Red Velvet Marshmallow Cake

I am passionately in love with Buddy Valastro aka The Cake Boss. Anytime I manage to have the television at the right time, I am in awe at his bakery treats and amazing talent in creating wondrous cakes. Unlike some of the other cake shows (not mentioning any names Charm City), Buddy takes delight in letting you know what sort of cake is inside, what kinds of fillings he is using and generally delights in preparing something for his customer that will be beyond all expectations. He is passionate about the food he makes and that really adds to the pleasure for me!

For Christmas my lovely husband (sensing he was losing me to Buddy), ordered me Buddy’s Recipe book from the USA. Sadly it is not yet available in Australia. I was thrilled and was looking for a reason to make a cake for a special occasion.

Enter my son’s second birthday! If a mum can’t make a delicious red velvet cake for her 2 year old son (but secretly really for herself), then when could it be done??

The finished cake covered in his favourite marshmallows

I must admit to feeling rather trepidacious at starting this recipe. I had made one recipe from the book (Pecan Wedges) not long after Christmas and the instructions were a bit unclear and difficult to follow. As the book is from the US, it also requires sourcing similar local ingredients and converting the weights and measures to metric.

Red Velvet cake has a bit of an aura around it so I was more than a little bit petrified. I was also going to make chocolate cupcakes and they felt a bit more manageable so I made Buddy’s chocolate cake recipe (see other post) for those first. Better to stuff up 24 little cakes than 2 big ones, right?

The cupcakes were magnificently delicious which gave me confidence to move onto the larger target.

This red velvet cake recipe is good for 2 x 22cm round cakes or 24 cupcakes. I chose to make the 2 x 22cm cakes as I wanted to design a number 2 out of the cakes for my little guy’s birthday.

A couple of tips before starting:

1. Buddy suggests you use aluminium cake pans rather than spring form pans. If you grease with butter, then flour the pan correctly, the cakes should not stick.

2. The recipe calls for “cake flour”. I did a little bit of research on it and initially thought it was going to be very hard to find this in Australia. Cake flour is lower in proteins than normal flour and should give your cake a better chance at obtaining that elusive texture. Buddy is very keen on cake flour. Donna Hay suggests it doesn’t make a lot of difference. I went with Buddy as it was his recipe! You can buy cake flour at most supermarkets. This is the one I used:

3. Regularly scrape down the sides of your mixer during preparation of the batter. Make sure you clear the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. If in doubt, scrape.

4. When you have finished mixing the batter, let it sit at room temperature for a good 15 minutes. If the batter is not at room temperature, or is too warm, your cake will “crown” and you would rather have a nice flat cake to stack. You can pop it in the fridge to cool down but note that cold batters don’t cook as well.

5. Use the centre rack in your oven. Takes a bit longer to cook them separately but you will have a better chance at the same outcome for both cakes. If you don’t have time to cook them separately, set the timer for half the baking time and swap the cakes between racks in the oven so they are evenly cooked.

So, I had done the research, bought my ingredients, read all the tips, had the recipe in hand and had better flour than Donna Hay. How could I fail?

Red Velvet Cake

  • 1 ¼ cups of Copha, dissolved and cooled
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 bottle of red food colouring (basic supermarket variety)
  • 3 cups cake flour (plus more for dusting the cake pans)
  • 1 ¼ tsps fine sea salt
  • 1 ¼ tsps pure vanilla extract (please do not use imitation!)
  • 1 ¼ tsps baking soda
  • 1 ¼ tsps white vinegar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • Unsalted butter for greasing the cake pans
  1.  Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and position a rack in the centre of the oven.
  2. Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment if you have it. In the mixing bowl, place the copha, sugar, cocoa powder, food colouring, cake flour, salt, vanilla, baking soda and vinegar. Start the mixer at low speed (to prevent everything being thrown out of the bowl and over the bench!), and then raise to low-medium and mix for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix for 1 minute after each egg is absorbed into the mixture.
  4. Add the buttermilk in 2 portions, stopping to scrape the bowl between additions.
  5. Let the batter come to room temperature while you grease and flour your cake pans.
  6. When the batter has rested at room temperature for a good 15 minutes, divide the batter between the 2 cake pans. Scrape down the bowls to get all the batter out. You won’t want to waste any of this!
  7. Bake until the cake begins to pull from the sides of the pans and is springy to touch. This should take around 35 – 40 minutes.
  8. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in their cake pans for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour. The cake should be at room temperature before you remove it from the pan to avoid disaster.

The final little tip from Buddy was that when you are taking the cake out of the pan; tip it onto parchment paper with a bit of sugar sprinkled over it. This prevents the cake from sticking to the parchment.

Buddy’s recommended frosting for this cake is cream cheese. I concurred, because who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 500 grams Philly cream cheese
  • 8 tbsps unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
  1.  1. Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment if you have it. In the mixing bowl, place the cream cheese and butter and beat at medium speed until creamy and no lumps.
  2. With the motor still running, add in the vanilla and mix for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the icing sugar, a little at a time, and mix until smooth.
  4. Use straight away or refrigerate for up to 2 days. You should note that if you refrigerate, it will have to come back down to room temp to use as it hardens quite a lot.

This was a fantastic cake that worked well to shape into a number 2. It was the hit of the party and a lot of family members wanted the recipe. It is unusual to see from a home kitchen here so it does make quite an impact when made and presented in a group setting.

The best bit about shaping a number 2 is the left overs!

  • Catharvey76

    I made a velvet cake yesterday and it turned out awful – my first cake flop. I am planning on using your recipe now and hoping to get the wonderful results you did. Could you please describe the quantity of the food colouring required. Is is about a tablespoon? Because in my pantry if have two sized bottles of food colouring. They are brand Queen that you get from woolies but one is 50ml and the other is 7ml. Thanks

  • simone

    Ahh cake flops – otherwise known as trifle! Happen to the best of us sadly! This recipe is a beauty and often requested so hopefully it works out well for you. I am going to tell you a fairly scary amount of red food colouring but it does give the cake a wonderful red colour. I used the Queen brand 50ml bottle. Good luck with the cake and let me know how it goes!


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