books has done an amazing job at bring cake mixes to the next level. As for my cupcake mix, they are all made to order.. The ingredients are the finest and freshest I can find so, each and every confection you will get out of my kit will be 100%, fresh, light, fluffy and sinfully delicious!
Photo from the Red Velvet Stefanie Facebook pageCS: What is the most important aspect in making a great cake (or cupcake)?
SG: Oh my goodness, so much goes into baking a perfect cake! Here is a list of the most important that I utilize in my baking:
-Preheat the oven to the correct temperature and, let the oven heat up for at least 20 minutes so it can reach the temperature.
-Let ingredients such as eggs, butter, milk, cream cheese, sour cream, etc. reach room temperature before you use them in your baking.
-Sift all dry ingredients, except for cocoa powder. Sifting really makes all the difference in the world, it's a pain but you have to do it!
-Make sure not to overmix the cake batter, it will turn out dry.
-It is important to rotate the cake pans at least once, halfway through the baking time to make sure, they are evenly cooked.
-Make sure to time your baking. If the package recommends a 20 to 22 minute baking time, check after 20 minutes. you do not want to over-bake your cake. Also, if you can smell the cake throughout your house early, check on the cake. If you can smell it, it is probably done!
-Always let your cakes cool on a baking rack.
-Wait until the cakes are completely cool to frost if you don't, the frosting will run right off.
CS: What is next for Red Velvet Stefanie?
SG: After seeing the quick success of my Gourmet Red Velvet Cupcake Kits, I started working on more. Red Velvet Cookie Mix and Red Velvet Brownie Mix are among the next to come out. Red Velvet is so hot right now, I figured I would stick with that. Other than that, I am looking to apply to Culinary School and continue with my cupcake catering so I can eventually open a store front. Red Velvet Wedding Cake is the most requested catering menu item from my friends, family and fans. So, stay tuned for my unique version of Stefanie's Red Velvet Wedding cake, you will truly be amazed!
For more information, or to get your hands on some of that delicious red velvet mix, visit redvelvetstefanie.com.