Old-Time Favorites: Red Velvet Wedding Cake

Hidden beneath the swooping white frosting of this tiered dessert are stunning scarlet layers infused with buttermilk and cocoa. Red velvet cake, whose namesake hue comes from food coloring, is a favorite dessert in the South, but its exact origins are unknown. In honor of its adopted home, gum-paste magnolias adorn it here. For added flavor, we've substituted a tangy cream-cheese frosting for the standard flour-based icing, spreading it between each layer and outside.

  • Servings: 175
Old-Time Favorites: Red Velvet Wedding Cake

Photography: Dana Gallagher

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2004

Ingredients

  • 3 each 6-, 9-, 12-, and 15-inch round layers, plus two 4-inch round layers Red Velvet Cake
  • 5 pieces corresponding-size 3/16-inch thick foam board
  • 5 recipes Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 cake board, 18-inch diameter
  • 25 wooden dowels, 1/4 inch diameter, 4 1/8 inches long
  • 3 gum-paste magnolias

Directions

  1. Prepare tiers: Trim layers. On corresponding- size boards, fill 6-, 9-, 12-, and 15-inch layers with frosting to make 4-inch-high tiers. Repeat with 4-inch layers to make a 3-inch-high tier. Frost tiers; press a large offset spatula vertically against sides at 1-inch intervals to make swooping ridges.

  2. Assemble tiers: Place 15-inch tier on board. Insert 10 dowels, arranging 1 in center and 9 in a circle 2 1/2 inches from edge. Center and place 12-inch tier on top; insert 8 dowels in a circle 2 1/2 inches from edge. Center and place 9-inch tier on top; insert 4 dowels in a square 2 1/2 inches from edge. Center and place 6-inch tier on top; insert last 3 dowels in a triangle 2 inches from edge. Refrigerate until ready to display. Decorate with gum-paste magnolias.

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