Archive for Recipes

Jolly green dragon

I made a green dragon for a friend’s son, who was turning 6.  At first I was thinking of using my triceratops cake template, then changed my mind since a dragon has a thinner body.

To make the dragon, I baked four 9in. circles.  I cut in half one circle, frosted it, and placed them side by side w/ the cut side down.  I cut another circle in half, laid them on top of each other, and then cut about 1-1 1/2in. off the long side to make a smaller semi-circle.  I frosted these then put them on either side of the of the larger semi-circles to form the body of the dragon.  For the arms, legs, head, and tail of the dragon, I cut the rest of the circles in various shapes.  Since it is too hard to describe in words, I’ve created a template to help visually.

1 – inner body (frost and place side by side)

2 – outer body (frost and place on the outer sides of the inner body)

3 – lower neck

4/4a – arms

5/6 – hind legs

7 – top tail (goes behind the inner body & on top of 9)

8 – head & upper neck

9 – main tail behind body

10 – second tail (connects to the main tail to form a curled tail)

After assembling, I frosted the chocolate cakes w/ green tinted whipped cream frosting.  For the yellow spikes, I used yellow starburst which I shaped using powdered sugar on my fingers, so it wouldn’t stick.  I later realized that the starburst does not hold it’s shape well after being manipulated.  If you decide to use starburst, keep them cold and put them on the cake right before the celebrant blows out the candles.  I put them on before the party started and had to keep “fixing” the bending spikes throughout the party.  It was so frustrating!  I think fondant might be a better choice next time.  Starburst is just to pliable and soft.  Another alternative would be piping colored chocolate to form the spikes.  That might have been better, actually.

For the wings, I initially tried to make a skeleton using rice krispies.  Boy, was I wrong again.  The skeleton wing was just too floppy.  Last minute I used melted chocolate to pipe a wing template I made.  I was so worried about the chocolate breaking apart that I made it really thick.  I probably piped the template 4-5x just to be sure.  You can see from the pix how thick the chocolate wings looked like.

For the wing membrane, I got these Hi-Chews from Cost Plus.  They are the European version of the Starburst.  The flavor was green apple and it had a light green tint.  I added a bit more green coloring the chews so it would show up better in the pix.  I microwaved the chews until they were soft and pliable.  Be careful!  Overheating the chews will melt them completely and they will be extremely HOT to the touch!  I put powdered sugar on a plate and laid the chews on top to prevent it from sticking to the plate.  Also, the powdered sugar helps keep the chews from sticking to your hands and rolling pin.  I rolled out the chews and cut it into the shape of the wings.  I probably used 2-3 packets of the chews for both wings.

I then adhered the membrane to the wings using more chocolate.  The problem w/ the wings being so thick was that it was hard to support upright!  This gave me a lot of problems trying to keep the wings upright during the party.  I’m not sure what to use next time….maybe chocolate again, but only 2-3x piping so the skeleton is thinner?

I piped more chocolate for the toenails, eyes, and nose.

Here is the dragon w/ the spikes only and no wings.  My son told me it looked like more like a lizard.

And here is the lizard w/ wings, in an attempt to make it look like a dragon.

Yo quiero taco cake!

A friend invited us over for a taco party, so I decided to make 2 taco cakes for the occasion.

To make the tacos, I baked two 9″ circle chocolate cakes.  I stacked the cakes, frosting in between, and then cut the stacked cakes in half.  I laid the flat side of the cut cakes on a plate so the curved, side of the cake was facing up.

For the various fixin’s I made the following:

– ground beef:  crushed chocolate teddy grahams mixed with chocolate frosting

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– shredded lettuce:  rolled green fruit slice, cut in to thin strips

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– cheddar cheese:  rolled orange starburst, cut into thin strips

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– tomatoes:  chopped up red fruit slices

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– sour cream:  whipped cream

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– corn tortilla:  whipped cream tinted yellow, brown, and orange

For assembly, I put the ground beef from the bottom of the cake to 1/3 of the way up.  I spread the sour cream on the rest of the curved portion of the cake, sprinkled the shredded lettuce followed by the shredded cheese, and then topped it with the tomatoes.

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I then frosted the sides of the cake carefully with the tinted frosting, piping the edges to give it a more defined and cleaner look.

Here they are ready for sampling.

Tangled tower cake

For my niece’s 3rd birthday party, I was asked to make a Tangled Tower cake.  My niece had apparently watched the movie Tangled and really liked it.

I decided to document the cake making process as I liked what I had done with the R2D2 cake.  Note that I’m sporadic in doing this.  It really is a function of how much time I have to complete the project.  If I’m rushing and don’t have a lot of time, I probably won’t have pictures of the cake in progress.  😦  I’ll try to do better next time!

