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One of my favourite treats growing up was Vachon cakes, which my nonna had in full supply in her pink kitchen cupboards each time we visited. My favourites were the Ah Caramel, the Flaky and the Jos Louis. As Valentine’s Day approached this year, I had visions of red velvet cake … and then I thought to do a twist by adapting it into a large scale Jos Louis. I created this in four steps:

  • For the layers of cake, I used the Joy of Baking’s red velvet cake recipe
  • For the filling, I prepared half a recipe of Vanilla Buttercream Frosting mixed with about 2/3 of a cup store-bought marshmallow fluff. More or less can be added depending on your taste. I find a little extra salt goes a long way with this type of filling, so I doubled the amount. But again, always taste as you go.
  • I iced it with a simple chocolate fudge recipe I found on allrecipes.com, but I modified it by using 4 oz semisweet chocolate and just half a cup of homogenized/whole milk. I wouldn’t recommend this icing for piping/decorating, as it starts off quite runny and begins to set after a few minutes. But it’s perfect for just covering a cake with a silky smooth texture. This recipe yielded more than enough to ice my cake – I had about a cup left over.
  • I finished it off with a “hard” chocolate glaze, also from allrecipes.com. However, the recipe only hardened when I refrigerated my cake. At room temperature it was pretty soft.

The finished cake was pretty …

Image of Jos Louis cake from above

And I was sad but excited to cut into it … Slice of Jos Louis cake

I’d never glazed a cake before, but a video by savannahcustomcakes gave me the instruction I needed to finish my product. One note about this process is that you need a lot of glaze to start with, and a lot of it ends up falling through your wire rack with cake crumbs attached. You can use a sieve to salvage it, but it is a bit painstaking. It’s worth the final result, in my opinion, but you just need to be prepared to invest the time and trouble. The good news is that chocolate glaze freezes well, so it doesn’t have to go to waste. (Is it true that the world is running out of chocolate?)

I made the pink hearts myself using Wilton candy melts and a heart mold, and I sprinkled them before they set with some Valentine’s Day themed decorations. Candy molds are quite easy to use, and Wilton’s provides good directions on the package. I’m not a natural born cake decorator, and candy molds have helped me through a couple of decorating challenges in the past.