Red Velvet Drip Cake | Only Murders in the Building

Murder, comedy, an unexpected trio of amateur sleuths. Honestly, I love to see it. My Only Murders in the Building red velvet drip cake brings classic flavours with a murderous aesthetic. Reach for those magnifying glasses and let’s go.

About the TV show:

I’m a sucker for a good comedy but it’s one of the hardest genres to get right. Comedy is incredibly subjective; what one person finds funny, another may not find amusing at all. So, when it comes to comedic films and TV shows, I find that the truly good ones are rare in their existence.

Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building is, for me, one of those rare gems. It’s not a sitcom and there isn’t a joke in every other sentence, but it’s definitely funny. A funny mystery crime drama. Seems natural when you’ve got the likes of Martin Short and Steve Martin making up two thirds of the main characters. Selena Gomez provides a slightly different – yet still highly effective  – comedy element which rounds the whole show out.

This unlikely trio front a story about neighbours living in the same New York apartment building, all of whom share a love for true crime podcasts. When they actually find themselves tangled up in a real-life crime, they start their own podcast (aptly named Only Murders in the Building) and investigate it (much to the dismay of the local police). 

True crime podcast fanatics turned amateur sleuths. What could possibly go wrong? 

What I really like about this show, besides the humour and the wonderful chemistry between the main characters, is that it is deceptively clever. Plus, Short and Martin feel like the fun uncles that are trying to innocently befriend Gomez; the cool and artsy young tenant in the building. It makes for such a fun dynamic.

The show is two seasons in, with the third season set for release today! I’m so excited for it, especially considering how the previous season left off. The only trouble is having to wait a week for each episode… I’m not one for marathon watching per say, but these episodes usually end on a cliffhanger.

They certainly know how to leave an audience wanting more.

As well as starring as one of the protagonists, Steve Martin also created the show, alongside John Hoffman. Only Murders in the Building also features a whole host of stand out characters played by the likes of Da’Vine Joy Randalph; Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Adina Verson, Russell G. Jones, Ryan Broussard and Michael Cyril Creighton to name but a few.

Season three also offers us some more star-studded talent in the forms of Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep! 

I really hope Only Murders in the Building continues and we get to enjoy more. Three seasons just wouldn’t feel like enough. If you haven’t seen it, give it a go whilst it’s not as big of a commitment. You can find all available episodes on Hulu and Disney+. Thirty episodes at half an hour long each may not seem like much but they sure do pack a punch.

About the bake:

Seeing as Only Murders in the Building is set in New York City – and the city is as much a character as anything – I chose to make the cake red velvet flavour with a cream cheese frosting. This kind of cake just makes me think of NYC. Plus, the red element fits in perfectly for a bake inspired by a show about true crime podcast lovers.

This is a six-inch red velvet drip cake inspired by a recipe sent into Baking Mischief by a reader. Mine is adapted slightly for a three-layer cake as I wanted some added height in my bake. It’s so deliciously soft that it melts in the mouth, and the cream cheese frosting gives it that extra tanginess.

This sponge takes longer to bake than you may think so keep that in mind and do not open the oven door before the time listed in my recipe below. You risk the cake sponges collapsing if you do.

As I noted in my Onward velvet cake, you can make your own version of buttermilk to go in the sponge, or you can use shop-bought. In this instance, I used shop-bought but either works. Making your own only requires a milk of your choice and lemon juice to sour it. It also requires the same measurement as shop-bought so is easily adaptable.

For the overall look of my red velvet drip cake, I added a broken ‘glass’ effect.

This can be achieved by melting clear boiled sweets/hard candies and breaking the combined piece into shards. I learned this cool method by reading the recipe for Jane’s Patisserie’s Halloween themed cake. It’s a really great effect, so I wanted to try it myself.

You can arrange the ‘glass’ however you like. The glass was topped with a white chocolate ganache that I tinted a blood red. 

The cream cheese buttercream has navy blue food colouring in it, and I painted the windows and characters on the buttercream in orange and white food colouring, in order to replicate the colours on the official poster. The characters running up the stairs and the windows are also inspired by the Only Murders in the Building poster’s quirky art deco design. 

The overall effect is pretty epic. 

Top Tips:

  • As always, avoid over mixing the cake batter so that the best texture is achieved.
  • When making the cream cheese frosting, make sure that both the butter and the cream cheese are at room temperature. If the butter is too warm and the cream cheese too cold, it can be harder to bring the two together smoothly.
  • Chill, chill, chill! This cake needs to be chilled as much as possible once the buttercream has been applied.
  • When painting the cream cheese frosting, do so with a delicate hand. Cream cheese frosting is a lot softer than say an American buttercream. It also sets differently so take extra care when painting on the design.
  • If you don’t like the way your candy shards broke, you can gather them and re-melt them into one piece again. Just keep an eye on the candy in the oven so that it doesn’t burn or change colour due to caremalisation.
  • Get artsy with the decoration! This is your fake crime scene to create.