For the tower, I baked carrot cake in 3 tomato cans, one 6×3 in. circle, and 1 mini-pie tin.  To bake the cakes in the tomato cans, I sprayed the cleaned/washed tomato cans with Pam, lined them with parchment paper, and then sprayed the inside of the parchment paper again with Pam.  I filled the cans up to 3/4 full and baked them until the toothpick comes out clean.

I stacked the cakes baked in the cans, putting a small circle cake board between each later to help support the cakes from the weight.  I used bamboo skewers in between each layer to help support the cakes, so they would not be compressed.  This was the stacking order of the cakes:  the 3 tomato can cakes, 6×3 in. circle cake, and then the mini pie tin cake.  Here’s what it looked like before frosting:

To make the entryway/balcony for Rapunzel to sit on, I cut out a rectangular portion of the circle cake where I would place part of the roofed balcony, as below:

To make the balcony, I used graham crackers.  Looking back, that was probably not the best choice as the graham crackers absorb moisture over time and crack/break/fall apart easily.  In retrospect, I would have used piped chocolate or rice krispies or candy bars.

I cut the graham crackers so that it would fit my cut out and protrude from the cake far out enough so that Rapunzel could sit on it and dangle her hair.  To make the balcony, I cut the crackers to make a little house, using melted chocolate to glue them in place.  To add stability to the balcony, I shoved a piece of it under the cake to help keep from falling off.  It probably would have turned out alright if I had placed the graham cracker balcony at the end and not at the beginning of the project.  However, I was thinking I didn’t want to mangle the decorated cake by lifting it up and shoving in the graham cracker balcony at the end, but now I know better.  Here is what it looked like before it broke and fell off during our car ride to the party!  😦

Don’t worry, I was able to salvage the balcony by supporting it with bamboo skewers and 3 playing cards cut to size, washed, and wrapped in plastic wrap.

To finish off the decorating, I used grey frosting to pipe “stone blocks” all around the 3 tomato can cakes.  This was time consuming and probably took a good 15-20min. with my novice skills.  To add some color, I piped in vines, leaves, and flowers all along the stone wall.  For the “house” looking section, I frosted it white and decorated it like a swiss-style chalet using chocolate frosting.  For the roof, I used a large waffle cone, cut evenly at the base, and 1 sugar cone, cut to a smaller size.  I used purple frosting to coat the roof, but it kind of ended up looking like a tree instead of a roof!  I think it’s the tip I used.  I’ll use a flat tip instead of a circle tip next time.  I finished off the balcony by coating it with chocolate frosting.  Here is the cake, including the toy figures from the movie (can you find Pascal?):

Here is a close up of the cake:

Making a Tricertops cake

Okay, sorry for the delay on this…  Had to think back exactly what I did and what I used to make this cake as it’s been more than 2 years now!  🙂

For the body, I think I used three or four 9″ round pans, cutting the circles at varying sized semi-circles.  For the head I used 1/2 of an egg shaped pan.  For the legs, I used the larger crushed tomato cans, but not the largest (you will need 4).  After baking the cakes, cool to room temp., wrap with plastic wrap, and then cool in the fridge for easier handling and cutting.

Using three 9″ round pans fed more than 75 or so guests with plenty of leftovers.

1.  Take one 9″ round (do not cut off the top of the cake to make it flat – this will be the neck and butt of the tricertops) and cut it 2/3 length-wise.  So for a 9″ round, cut it in at about the 6″ mark from the top of the cake, to make 2 semi-circles (one small and the other big).  I think I just eyeballed it for the cake I made.  (See black line in Fig. 1  below for rough cut location)

2. Take the second 9″ round and this time cut off the top of the cake to make it flat on both sides.  Take the smaller semi-circle from #1 and place it on top of the 9″ round cake to align w/ the sides of the cake.  Cut lengthwise about 3/4″ from the smaller semi-circle (it will be cut length-wise between the half-way point of the cake and the 3″ semi-circle cake).  The purpose of doing this is to stagger the size of the body to a smooth transition.  (See red line in Fig. 1 below for rough cut location)

3.  Take the third 9″ round, cut off the top of the cake to make it flat on both sides, and then cut the cake in 1/2 (2 equal portions).  (See green line in Fig. 1 below for rough cut location).

4.  Optional – If you are having a really big party and want to incorporate more cake, take a fourth 9″ round, cut off the top to make it flat on both sides, and then cut the cake in 1/2 as in step #3 above.  (See green line in Fig. 1 below for rough cut location).

