I’m actually not the world’s biggest fan of red velvet cake. Never have really seen the big deal. However, lately I’ve been craving it like crazy! I guess because so may delicious looking red velvet recipes have been popping up all over the blogosphere lately. I guess February is definitely a red velvet kind of month. A year or so ago, I copied down my great-grandmother’s recipe for red velvet cake and have been wanting to try it ever since. I figured now would be as good a time as any, then my friend Kelsey recommended I try her recipe- in fact, her exact words were, “try my recipe- I dare you not to love it.” Well, how can I resist THAT?! And luckily, upon comparing the two recipes, I found that Kelsey’s is almost identical to my great-grandmother’s, with only a couple of very minor differences. Excellent!

I didn’t want to make a traditional cake (which is very unlike me, but I just decided to ride the wave…), and ended up baking the cake in a jelly roll pan. After baking and cooling I found myself looking at it thinking, “well….what the heck do I do now?!” I knew I wanted to somehow do something heart-shaped, for a Valentine’s theme, but beyond that I was lacking inspiration. Lucky for me, my friend Leah suggested Napoleons. Perfect Leah, thanks! Napoleons (or Mille-feuille) are traditionally made with puff pastry and pastry creme, but I thought in honor of Valentine’s Day a cute little red velvet cake Napoleon would be oh-so-fun! The red velvet cake turned out so delicious- especially with the tangy cream cheese frosting! These little guys were so much fun to make and so easy! A perfect little sweet treat for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day!

Red Velvet Cake Napoleons

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces butter (2 sticks), softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
squirt of fresh lemon juice

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.

When the cake is cooled, flip it onto a large surface and peel the parchment paper off. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out hearts and set aside. Using a serrated knife, slice each heart in half. Set aside while you make the frosting.

For the frosting:
Beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and lemon juice together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes (you’ll end up with some left over).

To assemble:
Place a small amount of frosting on one of the hearts, place another heart on top, pressing down slightly, then more frosting; finally place one last heart on top and a dollop of frosting (that’s 3 hearts total). Top with sprinkles, if desired. Repeat with the remaining hearts. I ended up with 14 Napoleons.

Recipe source: cake and frosting seen on Apple A Day, originally from Saveur.com



  1. These are gorgeous!!! And definitely look good enough to eat…many servings of…


    Comment by Katie — February 10, 2011 @ 7:05 AM

  2. I’m so glad you liked the recipe. What a special surprise that it’s so close to your great grandmother’s. Your spin on red velvet is absolutely gorgeous–so festive, fun, and delicious, I’m sure! Happy Valentine’s Day, friend!


    Comment by Kelsey — February 10, 2011 @ 9:16 AM

  3. Oh my gosh those turned out so cute! Way better than what I was picturing. What a sweet little cake for Valentine’s Day! Thanks so much for the shout-out. Now I need to go make some red velvet!


    Comment by Leah — February 10, 2011 @ 9:17 AM

  4. This looks fabulous! I don’t have a jelly roll pan, though. What do you suggest using otherwise?


    amy Reply:

    Thank you Marie! If you don’t have a jelly roll pan, any cookie sheet with a lip will do- you may just need to use a little less batter since you don’t want it to overflow.


    Comment by Marie — February 10, 2011 @ 12:32 PM

  5. Perfect for Valentine’s Day! YUM!


    Comment by Nicole, RD — February 10, 2011 @ 1:34 PM

  6. Super cute! :)


    Comment by Jessica of My Baking Heart — February 10, 2011 @ 1:44 PM

  7. These are beautiful! What a perfect little dessert. I may have to make these for My Valentine!


    Comment by Mother — February 10, 2011 @ 10:26 PM

  8. Thanks a lot for the tip, Amy!


    Comment by Marie — February 13, 2011 @ 10:49 AM

  9. You’re totally on a roll this week! Love all of your V-day treats!! Yum!


    Comment by The Hidden List — February 13, 2011 @ 6:20 PM

  10. They look super cute and super delicious.


    Comment by Eliana — February 13, 2011 @ 9:38 PM

  11. What a great idea. I’ve never thought of baking red velvet cake in a jelly roll pan. I am going to try that next time I have to bring dessert for a large crowd. Who doesn’t love red velvet cake?


    Comment by Jenn@eatcakefordinner — February 13, 2011 @ 10:27 PM

  12. […] Recipe […]

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