Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gobble Gobble! (2011)

Grab your knife and fork, this turkey needs carved!
This was my first Tur-cake. I'd perused the web for Thanksgiving desserts and stumbled across what seemed to be a growing craze of cakes shaped liked baked turkeys. What a fabulous idea! I loved it! Now to transform my discovery into an actual cake...

With like most other creative ideas, there's a plethoria of ways to accomplish the same feat. Some people suggested using round cake pans for the body, others used footballs, square pans, rectangle pans, or a combination of different ones to achieve that turkeyish shape. After studying multiple cakes (some good, others not so good), I finally decided on a rectangular pan.
Since getting that turkey shape would require some carving--and I have very limited experience with carving--I figured a rectangular shape would be the best start. Being that it was Thanksgiving, I figured I needed to pick a cake flavor that went with the holiday. What I decided on was a pumpkin spice cake. Yummy!

The body is 3 layers high (with buttercream in the middle). I leveled two layers so they'd stack together well, but left the top layer rounded, to give it more of a realistic shape. After that, I wrapped each layer in plastic wrap and froze them overnight. When I was ready to carve, I took them out of the freezer and stacked them, using buttercream between the layers. I used a paper template that I'd drawn to give me an idea of what to carve off the sides, the rest I just winged. Ha! *Slapping my knee* Winged! Get it?

Ahem, once I'd finished carving the body into a presentable turkey shape, I stuck it back in the freezer while I worked on the wings and legs. I used rice crispie treats for those. They worked pretty good, but I did have to stick the mix in the freezer for a few minutes to get the shapes to stay together. I'm thinking I used too much butter in the mix. Anyway, a little freezer time fixed it right up. I shaped the legs and wings, then stuck them in the freezer while I covered the body with buttercream and fondant. I did find that having the cake a little frozen helped with this.
For the stuffing, I used a poundcake that I cut into little squares, using as many edge pieces as I could to get that toasted look. The veggies and lettuce are made out of fondant. To get that toasty brown color, I mixed brown icing color with a little vodka and painted it on.
Everyone loved it. My sister thought it was a real turkey until she poked it and figured out it was a cake. It's going to be hard to top this next year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mom's Sexy Man-Cake (2011)

Recently, I was charged with coming up with a gag cake after my sister and I decided that our mom needed a man for her birthday. Mom was turning 60 and we were going to throw her a surprise party. Since neither my sister nor I have a supply of extra men lying around to give mom, we figured we'd have to come up with something creative. We’d considered a stripper, but expected having a buff dude in a speedo shaking his stuff in mom’s face would probably give her a heart attack—that and she’d probably kill us afterward.

Being the creative cake decorator that I am, my sister came up with the bright idea to make a man for mom. Needless to say, when you google man-cakes, you get a variety of very inappropriate pictures of the male anatomy depicted in cake. Okay, so when someone says birthday cake, I think about three layers; chocolate, yellow, or white; covered in fondant or buttercream. Maybe a few flowers to pretty it up. Boobs and penises don’t typically come to mind. But hey, I’m up for a challenge.
My husband had a creative suggestion. He thought I should make a male torso with a large penis, stick a candle in the end of the cake-man’s rod, then make mom grab it to blow out the candle. Um, yeah. Mom would NOT do that, and I’m sure some of her church friends wouldn’t appreciate it. Since I had no idea who was coming to this party, I figured I’d have to tone it down a bit. I like the torso idea, but how to make it sexy and not raunchy was a whole other matter.

After quite a bit of Googling, You-Tubing (I'm a tube-a-holic, I need helf), Amazoning, and Flickring, I finally found what I was looking for. Well, at least I had an idea to start with, anyway. Combining mom’s love for yellow roses and chest hair (not that the two have anything to do with each other, mind you), I think I came up with a super hot alternative to X-rated. My sister loved the 80’s chest hair. Hey, making all them little curls took some time!
Mom was embarrassed, but I think she like it. We made her cut the cake and everyone got to eat a piece of mom’s man. She said she was saving the part under the fondant shroud for later, when she was by herself! Imagine that, my mom with a naughty sense of humor.

So how did I get those ripped abs and bulging pecs? I suppose most people would try to carve them out of the cake, but I just haven't attempted enough carving to risk ruining my cake. Plus, I didn't have time to bake more if I screwed them up!

How I built mom's man was I baked 2 rectangle cakes (11 x 14, I think), leveled one (left the other kinda rounded on top for a more realistic torse. I wanted flat abs but not SpongeBob flat!) and stacked them together. I froze them for a bit to stiffen the cake and make it easier to carve. I know, I said no carving of the abs, but I didn't say anything about the body shape. Ha! So I carved out his neck area, shoulders, waist, and hips. When I say carve, I'm talking simple carving away the edges of the cake. I did not touch the surface.

Next, I took the cake I'd just carved off, smashed it up with a little icing to make it the consistency of playdough, then used it to build up the pecs and abs. Pretty clever if I do say so myself. *snicker* Then I stuck the cake back in the freezer for a bit before putting the buttercream on. Covering with fondant was pretty easy. I just used my fingertip to indent to fondant along the pecs and abs, following where I'd already built it up beforehand. Viola! A man-cake is born.