The concept of alternating positive and negative spaces has always intrigued me. That fascination, coupled with my fondness for harlequin patterns were what motivated me to bake this Harlequin Cake. I wanted to use what I already had at hand, which was a diamond-shaped cookie cutter that was 3.5 inches tall to shape the diamond-shaped cutouts made out of chocolate fondant. I also wanted to have two rows of diamonds to make a clear harlequin pattern, so that meant having to stack a cake that was at least 7 inches tall, hence the unusually tall cake.
It might have been simpler to just use a smaller cookie cutter, and have the cake stack at maybe 5 inches at the most, but I didn’t have a smaller one. It’s funny how one small item such as a cookie cutter can dictate the outcome of a cake, but as that was all I had to work with, I set forth with calculating how many diamond cutouts I would need. Since the circumference of an 8-inch circle is about 25.1 inches, and the cookie cutter at its widest point was 2.25 inches, that meant I would need 10 regular size diamonds plus one slightly narrow one for a single row. And to make two rows I needed 20 regular size diamonds and 2 narrow ones for a total of 22 for the sides of the cake.
As for the top of the cake, since I wanted the design to have a concentric feel, I placed the cutouts in a circle pointed towards the center, and adjusted the width of each diamond to make them all fit without overlapping. I calculated 11 diamonds each measuring 1.25 inches in width all measuring 3 inches in length to be consistent with the cutouts on the side of the cake.
I actually baked this harlequin cake last month, but I’ve just been so incredibly busy, I haven’t had a chance to write a post on it up until now.
The first thing I made was the fondant, using marshmallows and chocolate plus a few drops of black food color to obtain a dark color that would contrast starkly against the white background. It’s the same recipe for marshmallow fondant that I used in this earlier cake, except that I added chocolate to it. In hindsight, since I was just going for a dark color, it didn’t really matter if I added chocolate or not. I think I would have achieved the same affect using only the food color.
Making the fondant was a little bit time consuming; I might have been better off buying it ready made. I haven’t tried commercial fondant, so I can’t really remark on its quality, but I’m sure there are brands out there that might be good. I make fondant once in a while to use on cakes, not so much to consume, as to achieve a specific design.
The fun part about fondant is that the texture is similar to clay and you can mold all kinds of shapes out of it.
Or I could have used icing sheets for the diamonds instead of fondant and probably could have saved a lot of time. I’ve seen icing sheets in craft stores, but haven’t tried them. They look like edible paper and come in a variety of colors. Supposedly, you can cut all kinds of shapes out of icing sheets. If anyone has tried icing sheets, please let me know how good they are as far as quality and flavor.
This is definitely a lot of red velvet cake. One vertical slice down all six layers of this harlequin red velvet cake would be an extremely generous portion.
So I further divided each piece and sliced them horizontally right in the center to get a normal portion.
Now to analyze the flavor of this red velvet harlequin cake; it was alright, but I didn’t really, really love it. It was sweet and moist but the flavor wasn’t exceptional or distinct from other cakes. And knowing how good red velvet cake can be, I will definitely have to revisit this recipe sometime later and possibly make a few adjustments. So I’ll hold off on the recipe for now until it’s just the way I like it. = )
I used a regular vanilla buttercream to frost the cake and a marshmallow crème filling in between the layers. It might have been also interesting had I paired the cake with this cream cheese frosting, but it would have required refrigeration because of the cream cheese.
All in all, I still got a kick out of making this red velvet harlequin cake. Note to self, give icing sheets a try. I will definitely have to make red velvet cake again, maybe in a different design and see how that turns out.
Till next time, happy baking!
Red Velvet Harlequin Cake