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When I was trying to come up with a good idea for a Valentine’s Day recipe, I kept circling back to red velvet. It’s such a fun dessert that’s really popular right now and the color is perfect for a sweetheart dessert. While planning what I wanted to do, it dawned on me, The Walking Dead is coming back on Valentine’s Day! I don’t know about you, but it’s one of our favorite shows right now. So I already know that instead of a romantic night out, we will be cozied up with a slice of cake watching something slightly horrific. And I’m ok with that.
This cake recipe comes together really quickly and is very forgiving. I love the light texture and the subtle chocolate flavor.
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup vanilla pudding mix
2 tbs. cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1 cup boiling water
red food color
Place all dry ingredients in mixing bowl, turn on low to incorporate.
Add buttermilk, eggs, oil and red food color, turn up to medium speed. Once incorporated, add boiling water slowly on low speed.
Pour batter into prepared pans. For this cake, we used 2 10″ round cake pans and later cut them into a heart shape. This amount of batter can make three 8″ round cakes that will equal a more normal cake height. This cake needed to be low so it would look like a box of chocolates.
This is a very runny batter, don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong! Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, cake will pull away from the edge slightly. This is a very sticky cake, so if you touch the top, it might stick to your hands. I prepared the pans with a layer of parchment in the bottom followed by spraying it with nonstick spray.
Once cakes are cooled, use a piece of parchment paper cut to the shape and size heart you would like.
Stack cakes and cover with cream cheese frosting. (My recipe is fairly simple, one 8 oz. block of cream cheese, 1 cup butter, cream until smooth. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt. Add 4-5 cups of powdered sugar. I add sugar until it’s the consistency I want to work with).
Cover entire cake with red fondant. (If you want to just stop with the cream cheese, pop the cake in the freezer so you can get a good crumb coat, then add a second layer of cream cheese frosting and decorate how ever you like).
Roll another strip of fondant to go around the edge of the cake, it should be slightly taller than the cake. You can use two strips to get each side if your first piece is not long enough. Adhere the fondant strip to the fondant with vodka (I like vodka because it evaporates quickly and doesn’t make the fondant sticky the way water does).
Now it’s time to start decorating the cake! I made this hand out of a combination of modeling chocolate and fondant. I made a wire frame to help hold the fingers up. Once it was dry I painted more dark gray accents to give it depth and then added “blood” under the fingernails and on places I deemed to be scars. The blood was a combination of red food color and a dot of black food color mixed into corn syrup.
The lid of the box was simply a piece of cardboard wrapped in fondant (use extra frosting to “glue” it down to the cardboard) and a simple bow helped to really make it look like a box of chocolates.
I added crumbled chocolate cookies to look like dirt. And then, I put on gloves and wiped the blood mixture all over the cake. You can be as gross as you want it to be. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling the whole hand coming out of the box, you could add just a few fingers peeking out from behind the lid.
If you’re anything like us and love The Walking Dead, this gruesome take on a Valentine’s Day cake is going to be the perfect sweet to share.