Fig. 1 – Cutting locations for round cakes to get varying semi-circle sizes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Stack the semi-circles with the cut side down in order of height, starting w/ the largest semi-circle from step #1 (cake piece #1 in Fig. 2 below), followed by the 2nd largest semi-circle from step #2 (cake piece #3 in Fig. 2 below).  Glue the 2 cakes together using frosting.  Remember to place the flat sides of the cake side-by-side.  The larger semi-circle should have a “puffed” out side since the top of the round cake was not cut off.  This should be facing out and the flat side should be facing the other semi-circle.  Place 1/2 of the round (cake piece #5 in Fig. 2 below) next and frost in between each layer.  Do this until you have used up all of the semi-circles.  If you are doing the optional step #4, then you will place cake  pieces #5, 6, 7, 8 and then #4 and #2, lastly.  (Note:  Please feel free to rearrange the cakes to make the shape of the body.  I’m going by memory and it may not be the best, so if you want to rearrange the semi-circles to make it look more like a body, then do so!  😀 ).

Fig. 2 – Cake pieces for stacking to make the body

Place the cake pieces in order of:  1, 3, 5, 6, 4, 2 or 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 4, 2 for a bigger cake.

 

 

6.  Crumb coat the body (i.e., frost with thin layer of frosting to capture all the crumbs).  Put fridge in the coolest setting and place body in fridge for as long as you can.  You will want the body very firm for the head, which will be skewered into the body.

7.  For the head, use 1/2 of an egg shaped pan.  The side touching the pan will be the face of the Triceratops.  Crumb coat and cool in the fridge.  Once crumb coat has set, frost the head with the desired color (matching the color of the body – I used leaf green and moss green colors to get the green color of my triceratops).

8.  Measure the body length and width and cut out cake board #1 to that size or slightly bigger.  Cover the cake board with cake foil.  Like the Firetruck cake, I used toy blocks to elevate my Triceratops body.  Find a larger cake board #2 and wrap in cake foil.  Use board books or toy blocks and wrap in foil.  Tape the toy blocks or board books under cake board #1.  Make sure it is very secure and make sure you have spaced out the toy blocks/board books so it supports the body of the Triceratops cake very well.  Tape and secure very well, cake board #1 to cake board #2.

9.  Place the Triceratops cake body on top of the cake board #1.  Use a large spatula on either end.  You may need help here to spot the cake so it does not fall in the process of transferring.

10.  Place a cake baked from the tomato sauce can next to the body.  Sculpt the legs so that it blends in w/ the body.  Place the remaining 3 cakes backed from the tomato sauce cans next to the other corners of the body.  Secure the legs to the body using bamboo skewers.  Crumb coat all four legs and put back in fridge to set.  Note:  When baking cakes in tomato cans, wash cans thoroughly, dry, line w/ parchment paper, spray w/ Pam oil or baking spray, and bake.  This makes it easier to remove the cakes after baking.

11.  While Triceratops is “chilling” in the fridge, get started on the rice krispies horns, crest, and tail.  Use the rice krispies directions.  The only difference I would like to add is to cook the marshmallows a little bit longer from when then melt.  If you make the rice krispies treats soon after the marshmallows melt, the treats will be very soft and may not hold their shape.  I found that by cooking the marshmallows a bit longer, the treats are a bit harder and can retain their shape better.

12.  Coat your hands with canola oil and shape the treats into the horns.  Place the shaped treats onto wax paper.  For the crest, I pressed the treats down on wax paper to compress them and used a cutting board to flatten them out.  I shaped the tips of the crest w/ my hands, but another option would be to cut out triangles.  Why didn’t I think of that when I was doing it!  It was probably 3am in the morning when I was making mine and wasn’t thinking clearly.  Shape the tail as you would the horn, but longer.

13.  Do the final frosting on the body and leg of the Triceratops.  Take the head, holding it underneath, where there is no frosting.  Place the head on the shorter or smaller side of the body.  The head should be somewhat above the body so the head is slightly supported by the body.  Don’t use the skewers to try to support the head on it’s own!  The head will eventually fall of the cake!  Use part of the body to support the head.  Use the bamboo skewers to keep the head in place.  I don’t remember how many skewers I used for the head, but I know I used a lot.  I placed the skewers at different angles to make sure the head is very secure.  If you are transporting the cake (as I did), this step is very important.  If it wobbles, add more skewers to give it more support.

14.  Touch up the frosting on the cake if it was mangled with the head placement and skewering process.  Add white frosting for the eyes, nose, and toes.  Feel free to use any frosting color you like.  I think I was planning on using gray, but ran out of time, so just used white.

