Supernatural(ly) Red

I got another birthday cake request from a coworker and was eager to take on the challenge! The cake proposition was a black ’67 Chevy Impala from the show Supernatural, for a 16th birthday. The cake flavor of choice- Red Velvet. Since I’m not a huge Red Velvet fan, I don’t typically bake it that often, so I had to do a little research and practice.

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Here is my “test cake.” It’s delightfully RED. I found that using Americolor Gel Color usually gives a great pigment without changing the liquid content of a cake or frosting too much. I was looking for a dense but moist Red Velvet to hold up to all the carving that I knew would have to happen before applying fondant.

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My test cake, frosted with a White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. This was a new recipe as well- but I loved it. The white chocolate firms up better than just the normal cream cheese/butter mix and also adds a subtle tang. I ended up using this recipe for the filling of the cake.

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The recipes are from a book called, “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes.” Check it out! There are recipe excerpts on Amazon. I adapted the White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting slightly, mostly just switching up the technique. (I only have a mini-food processor, so I ended up just using my stand mixer to whip everything together.) I also doubled the recipe to get enough to fill the car cake. Here’s my edited version:

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients (Makes : almost 1 cup)

  • White chocolate containing cocoa butter (3 ounces)
  • Cream cheese, softened but still cool (4 ounces)
  • Unsalted butter, softened but still cool (2 tablespoons)
  • Sour cream (1/2 tablespoon)
  • Almond extract (1/8 teaspoon)

Melt the White Chocolate
Heat the chocolate until almost completely melted. Use a small microwavable bowl, stirring with a silicone spatula every 15 seconds.

Make the Frosting
In a stand mixer, whip together the cream cheese, butter, and sour for a few seconds until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides. Add the cooled melted white chocolate and whip until it is smoothly incorporated. Add the almond extract and whip together.
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I wanted to make a realistic replica of the car, so I researched and printed off some photos (all angles) of the Chevy Impala. Knowing that the car was to feed a minimum of 10 and was for more of a family event, I didn’t want to make it too big. I decided to bake 2- 9×13 pans, cut them along the long edge (hot dog style), and stack them side by side to get the approximate proportion that I was looking for. I then sketched up a side view of the car to use as a template for carving.
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This is a top view of 3 of the cake layers “stacked” horizontally. Each layer is 4.5″x13″. I had 4 layers, but that made the car too wide.

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I traced my side view template onto parchment paper (so that it is slightly transparent), and lined it up with the stacked cake.

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I didn’t get any photos of the carved cake (pre-buttercream), but I basically followed the template, referencing the other photos as I went to get the shape close. Then I crumb coated it with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream (my favorite for building cakes, it’s so smooth).

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A front view of the cake. I tried to match the “V” shape of the grill.

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Another side view.

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I wanted to make the windshield look like it was “embedded” into the car body, so I cut out approximate shapes of the windshield out of grey fondant and placed them where they would be on the car.

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Then, I covered the entire car in black fondant. I used Wilton’s Black Fondant, and I found that it was stiff enough to work with but had a tendency to dry out a little if you didn’t work fast enough. This produced some cracks, especially in oddly shaped areas (like the wheel wells).

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To get the windshield effect, I lightly cut through the top layer of fondant (the black) and revealed the grey fondant. I then peeled back the shape.

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And then did a bunch of detail work of which I didn’t stop to take photos. (Typical)

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With the windshield embedded, I was able to roll out thin ropes of fondant and “line” the edge of the windows where the grey met the black fondant. I painted these with edible silver luster (a new favorite decorating material of mine).

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The grill, bumper, side mirrors, and lights were made in a similar fashion- I shaped the parts out of grey or black fondant and painted them silver. The slight variation in color just depends on what the base fondant color was.

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The wheels were made by my in-house modeling chocolatier. Ok, I made the modeling chocolate (also a new technique that I learned and implemented in this project). I’d been wanting to try it but hadn’t gotten around to it. Now that I know how easy it is, I will incorporate it more in future projects! The hubcaps are grey fondant painted silver. Basically, we employed a series of round cookie cutters and a lot of shaping by hand.

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I used the same thin ropes of fondant for the border of the tail lights. The tail lights were just grey and red fondant squares.

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I built a foam core base and covered it in aluminum foil to help support the base of the car.

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Lastly, I used some modeling chocolate to incorporate Gabby’s love for music (in a music note). She’s into band right now, and it was one way I could think of to incorporate that theme subtly without adding anything to the car.

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Happy Birthday, Gabby!

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Everyday I’m Truff-a-lin’

Cake truffles. I’ve stayed away from these for a little while just because anything bite-sized is pretty labor intensive. Props to those who have the patience to put these together! I decided to try them to bring to a baby shower since they were individual servings and easy to transport. There aren’t too many photos of the process- my hands were usually covered in cake or chocolate ganache, but I was happy with the result.

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There were two flavors: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Truffles (inspired by mini Reese’s cups) and a Raspberry White Chocolate Truffle (Raspberry is always a favorite of mine). I topped the Chocolate PB ones with cut up pieces of the mini Reese’s cups, and the Raspberry ones with sprinkles.

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Here’s a general recipe that I used. I improvised a little, knowing the basic theory behind cake truffles. Instead of using frosting as the binder, I used ganache for the PB ones and a Raspberry Jam for the Raspberry ones. I used ganache for the coating instead of white chocolate or dark chocolate, which would have hardened a little more into a candy shell. I think some of my tweaks were made mostly out of laziness, but it tasted pretty good when all was said and done :).

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Truffles (Makes 12-15)

  • 2-3 cups White or Yellow Cake, already baked
  • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chips or bar)
  • 1/3 c. heavy cream
  • 1-2 TBSP Peanut butter
  • Mini Reeses cups (for topping)

Directions:

Microwave the heavy cream for 30-45 seconds until hot. Add semi-sweet chocolate chips. Let this sit for a minute or two while the cream melts the chocolate chips. Whisk together until smooth. Whisk in the peanut butter a little at a time, making sure the ganache doesn’t seize.

Crumble up the cake into fine crumbs. Pour a little of the ganache into the mixture until the cake crumbs come together and can form a ball. You don’t want this to become too mushy, so work a little ganache in at a time. Reserve at least half of the ganache for coating the truffles.

Form 12-15 cake balls. Put in the freezer to cool down. In the meantime, cool the ganache in the fridge. The consistency should be runny enough to cover a cake ball and coat it evenly.

Coat the balls and place on parchment or wax paper (something non-stick). I used two forks and the “dunk” method- I placed a cake ball in the middle of the ganache bowl, rolled it around, and lifted it with a fork, sliding it onto a cookie sheet. When done, place these back in the fridge or freezer to harden.

I used mini cupcake liners for each cake truffle when I was done.

Raspberry Cake Truffles (Makes 12-15)

  • 2-3 cups White or Yellow Cake, already baked
  • 3 oz white chocolate (chips or bar)
  • 1/3 c. heavy cream
  • 1/4 c. Seedless Raspberry Jam
  • Sprinkles (for topping)

Follow the same directions as above, but instead of using the ganache inside the cake truffle, use the Raspberry Jam as needed to get the right consistency.

I might add that since I used ganache, it was more of a soft, slightly sticky chocolate coating. It never really solidified into a hard candy shell. If you prefer that for easy of transport, then I would use candy melts or just white or dark chocolate for these. I was experimenting and thought the ganache worked fine, but it’s totally up to personal preference. 🙂