Introduction: Red Velvet Brain Cake

I was feeling a bit festive for Halloween this year and decided to make this red velvet brain cake. The cake itself is so delicious. You will also have extra buttercream that can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. This recipe can also be found at



1 tablespoon + ½ cup (113g) + 2 cups (454g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 tablespoons (22 grams) cocoa powder, divided

1½ cups (300g) + 1 cup (225g) + 1 3/4 cups (400g) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

8 large egg whites

3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

2 tablespoons (30ml) red food coloring

1 teaspoon (6g) salt

1 teaspoon (5g) baking soda

2½ cups (320g) all purpose flour, sifted

1 cup (236ml) whole buttermilk

1 tablespoon (15ml) white vinegar

1½ cup water

3½ pounds Satin Ice Buttercream Rolled Fondant

Wilton Burgundy Icing Colour

Wilton Golden Yellow Icing Colour

Wilton Black Icing Colour

Strawberry or Raspberry jam

Step 1: Prepare Cake Pans

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease 2 9-inch cake pans with the 1 tablespoon butter. Then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon (7g) of sifted cocoa powder, tapping the pans to coat.

Step 2: Combine Butter and Sugar

Combine ½ cup (113g) butter and 1½ cups (300g) sugar.

Step 3:

Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix to incorporate.

Step 4: Combine Cocoa and Food Coloring

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and the red food coloring.

Step 5: Blend Color Mixture With Butter Mixture

Then blend into the butter mixture.

Step 6: Combine Dry Ingredients

Combine the salt, baking soda, and flour.

Step 7: Add Dry Ingredients and Buttermilk With Butter Mixture

Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the butter mixture. Mix to incorporate.

Step 8: Add Vinegar

Add the vinegar to the butter mixture. Mix until blended.

Step 9: Bake Cake

Divide batter between the 2 baking pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Step 10: Shape Cake

Stack the 2 cakes and shape into a brain.

Step 11: Make Simple Syrup

To make the simple syrup by boiling 1 cup (225g) sugar with 1 cup water in a saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool completely.

Step 12: Separate Egg Whites

To make the buttercream, separate the egg whites and place them in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.

Step 13: Boil Sugar and Water

Boil 1 3/4 cups (400g) sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar reaches 230F on a thermometer, start whipping the egg whites on medium high speed.

Step 14: Beat Eggs, Add Sugar Mixture, and Add Butter

Do no over beat the egg whites. Once the sugar reaches 240F, turn the heat off and add the sugar mixture to the egg whites with the mixer running. Beat until no heat remains in the bowl. The bowl shouldn't feel warm. With the mixer still running, gradually add the butter until spreadable. Then add the vanilla extract.

Step 15: Apply Simple Syrup

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and apply simple syrup over the cake.

Step 16: Apply Buttercream

Apply a layer buttercream and refrigerate.

Step 17: Color Fondant

Color the fondant by mixing it with the Wilton icing colors. Mix 1 pound fondant with the Burgundy, 1 pound fondant with the Black, and 1½ pounds fondant with the Golden Yellow.

Step 18: Combine Colored Fondants

Then combine the colored fondants together to get a pale color.

Step 19: Make Tubes

Take a small piece of the colored fondant and roll it into one centimeter diameter tubes to create the wavy pattern of the human brain.

Step 20: Lay Tubes

Lay the tubes onto the iced brain cake in free flowing patterns avoiding symmetry. Make sure to leave definition between the two hemispheres of your brain.

Step 21: Coat Bottom of Cake

Flip the cake over, coat the bottom with some buttercream and layer with the fondant.

Step 22: Make Cerebellum

Use the remaining fondant to sculpt the cerebellum.

Step 23: Assemble

Lay the cerebellum pieces and add to the brain cake on top.

Step 24: Coat With Jam

Heat some jam and the gloss the cake with it.


epalmer3 made it! (author)2016-10-06

How much of the coloring did you use with the fondant? I have never worked with fondant but this looks like the perfect baking challenge for me.


