Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Puke Green with Pepto Bismol Frosting

That title just isn't how you normally would want to describe a cake, but that is the description Marilyn and her brother ended up with while trying to make a cake for their mom's birthday. This was their inspiration:

The Original Pin
Looks like a really simple method to get that awesome zebra stripe look! Marilyn said, "We had planned to use a classic white and red velvet recipe for the layers and I thought it would be cool to make purple frosting since those three colors go well together. That was just an epic fail of an idea from the start, since we all know that those types of cake are very different from each other."

The Pinstrosity

"Unfortunately, when we were almost done mixing the velvet batter, we realized we didn't have enough red food coloring, so we opted to make it a blue velvet...completely forgetting about the cocoa powder to be added. It turned green. Like, puke green. And the velvet cake was much thicker than the white, so the zebra print layers didn't even work. Half of the cake was green and the other was white; we could barely even see the white." 

"Then of course, the first baked layer completely fell apart when we took it out of the pan. In the end, we decided to use the red food coloring for the frosting, but since there wasn't enough, it turned a really ugly pink. So yeah, that is how the cake turned out."

"We spent four hours on that cake, and we were just cracking up the entire time. 'Hey, happy birthday Mom! Enjoy your Puke Green and White cake with Pepto Bismol frosting.' But it was still quite tasty. We couldn't wait to tell her the story. And of course, she appreciated all our work."

Using a Red Velvet cake in place of a "generic" cake can be iffy. It depends on your recipe or cake mix. Sometimes it is just a light chocolate cake with copious amounts of red food coloring dumped in. Sometimes it's a regular cake someone has dyed red thinking that's all a red velvet cake is. Sometimes it is an entirely different, thick, moist, fluffy cake. Sometimes it has more of the texture of an angel food cake. It varies from recipe to recipe and from box to box. An article on gives this explanation about red velvet cakes:

"Today, red velvet cake gets its coloring from a huge amount of red food coloring dumped in mix, staining the cake a vivid red, but it wasn't always so. Original red velvet cakes got the "velvet" part of their name not because they resembled bright red velvet dresses, but because their texture was so smooth and velvety. Their texture was, in part, influenced by the special ingredients put into the cake. Cake recipes varied, but almost all contained baking soda and either vinegar or buttermilk. Both buttermilk and vinegar are acidic, and anyone who has made a volcano in elementary school knows the copious bubbles that erupt when vinegar (or any acid) is mixed with baking soda. The bubbles fluffed up the cake, making it light and smooth."

"The vinegar and buttermilk didn't just react with the baking soda. They also reacted with the cake's cocoa. Cocoa powder traditionally has anthocyanins; these are compounds that are also found in foods like red cabbage (which also features in many elementary school science projects). Red cabbage leaves can be used as pH indicators, getting redder in the presence of strong acids. It's the anthocyanins that change color in the cabbage, and they do the same in the cocoa, giving it a red finish."
"But not anymore. Most of the cocoa powder on the market is processed with an alkalizing agent — a base. This neutralizes its acidity. It's the reason why a lot of recipes that use cocoa powder specify what kind of cocoa powder they take. The alkalizing agent will change the way the cake responds to baking soda or baking powder, so it will either fall flat or get too fluffy. The agent also darkens the powder, and keeps it from giving off a red tint when mixed with buttermilk or vinegar. So even if you got hold of an old recipe for red velvet cake, you probably wouldn't get the same results your cake-loving ancestors did."
If your red velvet cake and your white cake recipes (or cake mixes) produce cakes with different textures from each other, you will likely have problems with the two cakes mixing weird rather than layering, and, like Marilyn and her brother, you may have problems with the two cakes not sticking to each other and crumbling. 
But...if you are looking for a green cake for Monday (St. Patrick's Day) and you love the flavor of red velvet, give Marilyn's Pinstrosity a velvet cake! How often do you hear us telling you to try out someone's Pinstrosity? Not very often. 


  1. LOVED reading the history of red velvet cake! Thanks so much for that little nugget of information!

  2. Here is the original source of the pin:


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