Gathering inspiration from several sources, this cake comes together from recipes, YouTube, and family dessert favorites. This cake is perfect for Valentines day or dinner parties.
This cake is moist, fluffy and has a complex flavor. Adding fondant hearts and a touch of food coloring to the inside frosting makes this cake look whimsical and fun.
This cake and icing recipe originates from Sallysbakingaddiction.com. She has a lot of notes and information on how to make this cake irresistible. If you have never made a red velvet cake, head on over and read all of Sally’s great tips.
Decoration with fondant hearts is courtesy of Just Cake It from YouTube Video. As you will see, my cake is nowhere as professional looking as this video, but it was fun to decorate. You can find the video here.
- Cake ingredients
- Cream Cheese Icing ingredients
- Food coloring if you want to tint the icing
- Fondant in red, pink and red to roll out and make hearts
- Heart cookie cutters.
- Thin wire to mount hearts
- Whipping cream to make Chantilly cream
- Cocoa to dust whipped cream
CHANTILLY WHIPPED CREAM
- 1 cup of whipping or heavy whipping cream.
- ¼ cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Whip cream until stiff peaks form. You can dollop this on or use a piping bag. Dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.
FONDANT HEARTS & OUTSIDE DECORATIONS
- Roll out your fondant to 1/8 to ¼ inch thick. Use cookie cutters to make the hearts.
- Bend the wires to your desired angles and attach the hearts back to back using water as glue. Once they have dried, push a trimmed straw into your cake and place the long end of the wire into it so it stands up. Cover up the straws with icing.
- Brush a little water on the back of the hearts for the sides and top of the cake and gently place them and push gently so they adhere.
- Use any kind of sprinkles or decorations you would like to finish the outside of the cake.
- 3 cups (345g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)1
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 Tablespoons (10g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature2
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (240ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs, room temperature and separated
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (22ml) vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- liquid or gel red food coloring3
- 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, room temperature4
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS
- 16 ounces (450g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature5
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 cups (480g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2-3 Tablespoons (30-45ml) cream or milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
MAKE THE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray or lightly butter two 9×2 (deep dish) cake pans6. Set aside.
Make the cake:
Whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the oil and beat on high for 2 minutes. The butter may look curdled and not completely combine with the oil. It’s ok!
Add four egg yolks and the vanilla. (Set the egg whites aside.) Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the vinegar and the food coloring– until you reach your desired color. I used about 3 Tablespoons of liquid food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix. Vigorously whisk or beat the 4 egg whites until thick and foamy as pictured above, about 3 minutes. Fold into cake batter with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The batter will be silky and slightly thick. (If there are still small pieces of butter – again, this is ok. They will melt inside as the cakes bake. Making them even more buttery tasting!)
Pour batter into cake pans filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 30-32 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the cakes need a little longer as judged by wet crumbs on the toothpick, bake them for longer. However do not overbake; your cakes may dry out. Remove from the oven and allow cakes to cool in the pans set on a wire rack. Cool them completely.
Make the frosting:
In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and 2 Tablespoons of cream. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and 1 more Tablespoon cream if needed to thin out. Beat on high for 2 full minutes. Taste the frosting and add a pinch of salt if it is too sweet.
Assemble and frost:
First, using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Set these thin pieces of cake aside. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Crumble the thin pieces of cake you sliced off in a large bowl. Decorate the sides and top edges of the cake with these crumbs– this is optional! Slice and serve.
Cover extras up tightly and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Unfrosted cake remains fresh covered tightly at room temperature for 3-4 days. Store frosted cakes in the refrigerator for up to 7 days and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Make ahead tip:
The cake layers can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Likewise, the frosting can be prepared then covered and refrigerated overnight. Let the frosting sit at room temperature to slightly soften for 10 minutes before assembling and frosting. Frosted cake or unfrosted cake layers can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before decorating/serving.