Watermelon Cake

Nothing says summer quite like this sweet dessert.

Watermelon Cake
Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners
Active Time:
25 mins
Bake Time:
25 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Refrigerate Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins

Here's to a cake that's as sweet and delicious as it looks. When it comes to a summertime potluck spread, there are certain things we always expect to see on the table: sweet tea, Aunt Grace's famous potato salad, Nanna's pimiento cheese, and that tray stacked high with slices of juicy watermelon wedges. And now there's a new dessert that's bound to create some buzz at family gatherings, birthday celebrations, or Fourth of July barbecues. This red velvet cake is studded with mini chocolate chip "seeds" and topped with a fluffy, not-too-sweet frosting. Now's the time to plan an occasion to serve this festive dessert this summer.


  • Baking spray with flour

  • 2 (15 ¼-oz.) pkg. red velvet cake mix

  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips, plus more for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups salted butter, softened

  • 8 cups powdered sugar

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Red food coloring gel

  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) vodka or water

  • Kelly green food coloring gel

  • Yellow food coloring gel


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 4 (8-inch) round cake pans with baking spray; set aside. Prepare red velvet cake batters together in 1 bowl according to cake mix package directions. Toss together chocolate chips and flour in a small bowl until evenly coated; fold into cake batter. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.

  2. Bake cakes in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, and let cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

  3. Beat butter with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add powdered sugar, beating until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add whipping cream and vanilla, and continue beating until completely incorporated, about 1 minute, 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium-high, and beat mixture until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Spoon 3 cups of the frosting into a medium bowl; stir in enough red food coloring until desired shade of red.

  4. Place 1 cake layer on a cake platter; spread top with 3/4 cup red frosting. Top with a second cake layer; spread top with ¾ cup red frosting. Top with a third cake layer; spread top with ¾ cup red frosting. Top with remaining cake layer; spread top with remaining red frosting, leaving a 1-inch border around top edge. Frost sides and top edge of cake with reserved white frosting. Refrigerate, uncovered, until frosting is firmed, about 30 minutes.

  5. Place 1 tablespoon vodka or water in each of 2 small bowls. Add a small amount of green food coloring to 1 bowl, and a small amount of yellow food coloring to remaining bowl. Using 2 separate pieces of wadded-up paper towel, blot the colors in vertical lines up the sides of the white frosting on cake, creating a watermelon rind pattern. Garnish top center of cake with additional chocolate chips to look like watermelon seeds. Slice and serve.

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