Red Velvet Sunset

Red Velvet Sunset

Red Velvet, Mango, Milk, and Marscarpone. 
I know you just read that and said "What?!" 

It's a little crazy, I know, but I promise it's actually delicious. Like, really really really really delicious. Stupid delicious, guys. 

A few months back, when it was still snowing buckets in New York I whipped up this Red Velvet cake with a cream cheese frosting and milk crumbs to impress some new friends at a dinner party. Even though Red Velvet is basically a chocolate cake with a boatload of red food coloring, it sure does make for a show-stopping presentation. Partnered with rich cream cheese frosting and the crunch of milk crumbs, I think that cake went over pretty darn smoothly. At least that's how I remember it. But cream cheese and red velvet don't exactly shout "SUMMER." While I wanted to share my Red Velvet recipe, I knew I had to package it in a new way; lighten that puppy up.

Fresh out of ideas I strolled over to my local market to see what kind of produce I could incorporate. Raspberries are overdone and strawberries seemed too boring but low and behold, mangos were on sale and calling my name. Why not make a mango curd? The tangy sweetness of mango sounded like a great way to freshen up the density of red velvet and the slightly sweet, less tangy taste of marscarpone could provide the perfect balance between the two. Milk crumbs were a given. If you haven't had the joy of experiencing milk crumbs before, they are going to change your cake life. They bring a whole new level of texture to any cake with their buttery, salty crunchiness. I took a risk and set to work. 

This is what success looks like.

The mango curd?  I cannot even explain to you how good it is. It's less tart than your average citrus curd, but undeniably tropical and refreshing. Even with butter in it, it's refreshing! It doesn't make sense. 

Sometimes originality pays off in drastic ways, like a sunset colored cake. Plus, I just went to Zumba class so I can have another piece...right?

As I was editing photos for this post, I opened my seltzer only to have it explode furiously all over my kitchen table. Though I tried to act quickly by turning over my laptop and powering it down, my amazing work IT team cannot get it to power up. Please wish me luck today that I can redeem the final photos and the love of my life, my MacBook AIr, when I go to the Apple Store. #prayersforArielscomputer 

Red Velvet Sheet Cake

  • 3/4 cup shortening

  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 3  eggs

  • 3  tablespoons cocoa

  • 6 tablespoons red food coloring

  • 2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350°

In a stand mixer, beat together the shortening and granulated sugar until fluffy and light. Add in eggs one at a time. 

In a small cup whisk together the red food coloring and cocoa powder to make a thick paste. On a low speed, add it into the shortening, egg, and sugar mixture. Do not increase speed until liquid is well combined or you WILL get red splatters all over your kitchen and apron (speaking from personal experience). In another bowl, combine salt, vanilla and buttermilk together. Alternating between milk and flour, combine these ingredients to the shortening mixture until cake is uniform, starting and ending with flour. 

FInally, mix together baking soda and white vinegar in a small cup and gently fold the foaming mixture into the batter. Please make sure to not turn the stand mixer back on as it will overwork the batter. 

Line 1/2 size baking sheet with Pam and a sheet of parchment paper. The better you line it, the easier the cake will pop out of the pan later. Spread red batter into the sheet cake until smooth. Bake at 350° for thirty minutes or until a fork can be inserted and come out clean. Remove from oven and cool on cooling wrack for thirty min. Once pan is cool to the touch, wrap well in Seran wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. This will make the cake easier to work with when assembling. 

Mango Curd

  • 1/2 cup fresh mango purée 
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin, unflavored

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, super cold

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine puréed mango and granulated sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl and whip until sugar dissolves. Add in eggs one at a time. 

Empty mango mix into a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat until it thickens. Keep a close eye on this as you "bloom" your gelatin. To bloom your gelatin, pour 1/2 teaspoon over cold water in a cup, making sugar to spread out the powder evenly. This softens the gelatin up and makes it easier to combine into the curd.

