Red Velvet Brain Cake Tutorial
October 29, 2018
Red Velvet Brain Cake on white platter

Mad science party red velvet brain cake tutorial

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 the brain molds. I used mini ones as cupcake toppers and needed a way to use this big 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

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 did leave 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

And it did… I recommend following that if you live anywhere near the mountains! (3500 feet+) As mentioned I don't bake often and found myself without 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 edges/corners are curved and not ideal for layering. *Use the mold to create a template on the cake NOW before you put anything in it.

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 in microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Be careful not to overheat or the chocolate will get hard and grainy. After 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 the color pairs when painting, dyeing, or mixing play-doh! If you don't know what that means you can get a color theory lesson and read all about great party color schemes here.

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 fo creating a layer cake that I carved into the mounded shape of the brain. Instead just cut pieces of cake and press them into the top of the mold! It worked perfectly although the cut pieces do fall apart a bit! So if the final presentation is critical…'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

The raspberry filling layer in an attempt at an oozing interior. It doesn't actually ooze, which is fine with me. I prefer the taste of raspberries. If you really want ooze, add a layer of frosting over the cake, then your flavored gel/syrup so it doesn't all soak into the cake.

Step 7: Carve Cake Layer

Carving a layer for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

This is not complicated. Since you already used the mold to get a rough outline made on the cake, cut it out and place on a plate. Then carve the edges slightly to follow the curve of the brain.

Second cake layer red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

The small piece of cake is easy to move from the plate to the mold. Just make sure that the curved portion goes down.

Step 8: Trim Cake

Slicing off the excess for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

Now I almost left the cake as it was but knew the brain shell presentation wouldn't be as dramatic with cake hanging out the bottom. So using a long bread knife sliced the excess cake off the base. Use the mold as a guide 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

Add cream cheese frosting to the base to seal it all up. Even though I don't bake much I've still learned a lot over the years, mostly from my failures!

Cream cheese crumb coat for a red velvet Brain Cake tutorial

This is called a crumb coat that seals up the cake and allows you to add a final clean layer over the top once it is set. Since we sliced the cake there are lots of crumbs! You could go over this again but since it doesn't show 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 is soften just a bit. I was worried about cracking so allowing the chocolate to soften just a bit is helpful. 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 won't give my children nightmares like some cakes I've seen!

Take the First Cut

The first slice of a red velvet Brain Cake

The first cut is 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, how are you planning to serve it?

Until next time my friend,

Halfpint Design, personal headshot, Bri Adams


  1. Beth

    Excellent tutorial! Creepy cake!

  2. Susan-SugarPartiesLA

    Wow Bri ! This looks so spooky delicious. I know you’re not a fan of white chocolate but I’m obsessed with it. My mouth is drooling at the moment 😂

  3. Jordan Hansen

    This cake is so awesome Bri! The raspberry filling takes it to a whole other level – love it!

  4. Holly Hulke

    Ahh more brains! haha! I’ve been loving your Halloween food ideas. So many good ones!

  5. Lori

    This is so creepy good!! I actually have that mold! I think I’ll freak my family out this year!! 🙂

  6. Jennifer Digiacomo

    This is so expertly done that it’s almost too real to eat haha But I LOVE the idea and think this will be a hit at Halloween parties this year!


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Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party I’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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