Fall is finally here and the countdown to Halloween has begun! I’ve got a few things planned to scare and delight my readers this season, and first up on the list is this seemingly innocent heart-shaped red velvet cake. Sure it doesn’t look very scary, but like our mothers always told us it’s what the inside that counts! In this case, what’s on the inside is a whole lot of cherry-flavored fake blood. Yep, you read that right… fake blood! This is a cake that bleeds when you cut it.
The whole process for making a bleeding cake is much easier than I thought it would be. You don’t have to be an expert cake decorator to do this, and if you don’t feel like making the blood yourself there are ways to “fake” that too.
Here’s what you’ll need:
*1 recipe red velvet cake, or 1 box red velvet cake mix
1 6″ heart shaped cake pan
Cherry “blood” sauce (I used Lily Vanilli’s recipe from “A Zombie Ate My Cupcake” get the recipe here) or you can use canned black cherry pie filling with the “chunks” taken out.
1 recipe buttercream icing. (My favorite can be found here)
An offset spatula or knife to spread the icing with
a sharp serrated knife (to separate cake layers)
a spoon (to hollow out the cake)
a light-colored plate for the cake
candy sprinkles or edible decorations (optional)
*One box mix will make enough for two heart cakes, or one heart cake and a small batch of cupcakes.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Bake the cake according to package or recipe directions. You want to make sure to fill your greased cake pan 2/3 of the way full to make sure the cake is thick enough – this is very important! Otherwise it won’t hold as much “blood.”
2. When the cake is done let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan. When the pan is cool enough to touch, use your serrated knife to slice off the overflow and level the cake while it’s still in the pan. Try to cut as cleanly as possible and avoid using a “sawing” motion. Turn the cake out and cool completely on a wire rack or a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper to prevent sticking.
3. Chill the cooled cake for half an hour or freeze for fifteen minutes to lessen crumbling.
4. Place your cake on the plate, cut side down, then use your serrated knife to carefully cut the cake horizontally into two layers of equal thickness. Set the top half aside.
5. With the spoon, hollow out the middle of the bottom layer, but be careful not to go all the way through the cake. The purpose of this is to make a hidden reservoir for the cherry sauce. Stay within an inch or two of the edge of the cake to protect the structure.
5. Ice the bottom cake layer with the buttercream, making sure that the cake doesn’t show through on the inside “bowl” you’ve carved out. Refrigerate until the layer of icing is firm.
6. Fill the reservoir with the completely cooled cherry sauce, but not all the way to the top. You don’t want the top layer to absorb it all! Carefully place the top layer on the cake and ice the cake as you normally would, but be careful not to apply too much pressure since the cake is hollow. You won’t use all of the cherry sauce so be sure and reserve the rest for other gory snacks.
7. Decorate with sprinkles, candy, or fancy piped border. The point is to make it look like a normal cake so that it’s all the more shocking when someone cuts into it.
8. Serve to unsuspecting friends and family, but don’t wait too long! The longer you wait, the more the blood will get absorbed into the cake instead of running out when you cut it.
The great thing about this cake is that anyone can do it. Even if you’ve never decorated a cake before or are afraid of making a mess of the icing, with this cake it doesn’t matter. The messier it gets, the better the effect.