I love a red velvet fix and this cake hit the spot. It’s an easy cake to make and decorate, but looks really striking. I hope you have fun making this red velvet drip cake and enjoy a slice whilst watching the latest season of Only Murders in the Building!

Happy baking, happy eating!

Ingredients:

Red velvet drip cake:

  • 400g [3 cups] caster sugar
  • 165g [5.75 oz] unsalted butter
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 40g [¼ cup 2 tbsp] cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp extra strong red food colouring
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk of your choice
  • 335 ml [13.5 oz] buttermilk
  • 400g [2½ cups] plain [all-purpose] flour
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda [baking soda]
  • 3 tsp white wine vinegar

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 150g [5.25 oz] unsalted butter  room temperature
  • 150g [1 cup] icing [confectioners] sugar
  • 300g [10.5 oz] full fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Navy blue food colouring  oil based
  • Yellow food colouring  oil based
  • White food colouring  oil based

Red velvet drip cake ganache:

  • 100g [3.5 oz] white chocolate
  • 35ml [1.25 oz] double [heavy] cream
  • Red food colouring

For the ‘broken glass’:

  • 80g [around 15 individual] clear boiled sweets [hard candies]

Serves: 10+

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: 1 hour 

Decorating time: 40 minutes

Method:

Red velvet drip cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C [325°F] or 150°C fan. Grease and line 3 deep 6 inch tins.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat in until fully incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, extra strong red food colouring, milk and vanilla until a paste has formed (this allows the colour to develop properly!).
  5. Beat this cocoa powder mix into the butter, sugar and eggs.
  6. Add half of the flour with half of the buttermilk into your batter and mix well. Add the other halves of the flour and buttermilk and mix in until you see no lumps of flour. 
  7. In a small bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar and watch the two fizz together.
  8. Pour the bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar into the cake batter and mix in until fully incorporated.
  9. Split the batter evenly into the 3 lined tins and bake for 50 – 60 minutes. This will depend on how hot your oven runs. Check after 50 minutes. Do not open the oven door before 50 minutes.
  10. Your cakes will be ready when a skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean and you hear very little to no bubbling or crackling sound when you listen to the cakes.
  11. Once baked, leave to cool in the tins for 10 or so minutes, then transfer upside down to a wire rack to cool completely.

‘Glass’:

  1. Turn your oven up to 200°C [350°F] or 180°C fan. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper/baking parchment. 
  2. Unwrap (if need be) your boiled sweets and lay them on the lined baking tray. Make sure there are small gaps between each sweet so that they have room to melt and spread.
  3. Bake in the oven for around 5 – 8 minutes or until melted together in one slab.
  4. Once melted together, leave to cool and harden slightly. 
  5. When cooled and hard, gently lift the slab and peel from the paper so that it’s released. Either lift the slab a little and drop so that it shatters, or use the end of a rolling pin to tap the centre of the slab so that it breaks into pieces.
  6. Set the baking tray of shards aside for now.
  7. Make your cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting:

  1. Leave the cream cheese for a few moments to thaw a little.
  2. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Spoon in the cream cheese and beat well. You may have a few lumps but they should dissipate after you’ve beaten the mixture for a while. 
  3. Add the vanilla whilst beating.
  4. Add in the navy food colouring and beat in. Do this a little at a time and add more as you go if need be.
  5. Once your cakes are cool, begin building your cake. 
  6. Place the first layer on a plate/cake board/cake stand and smother a generous amount of the frosting over the top. 
  7. Lay the next sponge on the top and repeat. Repeat with the last sponge. 
  8. Smother the entire cake in the cream cheese frosting, using a palette knife to create a pattern if desired. I created my pattern by pulling the tip of my palette knife up in lines around the cake.
  9. Set in the fridge for the time being.

Decoration:

  1. Whilst your cake is chilling, make your ganache. 
  2. Put the white chocolate and double cream into a microwave safe bowl. Melt together in 20 second bursts in the microwave, stirring in between.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted and has fully incorporated into the cream, stir in the red food colouring until you get a blood red colour.
  4. Retrieve your cake from the fridge. Place your shards in and around the cake. 
  5. Drip the ganache over the shards and cake. 
  6. If wanting a ‘blood splatter’, drip a brush in the ganache and hold the brush a short distance from your cake. Pull the brush ends back with your finger so that they spring back at your cake. 
  7. Using a small paint brush, gently dab on the yellow food colouring in the shape of window panes. 
  8. Using another paintbrush and the white food colouring, gently paint on the window frames, steps and the character silhouettes. Cream cheese frosting is very soft so you need to do this in short strokes and with a gentle amount of pressure.
  9. Chill your cake once finished!

This deliciously soft and tangy red velvet drip cake is best murdered within 4 days and should be stored in the fridge, especially in warm weather. For best eating, leave cut slices of cake to get to room temperature before consuming. Enjoy!

