Gluten-Free Red Velvet Jaws Cake

Update: JAWS-SOME!!! This recipe was featured on Offbeat Home & Life! 

August 4th marks the return of Discovery Channel’s popular Shark Week.

I was born the month Jaws hit theaters across the U.S., and it has always been my favorite movie. Throughout my early years, I took great pleasure in drawing sharks, reading marine life books, and obsessively watching National Geographic Shark Specials. My heroes were Ron and Valerie Taylor and Dr. Eugenie Clark. I wished that I didn’t suck so badly at school work, because I wanted to be a marine biologist.


So it’s not really a shock that for my birthday this June, I made myself a gluten-free red velvet Jaws Cake. If you’re entertaining or celebrating in honor of these fascinating underwater creatures this month, here’s how to make one! I’ve also pinned several cute shark party themes and ideas here, which would work well for a Shark Week Party, child’s birthday, or even a wedding, bridal shower, bachelor party, or baby shower. (You can also check out my Shark Watermelon One-Two Punch recipe which was featured on OffBeat Bride in 2011.)

Chomp Chomp,


Cake Materials

  • Red Velvet Gluten-Free Cake Mix (I used this one from Williams Sonoma since it was a gift) OR if you want to make it from scratch, you can try  this recipe From Gluten-Free Betty  or this from Gluten-Free Cooking School. Just make sure it’s pretty moist. (If you need to, add 1-2 tbsp extra oil to make it so.)
  • The ingredients you need for the cake from the above box or recipe
  • One 9″  round cake pan (sides and bottom well-greased)
  • One 9″ rectangular cake pan  (sides and bottom well-greased)
  • 1/2 cup each blackberries or raspberries, and diced and hulled strawberries
  • 1 cup whole strawberries
  • 1 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup and 1 Tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 c brown sugar


Decorating Materials

  • 1-2 tubs White Icing (I like cream cheese flavor with this cake). I think I only used 1 tub for this cake.
  • 1 tube Black decorator icing
  • 4 birthday candles (I loved these black and white ones which I found at Publix)
  • Optional Silvery Sprinkles
  • 1 cardboard tube from roll of paper towels
  • Orange or yellow construction paper
  • Scotch tape
  • Clear yellow or orange Lego or yellow or orange gummy bear
  • Kitchen twine


Preheat oven and mix together cake ingredients. GREASE PANS WELL. Pour half of batter into 9″ round, the other into the 9″ rectangle. Bake as directed.

Meanwhile, in saucepan over medium heat, mix berries, 1/2 cup water, and sugar, mashing and stirring. When berry mixture is bubbling, mix together cornstarch and remaining Tbsp water in a separate container until dissolved, then pour into berry mixture. Stir briskly to thicken, then remove from heat.


Remove pans from oven and let cool for 10-20 minutes. Turn cake pans over onto sturdy, large cutting boards or work surface. Thump cake pan bottoms to ensure cakes come out cleanly (this is why greasing is important).


Ice the round cake. Top one side with the berry compote. Cut in half. Carefully and quickly press the two sides together and move them to your cake platter, standing upright, pressing so that both sides glue together with the icing and compote.

Then, cut each rectangle half  (which are now 2 squares) diagonally, so you have 4 triangles.  Pare them down as needed so that they look proportional to the shark’s body. Add the triangles like so to form the dorsal, tail, and side fins of the shark, using more icing as glue to hold them firmly in place if needed.


Let sit and firm up a bit. While you wait, mix together 2 Tbsp of the black icing into one tub of your white icing until it makes a grey  color.


With a flat, rubber spatula, ice the entire cake, being careful to be gentle  and generous around the bottom and where the layers and fins meet at the top. While icing is still fresh and sticky, sprinkle your silvery gems to create a shark skin-line sheen. Add black dots of decorating icing on either side of the head for eyes.

Black eyes, like a doll's eyes.

Black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.

If you want to add gills, too, go for it. If you’ll be serving the cake that afternoon or evening, spoon a bit of compote around the shark on the platter (not too much or too soon since it might get soggy). This will make it look like it’s swimming in chummy water. You can also decorate the platter with your remaining whole strawberries, hulled and cut in half, to make it look like it’s swimming in bloody waves.


To make the infamous barrels (with transmitter!) from Jaws, wrap 1 tube from paper towel roll with construction paper, tape in 4 places, and cut evenly into 4 sections. (I did 4 because, well, he did get 4 barrels total on him in the movie.)

Tie kitchen twine around the “barrels” and leave 5-7″ of twine leading off. To make the transmitter, tie a lego or gummy bear (with head and legs cut off) to one of the barrels.


Tie the other end of all kitchen twine to 4 candle “harpoons” and stick into Jaws Cake, either according to the shots from the movie (if you’re THAT much of a dork as I am) or at random.

TA-DAAAA! You now have a yummy cake you can sink your teeth into.






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