I took a toothpick and dipped it in the food coloring and then in the fondant. I mixed the fondant to even spread the coloring. I did this a few times until I reached the desired color. It didn't take much at all, maybe 1/32 of a teaspoon. The more you put in, the brighter the color. I was looking to create a pale grayish color, so I didn't use too much. Plus I knew I was going to gloss it at the end, so I wasn't too concerned with it being exact.

epalmer3 made it! (author)epalmer32016-10-20

Thanks for the idea and red velvet recipe! Didn't use your butter cream recipe though I'm sure it was delicious. Ended up a touch flat on top but excited to see what my coworkers think!


You did a great job. It looks so good! :D

offseidjr made it! (author)2016-10-15

At first sight, I thought "Ick!" but then I saw that the sauce was not blood and gravy, but jam. That's a sign that it looks almost TOO realistic. Keep doing good Instructables!


Thank you very much! :)

KarenK116 made it! (author)2016-10-09

Thankmyou for the great instructions. Too cool :)

sophiatheboss made it! (author)2016-10-09

how is this funny

sophiatheboss made it! (author)2016-10-09

wow this will go great at mt hollow eves party

WUVIE made it! (author)2016-10-07

My jaw is having difficulty closing. This is absolutely amazing.
You've definitely got my vote. Best of luck in the contest!


Thank you :)

DIY Hacks and How Tos made it! (author)2016-10-05

I love red velvet cake for Halloween. You can make so many fun things out of it.


I love red velvet cake too! The recipe here for the actual cake is really good. I tried several recipes for red velvet cake before picking this one.

Datawolf made it! (author)2016-10-06

What about using giant noodles ?


It seems that the noodles might be difficult to work with and that you might have a hard time having them stay in place. The fondant has a similar consistency to play-doh. It is much more workable and stays in place.

nanaverm made it! (author)2016-10-06

Wonderfully gory! But to be more biologically accurate, how about using grayish frosting/wash?


I haven't tried this, but I would try making the fondant a more grayish color. Then I would try mixing maybe 1/2 teaspoon of blueberry jam with some corn syrup until it becomes a light grayish color. I would then add a few drops of chocolate syrup to get the right shade of gray. You will have to experiment a bit. Boil the final mixture for a minute so it becomes a thick glaze. Then coat the fondant.

crickleymal made it! (author)2016-10-07

To make the simple syrup by boiling 1 cup (225g) sugar with 1 cup water
in a saucepan until the sugar is completely.



Yes. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove it from the heat and let it cool completely before applying it to the cake.

jwhyte2 made it! (author)2016-10-07

This is amazing!


Thank you.

offseid made it! (author)2016-10-06

That is absolutely disgusting. I would never eat that! But uh, yeah, I'll definitely vote for it. :P Good work!


Thank you. :)

MrRussoSays made it! (author)2016-10-06

I am a complete disaster in the kitchen, but this looks amazing enough for me to want to try it out. What kind of jam did you use?


I used homemade strawberry jam that I warmed up.

gdawgtuk made it! (author)gdawgtuk2016-10-06

I would like to know what Jam goes well with Red Velvet as well.

MacCullete1869 made it! (author)2016-10-06

I keep getting this horrible headaches, went to my doctor and he suggested a scan to see what's going on. 10 days after, result came back. Looking depressed, my doctor told me I have a brain tumor and it would likely kill me. I hysterically started jumping for joy like i just won the lottery. My doctor's jaw dropped to the floor and asked " you got brain cancer and your happy!? why?" Because all my life my family kept telling I don't have any brain! I knew they were wrong!!;)"

Riffifi made it! (author)2016-10-05

this is... wow... i can't help thinking of Hannibal Lecter XD

is there a special reason why you use cocoa powder to coat the pan? i usually use flour for that. is it a matter of color?


Yes, it was used for color. Flour can be used too.

thomasjarrett16 made it! (author)2016-10-05

This is so cool! It looks so real!


Thank you :)

alexander.zacharov.3 made it! (author)2016-10-05

:D cool for upcoming Halloween!

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