Recipe card:

Red Velvet Drip Cake | Only Murders in the Building

Laura – Flavour of the Film
Rich and soft red velvet drip cake with painted cream cheese frosting, white chocolate 'blood' ganache and candy 'broken glass', celebrating Only Murders in the Building.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Decorating time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

Red velvet drip cake:

  • 400 g [3 cups] caster sugar
  • 165 g [5.75 oz] unsalted butter
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 40 g [¼ cup 2 tbsp] cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp extra strong red food colouring
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk of your choice
  • 335 ml [13.5 oz] buttermilk
  • 400 g [2½ cups] plain [all-purpose] flour
  • tsp bicarbonate of soda [baking soda]
  • 3 tsp white wine vinegar

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 150 g [5.25 oz] unsalted butter room temperature
  • 150 g [1 cup] icing [confectioners] sugar
  • 300 g [10.5 oz] full fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Navy blue food colouring oil based
  • Yellow food colouring oil based
  • White food colouring oil based

Ganache:

  • 100 g [3.5 oz] white chocolate
  • 35 ml [1.25 oz] double [heavy] cream
  • Red food colouring

For the ‘broken glass’:

  • 80 g [around 15 individual] clear boiled sweets [hard candies]

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 170°C [325°F] or 150°C fan. Grease and line 3 deep 6 inch tins.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat in until fully incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, extra strong red food colouring, milk and vanilla until a paste has formed (this allows the colour to develop properly!).
  • Beat this cocoa powder mix into the butter, sugar and eggs.
  • Add half of the flour with half of the buttermilk into your batter and mix well. Add the other halves of the flour and buttermilk and mix in until you see no lumps of flour.
  • In a small bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar and watch the two fizz together.
  • Pour the bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar into the cake batter and mix in until fully incorporated.
  • Split the batter evenly into the 3 lined tins and bake for 50 – 60 minutes. This will depend on how hot your oven runs. Check after 50 minutes. Do not open the oven door before 50 minutes.
  • Your cakes will be ready when a skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean and you hear very little to no bubbling or crackling sound when you listen to the cakes.
  • Once baked, leave to cool in the tins for 10 or so minutes, then transfer upside down to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Turn your oven up to 200°C [350°F] or 180°C fan. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper/baking parchment.
  • Unwrap (if need be) your boiled sweets and lay them on the lined baking tray. Make sure there are small gaps between each sweet so that they have room to melt and spread.
  • Bake in the oven for around 5 – 8 minutes or until melted together in one slab.
  • Once melted together, leave to cool and harden slightly.
  • When cooled and hard, gently lift the slab and peel from the paper so that it’s released. Either lift the slab a little and drop so that it shatters, or use the end of a rolling pin to tap the centre of the slab so that it breaks into pieces.
  • Set the baking tray of shards aside for now.
  • Make your cream cheese frosting.
  • Beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Spoon in the cream cheese and beat well. You may have a few lumps but they should dissipate after you’ve beaten the mixture for a while.
  • Add the vanilla whilst beating.
  • Add in the navy food colouring and beat in. Do this a little at a time and add more as you go if need be.
  • Once your cakes are cool, begin building your cake.
  • Place the first layer on a plate/cake board/cake stand and smother a generous amount of the frosting over the top.
  • Lay the next sponge on the top and repeat. Repeat with the last sponge.
  • Smother the entire cake in the cream cheese frosting, using a palette knife to create a pattern if desired. I created my pattern by pulling the tip of my palette knife up in lines around the cake.
  • Set in the fridge for the time being.
  • Whilst your cake is chilling, make your ganache.
  • Put the white chocolate and double cream into a microwave safe bowl. Melt together in 20 second bursts in the microwave, stirring in between.
  • Once the chocolate is melted and has fully incorporated into the cream, stir in the red food colouring until you get a blood red colour.
  • Retrieve your cake from the fridge. Place your shards in and around the cake.
  • Drip the ganache over the shards and cake.
  • If wanting a ‘blood splatter’, drip a brush in the ganache and hold the brush a short distance from your cake. Pull the brush ends back with your finger so that they spring back at your cake.
  • Using a small paint brush, gently dab on the yellow food colouring in the shape of window panes.
  • Using another paintbrush and the white food colouring, gently paint on the window frames, steps and the character silhouettes. Cream cheese frosting is very soft so you need to do this in short strokes and with a gentle amount of pressure.
  • Chill your cake once finished!

Notes

This deliciously soft and tangy red velvet drip cake is best murdered within 4 days and should be stored in the fridge, especially in warm weather. For best eating, leave cut slices of cake to get to room temperature before consuming. Enjoy!
Keyword candy decoration, cream cheese frosting, only murders in the building, red velvet, red velvet cake, red velvet drip cake, white chocolate ganache

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