Red Velvet Brain Cake Tutorial
September 20, 2019

Halloween Red velvet brain cake

Red Velvet Brain Cake Tutorial

Halloween food is so much fun but you can follow this red velvet brain cake tutorial any time of the year for a science party, graduation party of a psychologist/nurse/doctor, or a Walking Dead marathon with friends. I’m not into super creepy Halloween themes but for some reason I’m LOVING brains. I am NOT into zombies though.

I used mini brain molds as cupcake toppers for our Mad Science party and needed a way to use this large one I found at Dollar Tree! A vision of the mold filled with cream cheese frosting, raspberry filling, and red velvet cake filled my head and after watching an episode of “Nailed It” with my kids I figured I might as well give it a go!

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Red Velvet Brain Cake Ingredients

Ingredients for red velvet brain cake

So here goes nothing! If you know me, you know I’m NOT great in the kitchen. Especially when baking. I have no patience for following recipes or letting things get to room temperature. I mean, who has time for that!? {Ok, lots of people do…it’s just not my thing!} So I, of course, started with a boxed cake mix.

But this time I followed the high altitude recommendations, for the first time in 15 years I might add, because I really wanted this cake to turn out. I also left the butter and cream cheese out to soften this time! So here’s a list of everything you need. You can pick it all up at a local grocery store but if you don’t have access to a large chain I’ve added links for you.

Step 1: Red Velvet Cake

red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

I baked the red velvet cake and it did turn out! So I recommend following those high altitude directions if you live anywhere near the mountains! (3500 feet+) As mentioned I don’t bake often and found myself without proper cake pans, so I made due with the 9×11 casserole dish. Worked fine for this since I cut my piece out of the middle but the sides of this pan are curved and terrible for layering.

Now use the mold to trace around and create a brain template on the cake. You’ll cut the cake later but trace the cold NOW before you start filling it with chocolate and cream cheese!

Step 2: White Chocolate Shell

White chocolate with food coloring for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

I’m not a huge white chocolate fan but it tints well and the melting disks are super easy to work with. Pour the whole bag in a microwave safe bowl and heat 30 second bursts, stirring between. Be careful not to overheat or the chocolate will get hard and grainy. Been there done that!

After the disks are melted, add your food coloring. I typically prefer gel colorants but they are hard to measure precisely. Add:

  • 5 drops of red food color
  • 3 drops of green

Grey chocolate for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

Stir well until you achieve this super creepy grey matter with no color streaks!

*Fun fact – if you mix any pair of complementary colors you’ll get a greyish mess. That’s why it’s a good idea to stay away from those color pairs when painting, dyeing, or mixing play-doh!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about there’s a color theory lesson on: perfect party color schemes.

Step 3: Coat the Mold

Grey chocolate layer for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

Spoon the melted chocolate onto ONE side of the sprayed mold before it starts to cool, then pop it into the fridge for a few minutes to set up. Repeat on the other side. *If you try to do the whole thing at once it will puddle in the bottom.

Tips and Tricks: I baked my cake and coated my mold the night before, then assembled it all the next day after everything cooled overnight.

Step 4: Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

I made a delightful cream cheese frosting recipe from Two Sisters Crafting but I, of course, didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I add less vanilla and only 2 cups of powdered sugar which gives you a dense frosting that hardens well in the fridge and helps hold the white chocolate shell together. *Put it on thick for best results!

Step 5: Red Velvet Cake 

First crumbled cake layer for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

I had visions of creating a layer cake that I carved into the mounded shape of the brain. Instead for the first later, I just cut pieces of cake and pressed them into the mold! It worked perfectly although the cut pieces do fall apart a bit! So if the final presentation is critical…..you’ll want to go with the stack-then-carve method. If not, just add some whipping cream to the top and enjoy all the compliments!

Step 6: Raspberry Filling

Raspberry layer for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

After the top layer is finished add the raspberry filling. I love raspberry and this was my attempt at an oozing interior. It doesn’t actually ooze though, which is fine with me. But if you really want ooze, add a layer of frosting over the cake layer, then spread flavored syrup so it doesn’t all soak into the cake.

Step 7: Carve 2nd Cake Layer

Carving a layer for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

This last layer isn’t complicated. But you will have to do a little carving. Since you already used the mold to make a rough outline on the cake, cut it out and place on a plate. Then carve the top edges slightly to follow the curve of the brain.

Second cake layer red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

After your piece is shaped, carefully flip it over so the curves fit into the mold. If it doesn’t fit properly go ahead and carve a little more as necessary.

Step 8: Trim Cake

 

Slicing off the excess for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

Two layers of cake end up taller than the mold. You could leave the cake as is but the brain shell presentation isn’t as dramatic with cake hanging out the bottom. So using a long bread knife slice any excess cake off the base. Lay your knife flat against the top of the mold using it to guide your cut and it’s very easy. {I then spread the cut piece with extra frosting, folded it over on itself and made a mini layer cake for my kids}

Step 9: Crumb Coat

Trimmed cake ready for frosting red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

Once your cake is trimmed and beautiful you’ll want to add cream cheese frosting to the base and seal it all up. Even though I don’t bake much I’ve still learned a lot over the years. Mostly from my failures! And a crumb coat is one of those things.

Cream cheese crumb coat for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

If you’ve never used a crumb coat before, this is what it looks like. It’s a thin layer that seals up all the crumbs on the cake and allows you to add a final clean layer over the top once it is set. Since we sliced the cake bottom there are lots of crumbs! You could go over this again with a final layer but as it’ll be plate down I opted to leave it alone.

Place it in the fridge for the frosting to set up for 30 minutes to an hour.

Step 10: Moment of Truth! 

Halloween dessert red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

This is your moment! Take the mold out of the fridge and let it soften just a bit. I worried about cracking so allowing the chocolate to reach room temperature is helpful.

To release from the mold: Put a little pressure on either side of the mold, twist, and tap it and when you are ready turn it over onto a prepared plate. I used a layer of raspberry filling for our red velvet brain cake to rest on. Slightly creepy but it’s not going to give my children any nightmares!

 

Take the First Cut

The first slice of a red velvet Brain Cake

The first cut in the hardest. Chocolate shells want to crack instead of cut. Use a hot knife to help slice through that outer layer, and you can see why white chocolate is the secret ingredient! It releases well from the molds with a shiny smooth finish and makes you look like a rock star chef! No complicated frosting, no molding or rolling fondant. Just coat, layer, cool, and release! I promise you that if I can do it, you can too!

I hope you enjoyed this Red Velvet Brain Cake Tutorial! And I’d love for you to send a photo if you give it a try. I honestly thought I had a 50/50 of success and am thrilled to be able to share a baking win with you today! We’re enjoying our cake for a Mad Science Halloween party, how are you planning to serve it?

Pin it for Later

Red velvet brain cake for Halloween

13 Days of Halloween Inspiration Hop

Stop on by Jordan’s Easy Entertaining for an Easy Dark Chocolate Fudge Halloween Sweet Treat Recipeand join us again tomorrow on Day 9 for some Healthy Halloween Party Food Ideas.

Creepy dark chocolate fudge for halloween

If you’re just joining us on the 13 Days of Halloween Inspiration here’s what you missed:

Until tomorrow my friend,

Halfpint Design, personal headshot, Bri Adams

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Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange PartyI’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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