Patti LaBelle is famous for her incredible voice, but she also has smash hits in the kitchen. Over the past few months, I’ve been lucky enough to make quite of few of her famous recipes—like her fried chicken, shrimp scampi pasta, and her knockout mac and cheese—and they’ve all been deliciously memorable.
With Valentine’s Day coming up I was looking for a dessert to make to celebrate the holiday and wondered if Patti might have something to offer. When I came across her Red Velvet Marble Cake with Boiled Frosting, I just knew I had to give it a try. Here’s how it went.
Get the recipe: Patti LaBelle’s Red Velvet Marble Cake with Boiled Frosting
Ingredients for Patti LaBelle’s Red Velvet Marble Cake
Before you get started, it’s good to know that there are two parts to this recipe. For the cake, you’ll need the following ingredients: Butter (for greasing the pans), all-purpose flour (for dusting), cake flour, baking soda, salt, unsalted butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, buttermilk, natural unsweetened cocoa powder and red food coloring.
For the icing, you’ll need sugar, unbleached all-purpose flour (yes, flour), whole milk, unsalted butter, vanilla extract and red decorating sugar for sprinkling.
How to Make Patti LaBelle’s Red Velvet Marble Cake
To prepare the cake, start by generously greasing the cake pans with softened butter and dusting them with flour to make sure the cakes don’t stick. The recipe calls for two 9-inch baking pans, but I couldn’t locate mine, so I opted to use my bundt pan instead. Preheat your oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, cream together unsalted butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla. Then, alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the butter-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
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Divide the batter into two portions—one half will be the red velvet batter and the other you’ll leave plain. To make the red velvet batter, add the cocoa powder to one portion of the batter and mix to combine, then tint with red food coloring. The amount you use depends on whether you have liquid or gel food coloring and how red you like your red velvet.
To create the marbled look, Patti calls for spooning 1/4 cup of the red batter at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions of your cake pan and 1/4 cup of the plain batter at 3 and 9. Using a butter knife, swirl the batters together to create a marbled look. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. While the cakes cool, prepare the boiled frosting.
To make the frosting, combine sugar and flour in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in whole milk and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens, then let the milk mixture cool completely. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and vanilla extract. Slowly add the cooled milk mixture to the butter mixture, beating until the icing is smooth and creamy.
Frost the cooled cakes with the icing, then sprinkle the cake with red decorating sugar, if you’d like to get festive.
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What I Thought of Patti LaBelle’s Red Velvet Marble Cake
As a red velvet cake fan, I was really excited to give this one a try. One of my favorite cakes made with Patti LaBelle’s recipe? What could be better than that?
I was looking forward to a moist cake with a balanced cocoa flavor and marbled good looks, but what came out of the pan was a little disappointing. To be honest, the result was a bit dry. Not to mention, the typical red velvet taste wasn’t there either. And while the marbling was slightly there, my use of the Bundt pan didn’t make it as prevalent as it should have been.
I’ll be the first to admit that some of my recipe adjustments might be the reason the cake didn’t turn out exactly as promised, namely the fact that I made my own cake flour by mixing flour and cornstarch together and I used a Bundt pan instead of two cake pans. Could changing those two things have affected this cake? Possibly. If I can find my pans and cake flour, maybe I’ll give this another shot since I still have a few days before Valentine’s Day.
What I did appreciate, however, was the delicious boiled frosting. With the rise of buttercream frosting, old-fashioned boiled icing has fallen a bit out of favor, but this recipe makes me think we should bring it back. Sure, it’s more work than buttercream, but that extra time and energy is well worth it. The frosting is sweet—but not too sweet—and lighter and fluffier than buttercream. I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe in mind the next time I make a cake.
Tips for Making Patti LaBelle’s Red Velvet Marble Cake
Do your best to find cake flour. Sometimes, locating cake flour cake can be a little difficult, which was the issue I had when making this cake. You can make your own, as I did, but I think that was one of the reasons my recipe didn’t turn out as I expected. This is the kind of recipe that requires a little pre-planning, so make sure you gather any tricky-to-find ingredients in advance, if possible.
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