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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


  • 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


  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.

Reviews (11)

  • Joan Rudd 20 Aug, 2012

    joan rudd

  • Christal Caffey 10 Aug, 2012

    Enter your review...

  • chardy8604 4 Jul, 2012

    The cake was moist and delicious, however, the cake was so heavy that there was not sufficient support for the weight of six tiers! I would recommend using cake separator plates, or using a dowel through all layers of the structure. When the cake was assembled at my daughter's wedding what started out 6 tiers, ended up being four! Do NOT follow the assembly instructions as they are inaccurate.

  • bluebelly 26 Mar, 2012

    I haven't read it yet. I can't seem to get the rest of it

  • Sususu 5 Mar, 2012

    Can I decorate it with fondant?

  • sneekydd 1 Sep, 2011

    I made this cake for a bridal shower cake, and the bride enjoyed it soo much that she requested it for their wedding cake too!

  • Cookybug 22 Jun, 2011

    I'd like to have a better idea of how to frost this cake. Any helpful hints? The wedding is next week.

  • aurora1982 3 Dec, 2009

    Our wedding is in a marquee in August - is there any way that this cake would survive a potentially-warm summer wedding?

  • hbooty 29 Jul, 2008

    Most cakes freeze really well. I have had a lot of success. Just cool cake completely and wrap well in saran wrap and then in then foil. Cakes are actually much easier to cut into layers when they are still cold. Good luck!

  • Kobrilchipri 13 Jul, 2008

    I am in the process of making this cake and was wondering if the individual cakes that get stacked to form the final cake can be made a few days ahead of time and then frozen? Will the cakes survive the thawing without losing their shapes so that they can still be stacked? Please advise. Thanks!

  • swissmiss2584 3 Feb, 2008

    I made this red velvet for a wedding cake and people loved it! It was moist and I love how the batter comes together. I used half regular cocoa powered and half dark cocoa powder.