Once mango and egg mixture has thickened up, pour it into a clean (cool) mixing bowl  and beat in the salt and gelatin. Beat in cold, cubed butter until well combined. Pour curd into airtight container and refrigerate one hour or longer before using. Can be stored for up to a week. 

Milk Crumbs courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook

  • 1/2 milk powder, whole
  • 1/4 flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk powder (round 2)
  • 3 oz white chocolate

Preheat oven to 250°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a medium mixing bowl combine first 5 dry ingredients and mix together. Stir in melted butter until crumbs form. Spread crumbs out on baking sheet and break up any crumbs that are too large. Bake for 20 min at 250°.  

Let crumbs cool completely and then mix in with final 1/4 cup of milk powder.

Melt white chocolate in a double broiler. Pour over crumbs and toss until evenly coated. Continue to toss every five minutes on parchment paper until white chocolate is hardened. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. 

Marscapone Frosting

  • 8 oz marscapone frosting
  • 6 oz whipping cream
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed

Beat marscapone and butter with hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add in powdered sugar at a low speed until all is incorporated. It will be thick. Finally add in your whipping cream and beat for three to four minutes until smooth and spreadable. Set aside until ready to assemble your cake.

Cake Assembly (similar to the Raspberry Rose Reverie)

  1. Prep assembly surface by lying down parchment paper (nonstick surface and easy clean up)
  2. Remove Red Velvet sheet cake from pan by gently running a fork around the edges and slamming down the sheet cake on hard surface to loosen. Remove cake from baking sheet and peel off the parchment paper. You should have a solid sheet of red velvet ready for your cake ring. 
  3. Use cake ring to make two perfect circles and two half-circles in sheet cake (it's good to test first by gently pressing and finding your shapes before pressing ring all the way through the cake) 
  4. Rinse cake ring and wipe clean after using to cut cake circles. This is important for a clean and smooth surface. Line inside with one 3" cake collar of acetate.
  5. Place two half circles of cake inside lined cake ring. There will be a large gap between the two half circles, and possibly along the sides. Use scraps of cake to fill in any gaps, pressing tightly. It'll get messy but make sure it is firmly packed on bottom. When you're done, no one will know that the bottom layer is actually scraps. 
  6. Use bent spoon and add four to five heaping spoonfuls of Marscarpone Frosting to cake layer. Use bottom of spoon to drag frosting around the layer, paying close attention to the edges. Make sure you have plenty of cake along the outsides of the cake as this is what will make your presentation really stand out. To prevent cake from "lifting" and getting crumbs all up in your frosting make sure not to lift spoon while spreading the frosting. The more frosting you have under your spoon while spreading the easier it will be to spread.
  7. Add half your milk crumbs on top of the frosting, again making sure to get some along the edges for the final presentation. press gently into the Marscarpone to make sure they stay in place. 
  8. Rinse the frosting spoon and add half of your Mango curd to the layer of Marscarpone Frosting. Again, pay close attention to the outer edges of the cake to ensure both the frosting and filling will be seen once unveiled. 
  9. By now you'll notice your cake layers are nearing the edge of the cake collar inside the ring... now it's time to add that second one in! Ensuring you dip the edge of the second collar behind the first, gradually slide the second cake collar around the ring. It will rise above the top of the cake ring, making sure you have plenty of smooth surface to continue to stack your cake layers. 
  10. Add first full circle of Red Velvet cake to your cake ring. Make sure to use the "less-perfect" layer as you'll want to save the nicest circle for the top and most noticeable layer. 
  11. Repeat steps 6 through 8: frosting, milk crumbs, filling.
  12. Finally, add your last cake layer. pressing down gently to make sure all the layers are densely packed. 
  13. Glop on the last of your Marscarpone Frosting and spread evenly. This time I went for a gentle, spoon-swirled top layer. It's totally up to you if you'd like to top it with something more.
  14. Place cake in freezer for a minimum of four hours. Once the cake is frozen, lightly glide cake ring up over acetate and off of the cake. Remove the acetate before the cake defrosts and let sit for twenty minutes before slicing in. 
  15. Dig in.