Red Velvet Chess Cake

Red Velvet chess cake

I have no link to the South of America, however I've always felt an affinity for their cakes such as the Hummingbird and Red Velvet. I even loved the Red Velvet cake so much as we had it as our wedding cake. It was a really toilsome task to find as most cake makers in Sydney had never even heard of it and there was only one cakemaker that was prepared to make it for me. She even gave us a sample of it and whilst it was lovely tasting, it wasn't quite red enough. She asked me how much redder I wanted it almost disbelievingly, until I told her that I wanted blood red. Thankfully we got our luridly lovely red velvet in the end with striking white icing.

Red Velvet chess cake-chess cutters
Patisse chess cutters

I bought the little chess cutters at the Peters of Kensington sale. I was delighted to see them reduced from $14 to $4 and when the cashier rang them up they came to a princely sum of $2. It was surely meant to be. So I set about a task of baking a red velvet cake and measuring the squares for the fondant as precisely as possible. It didn't turn out as red as I wanted as I used colouring gel for this, perhaps its best to use liquid as I've certainly had a redder than red velvet cake before and the liquid versus gel was the only difference. From looking at the raw cake batter, there was certainly enough red in it.

Red Velvet chess cake

Red velvet cake

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  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 60ml red food coloring or food colouring gel (I used Wilton's Red sans flavour)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 1/2 cups flour-sifted 2-3 times with cocoa below

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 teaspoon bi carb soda

  • 1 tablespoons vinegar


Step 1 - Cream butter; beat in sugar gradually. Add eggs, one at a time; beat well after each addition. Add food colouring

Step 2 - Add salt, flour and cocoa and vanilla alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Sprinkle soda over vinegar and dissolve throughly; pour vinegar over batter. Stir until thoroughly mixed.

Red Velvet chess cake
The vividly hued red cake batter-unfortunately it didn't stay that red!

Step 3 - Bake in a large square cake pan for 45 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius. Cool for 10 mins and then turn out onto cooling tray


  • 1/2 packet Ready made fondant

  • Icing sugar and cocoa

  • Brown colouring gel (or you'd do better to buy chocolate fondant)

  • smooth Jam (not lumpy fruit filled jam)

Halve fondant and add set aside one quarter of the white fondant to colour with brown colouring later. Take white fondant and roll thinly and then measure your tin. If you want to be precise, Chess boards have 64 squares so divide the dimensions into 8 and make ribbons in the correct measurements and from the ribbons, cut squares. I made a 6x6 chess board and only made

Make chess pieces using remaining 1/3 fondant in brown and white. Try and get them as 3-D as possible

Spread jam onto cake surface to adhere fondant and carefully place square and then place chess pieces on top.

Red Velvet chess cake

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