16.  Use the Cocoa melts from Wilton for the eyes and regular chocolate chips for the nose.

17.  I assembled the horns, crest, and tail at the party because I was paranoid about transportation.  You can do it ahead of time if you like.  If you want to wait like I did, prep the horns and tail by skewering them.  Make sure you leave enough of the skewer showing so that it can attach to the head and the body securely.  For the crest, I cut a big notch for the neck or back of the head of the Triceratops and just placed on.  There was no way for me to raise it up as my rice krispies were too soft.  If you make them hard like I mentioned above, that should be no problem for you!

Good luck and let me know how it goes!  Please send me a pix as I’d love to see it!

Frazi (frazifrazi@gmail.com)

 

 

 

 

Fire Truck Cake Directions Part I

Hi All,

I finally had time to do this!  Thanks for your patience.  Part I refers to the size of the cake.  These directions will utilize two 9×13 pans and can easily feed 24-30 people depending on how big the serving size.  I would recommend doing a trial run first if it is for a special occasion.  I tried this for the first time for a friend’s birthday party and it took a lot of time because I was guessing at how to cut the cakes without making mistakes!

Bake two 9×13 pans of your favorite cake recipe.  Bear in mind the best kind of cake to use is a somewhat denser type cake.  The softer the cake, the harder to cut, shape, and stack.  It will also have more crumbs.  After the cakes have cooled at room temperature, wrap them in plastic wrap well and cool for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.  The plastic wrap will help retain the moisture of the cake and cooling in the refrigerator will make it easier to cut it into shapes.  One word of caution, since cake recipes vary, you may need to do a 3 stack to obtain the height of the fire truck cake.  One thing I have done in the past (for other cakes) is make 3 recipes and split between the two 9×13 cake pans.  This will feed more people (~50-60) and will probably require only 2 layers to make the fire truck.  The following recipe is for 2 cake recipes, hence 3 layers of cake.

1.  Slice the tops of the cakes to flatten them and make them even

2.  Cut off the hard edges to straighten out the edges (this is if you have a typical 9×13 pan where the edges flare up and outwards).  If you have a cake pan with straight edges, you can skip this part.  With my cake pan, I end up with an 11.5″ x 8″ rectangle.  Note:  It might be easier to stack the 2 cakes before slicing off the edges to make sure they are “sized” the same or close to it.

3.  With the cakes stacked, cut 4.5″ from the 8″ side to form a 4.5″x8″ block.  Repeat so you have 2 blocks.

4.  Frost between the stack of three 4.5″x8″ cakes.  Cut the 4th 4.5″x8″ cake piece into two equal pieces (sized 4.5″x4″).  Frost between the stack of the two pieces.

5.  You should have two 2.75″x8″ pieces left.  Cut one of the pieces into two equal pieces (sized 2.75″x4″).  Stack one piece on top of the 4.5″x4″, aligning the edges.  You will need to cut the other 2.75″x4″ piece to fill in the “missing” section of the 3rd layer (should be 1.75″x4″).  So, you should have one 4.5″x8″ stack of 3 cakes and one 4.5″x4″ stack of 3 cakes, where the last cake layer is 2.75″x4″ plus 1.75″x4″.  These 2 blocks of cake should be the same height.  Try your best to frost in between each layer evenly so they are the same height.

6.  Trim down the last 2.75″x8″ piece to 1.25″x8″ and then cut it in half to form two 1.25″x4″ pieces.  Stack the 2 layers and frost in between.

7.  For the cake board, you can do as you wish, but I wanted my firetruck to “levitate” on the wheels, so I cut a cake board into a 4.5″x13.5″ rectangle.  Wrap the cake board with cake foil.  Realize though that it is harder to frost the outside of the cake with a really small rectangle.  It can and will get messy!

8.  Place the cake pieces on the cake board.  The front of the firetruck will be the 4.5″x4″ piece, where the window is the 4.5″ side.  Then place the 1.25″x4″ cake block behind it, followed by the 4.5″x8″ block.

9.  At a slant, trim from the top of the firetruck front (maybe 0.5″ to 1″ from the edge down to 1/2 the cake height.  You will need to use your judgement here because I don’t have a cake to experiment with me right now, so I’m just visualizing.  You are doing this to form the window of the firetruck.  The portion you trim off should be like a triangle.  You can refer to the picture attached to see how I trimmed the window.

10.  If the firetruck looks a bit unstable, use skewers to stabilize it.  Pound the skewers in with a hammer down to the cake board for stability and so the parts don’t move around during handling or transport.  How many you use will depend on how unstable your cake is.  The denser the cake, the more stable it will be.  The taller the cake, the more unstable it will be.  The flatter or more even the cake you cut, the more stable it will be.  Cut the tops of the skewers with clean pliers as close to the top of the cake as possible, so it doesn’t stick out during frosting.

