Six-Layer Red Velvet Disaster Cake


I was excited to make a cake using the recipe I’d made for cupcakes earlier in the month. I’d liked it so much that I knew I had to try it as a cake, especially when Veronica kept dropping hints that red velvet cake is her favorite cake.

I decided to pair the cake with my mom’s cooked frosting. It’s what I grew up eating with red velvet. But I decided to instead do a cream cheese cooked frosting because I reasoned it was likely that Veronica had grown up eating cream cheese frosting with her red velvet cake (as I think most people did).

I used some random recipe I found on the internet that looked pretty good. I wasn’t totally paying attention when I began filling the cake but as soon as I poured the filling onto the first layer I realized something was terribly wrong. The frosting was super runny. I decided that it would likely firm up a bit when I chilled the cake though. So I continued filling the cake with the drippy frosting.

Guess what? It never firmed up. And I had an entire bowl-full of drippy frosting that I was supposed to be using to frost the entire cake. Sonofa… So I decided to thicken the frosting. I added powdered sugar. More powdered sugar. So much powdered sugar that I ran out. It didn’t thicken. Then I added butter. I believe I added two sticks of butter. And the butter seemed to work. It definitely thickened, but now it had a lumpy consistency. Awesome.

I pulled apart the already assembled cake and refilled it with the now lumpy frosting. Except for the bottom layer, which I didn’t bother with. Then I frosted the entire cake with the lumpy frosting. And it looked almost as terrible as it did when I had assembled it using the runny frosting. Ugh!

I was not going to give up. I was not going to dump a six-layer cake over some runny frosting. So I chilled the cake again and frosted it a third time using the coca-cola frosting I made with the Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake (because everyone loves that frosting). I did my best to wipe away the white filling that continued to ooze from the bottom of the cake and tried to hide what I couldn’t wipe away by lining the cake with fake m&ms.


When I finally unveiled the cake no one who didn’t already know the story and hadn’t seen the pictures was any the wiser. To my dismay, the cake with its oozing lava center (yes, it oozed when we cut into it) was a huge success. Everyone loved the oozing center and the chocolate frosting. Many people commented that they didn’t think it would have been good with one or the other as the frosting/filling and that the combination made the cake. Cake disaster averted!


*Recipe borrowed from Portuguese Girl Cooks; incidentally, this may have been the best red velvet cupcake I’ve ever had or made.

cake ingredients.

6 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
8 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
16 T.  vegetable shortening
3 1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
8 T. liquid food color, preferably no taste food color
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5 T. natural cocoa powder, sifted
3 c. whole milk, at room temperature
3 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. apple cider vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare three 8-inch round pans by greasing, lining the bottom with parchment paper, greasing again and flouring.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together  flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and the sugar and cream on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the food coloring, cocoa powder, and vanilla together until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain. Very slowly add to the mixer, mixing at low speed until well combined.
  5. Add in one-third of the flour mixture, mix until combined. Add in one-third of the milk, mix until combined. Repeat adding in the flour then milk, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  6. In a small bowl, add the baking soda to the vinegar. Mix well and add to the batter. Mix until just incorporated, about 10 seconds.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost when completely cool.


Recipe rating: 


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