This week’s beautiful ombre cake creates an exquisite watercolor effect and topped with complementary colored flowers and fruit makes a super glamorous dessert.
Taken from Sheri Wilson’s book, Caketopia you’ll find the recipe for her mouthwatering red velvet cake and pipe-able cream cheese frosting below.
It’s just one of a collection of exquisitely decorated, vibrantly colored cakes for all occasions to be found in the book. Sheri’s decorating style is quite literally “no-holds barred” in terms of her use of color and luxurious touches and Caketopia will take you on a journey to learn how to create masterpieces of your own.
Red Velvet Cake
No one can really decide which flavor red velvet cake is, but everyone agrees it should be moist and spongy, tangy with a hint of cocoa and of course deep red in color. This recipe ticks all the boxes and delivers buttery soft layers, which pair deliciously with cream cheese frosting.
Yield: Makes four 6-inch (15-cm) or three 8-inch (20-cm) round cake layers
Serves 10-12 people
- Vegetable oil spray, for pans;
- 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting;
- 3 cups (600 g) sugar;
- 3 tbsp (22 g) unsweetened cocoa powder;
- 2 tsp (9 g) baking soda;
- 1 tsp salt;
- 3 tbsp (18 g) King Arthur cake enhancer (optional);
- 1⁄2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted;
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil;
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature;
- 11⁄2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature;
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) sour cream, at room temperature;
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract;
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) cider vinegar;
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) Chefmaster super red gel coloring;
Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Grease with vegetable oil spray, dust with flour and line four 6-inch (15-cm) or three 8-inch (20-cm) round cake pans with parchment paper, according to the directions on page 12.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt and cake enhancer, if using, into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Set the mixer to the lowest speed, mixing until well combined.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, oil, eggs, buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla paste, vinegar and super red gel coloring.
With the mixer on low speed, pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer in a slow and steady stream. Mix until just barely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until creamy, no longer than 1 to 2 minutes.
Divide the cake batter equally among the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean and the cake has pulled away from the edges slightly. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in their pans for approximately 15 minutes before inverting onto wire racks or a clean countertop. Allow the layers to cool completely before filling and decorating.
- Before starting, be sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This will ensure that all the ingredients will blend and emulsify correctly and will result in a light and fluffy cake.
- This recipe can easily be used for baking cupcakes. Pour the prepared batter into a cupcake tray (or trays) and bake for 18 to 21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Makes about 48 cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 6 to 7 cups (900 g to 1 kg)
This frosting is thicker than the average cream cheese frosting to ensure it is stable enough to pipe and hold its shape while decorating. The cream cheese flavor may be more subtle than other recipes but can be increased by adding extra flavoring without affecting the stability at all.
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature;
- 1 cup (230 g) cream cheese, cold;
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract (or clear vanilla extract if white frosting is desired);
- 1 tsp Get Suckered Cream Cheese flavoring (optional);
- Pinch of salt;
- 2 tsp (10 ml) fresh lemon juice;
- 2 lb (907 g) powdered sugar;
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese on high speed for 5 minutes, or until very pale and increased in volume.
Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and add the vanilla, cream cheese flavoring, if using, salt and lemon juice to reduce sweetness.
Begin adding the powdered sugar, 1 cup (120 g) at a time, until all has been added. Beat at a medium speed until the buttercream is smooth and creamy, no longer than 1 to 2 minutes, or excess air bubbles will form.
Set your mixer to run at the lowest speed for about 5 minutes to eliminate any excess bubbles. Remove any remaining air bubbles by pressing the buttercream against the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. You should hear a popping sound as the bubbles come to the surface and burst. Continue to scrape and fold until the buttercream is very smooth and no visible bubbles remain. This can take quite a while sometimes, depending on how much air was incorporated into the buttercream when whipping. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to take a breather if your arm is falling off from beating!
This buttercream can be stored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator, or 1 month in the freezer.
- Chefmaster pink gel coloring
- Assortment of fuchsia and pink flowers (orchids, roses, carnations)
- 1 to 3 fresh strawberries
- 4 piping bags
- floral tape
- tall bench scraper
Fill your cake layers with cream cheese frosting and stack the layers neatly on top of one another.
Add your crumb coat of cream cheese frosting around the outside and top of the cake. Then divide the remaining frosting equally among three bowls.
Add 12 drops of pink gel coloring to the first bowl, 8 drops to the second bowl and 3 drops to the third bowl.
Transfer the buttercream from each bowl into three individual piping bags, and snip about 1 inch (2.5 cm) off the ends.
Place your cake on a turntable, and pipe four rings of the darkest pink frosting onto the base of the cake, followed by four rings of the medium pink frosting to the middle section of the cake, and finally, four rings of the light pink frosting to the top of the cake.
Scrape around the cake, using the tall bench scraper, until you have a smooth surface. You may have to add a little bit of extra frosting if there are uneven spaces. Blend the buttercream in the areas where the colors meet using your offset spatula for a softer color gradient.
Place the cake in the freezer to chill while you prepare your other decorations.
Cut the stems of each flower 2 inches (5 cm) from the blossom. Wrap the stems in floral tape to protect the cake from coming in direct contact with the flowers.
Arrange the flowers and strawberries on top of the cake, inserting the wrapped stems into the top. It may take some creativity in finding the correct placement, but use the feature picture at the top as a guide to achieve a good balance.
The cake is freshest if kept in the refrigerator until 1 hour before serving and is best if eaten within 3 days.
Reprinted with permission from Caketopia by Sheri Wilson, Page Street Publishing Co. 2021. Photo credit: Zachary and Sherilyn Wilson