11.  Color your frosting depending on how you would like your firetruck to look like.  I used different coloring schemes for the 2 firetrucks I have made (check my archives).  Frost the cake and decorate with different colored frosting lines to give your firetruck personality.

Here are the directions for the firetruck “accessories”.  I would do this 1-2 days in advance because it is time consuming:

1.  Make a ladder template using a 12″ ruler.  Draw 2 parallel lines, 10″ long and spaced 1.5″ apart.  Then draw straight lines from one end of the 10″ line to the other to form the rungs of the ladder (~1.25″-1.5″ apart)

2.  Make the ladder supports by drawing 2 parallel lines, 3″-3.5″ long and spaced 2″-2.5″ apart.  My lengths are not exact because I’m trying to do this from memory (I my drawings of my previous templates!).  Just make sure the width of the ladder you drew in #1 will fit into the width of the parallel lines you are drawing now.  At the center of the parallel lines you drew, draw a line to connect to form an H.  The ladder will sit on this H for support

3.  Make the side ladders by doing the same as #1 but in smaller dimension.  Draw 2 parallel lines 6″ in length and spaced 0.75″-1″ apart.  Draw lines to connect the 2 parallel lines to form the ladder rungs.

4.  Cover your template with wax paper.  Melt 1-2 bags of white chocolate and put in a piping bag.  Outline the ladders and H support using the white chocolate.  Wait until the white chocolate hardens a bit and then pipe more white chocolate above it and on the sides to “strengthen” the ladder.  The first time I did this, the ladder broke, so I decided to re-pipe after the 1st piping “set” to add more strength to the ladder.  Repeat as many times as you see fit, but do not let the chocolate “run” way outside of your lines.  If you do, the ladder might not fit into the H support.  This happened to me a couple of times doing this!

5.  Remove the ladders and H support carefully from the wax paper when it is fully “set”.  You can pop it into the fridge to make sure before you remove it from the wax paper.  Repeat #4 again (minus the H support) so you have 2 sets of each.  You can repeat for a 3rd set in case your ladders are fragile and they break with handling.  (If yours keep breaking and you are getting frustrated, you can use pretzel sticks.  I saw some fire truck cakes using this, too.)

6.  Once you have 2 sets, remove the 2nd set from the wax paper and repeat only with the large ladder.  Pipe 6-8 thick lines ~1″ long.  You will use these to hang ladders on the side of the fire truck.  And to hold the bottom of the large ladder on top of the fire truck in place.  Make sure they are pretty thick so they do not break when you pierce it into the cake.  You will need only 6, but an extra 2 never hurts, in case they do break.  Remove from wax paper and set aside.

7.  To make the large ladder atop the fire truck cake, take 1 ladder and lie it flat on wax paper.  Take another ladder and vertically place it on one side of the ladder lying flat.  Take the melted white chocolate and “glue” the 2 ladders together on their sides.  You will need to “glue” on the outside and inside of the sides to make sure they adhere very well together.  Make sure the chocolate has “set” and is stable before you let go.  If it is not stable, pipe more white chocolate.  Repeat on the other side of the ladder lying flat with the 3rd ladder positioned vertically on its side.

8.  For this smaller fire truck, I used thin mint cookies for the wheels.  Draw circles on the inside of the thin mint cookies to decorate the fire truck wheels.

Assembling the Fire Truck Cake:

1.  Once you have finished frosting and decorating the cake, place the H support on top of the front of the fire truck.  Place the large ladder through it so it is supported by the rung.  Gently place the other side of the ladder on the back of the fire truck and take 2 of the 1″ white chocolate lines to secure the end of the ladder.

2.  Take 2 of the 1″ white chocolate lines and place on the side of the back of the fire truck to hold the smaller ladders.  Do this on both sides of the truck.

3.  Take a larger cake board and wrap with cake foil (size of cake board depends on you, but make sure it is larger than the fire truck cake).  Use oreo cookies or wooden blocks to “levitate” the fire truck cake on top of the larger cake board.  The fire truck cake will slide off the cookies or wooden block if you lift and try to move the larger cake board, so do this as final assembly…when you have chosen the final destination of the cake.

4.  Place wheels alongside the fire truck.  You can press them gently on the side of the cake so they don’t fall or move around.  Use jolly ranchers for the sirens and lifesavers for the headlights.

Please send me a picture of your fire truck cake when you make it!  And if you post it on the web, please be so kind as to refer to my blog.

Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

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