Hot or Not?: Red Hot Velvet Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

To go along with the Butterscotch Pudding Tarts I made for my friend Dorothy and her brother and their families, I also made a second recipe from the same cookbook: the Red Hot Velvet Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream. I have a good reason for not trying the cake recipe before now. I absolutely love the red velvet cake I've been making for years and I'm also a strong believer that red velvet cake should come with cream cheese frosting (I always use this frosting recipe). But I also believe that the Baked guys know their layer cakes, so I was happy to try their modern take on red velvet.

To make the cake batter, you beat softened butter with shortening; add sugar; incorporate eggs; alternately add the sifted dry ingredients (cake flour and salt) and liquid ingredients (cocoa and red food coloring mixed with boiling water and cooled, then combined with buttermilk and vanilla); and stir in baking soda that has been dissolved in vinegar. You divide the batter between three 8-inch pans and bake. 
The frosting for this cake is the standard Baked cooked buttercream: you cook flour, sugar, milk, and cream until thickened; beat until cool; and incorporate butter. Because the buttercream is flavored with vanilla extract and cinnamon it was a beige-light tan color. I leveled the cooled cake layers, filled and frosted the cake, and garnished it with Red Hots candies. 
This cake was a hit with my tasters. My favorite part was the frosting, which was luscious as always; I was pleasantly surprised by the cinnamon flavor, which was unusual and satisfying without being too spicy. The cake was moist and springy, but I thought it was just okay -- it didn't have much flavor, and the texture was not particularly fine. I used one tablespoon of red liquid food coloring for the cake, and I liked the earthy red shade of the finished product.

As much as I enjoyed the cinnamon buttercream, I'm not ready to abandon the classic combination of red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting for this modern makeover.

Recipe: "Red Hot Velvet Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at


Louise said…
I've only made the Baked frosting once and it never stiffened up. It seemed thick when I cooked it, but when I beat it, it became too loose and there was no recovering it. What did I do wrong? I'm in Budapest right now, but saw your post and had to ask the frosting question while I'm thinking of it.
After making this frosting many, many times, I have finally figured it out -- make sure it is completely cool, and then keep beating it after adding the butter. Even if it looks like a soupy lost cause, it will come together eventually. You just have to keep faith and have patience! Too bad it took me a few tries to learn this lesson! Hope you're having fun on your trip!