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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I traced my side view template onto parchment paper (so that it is slightly transparent), and lined it up with the stacked cake.
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).
A front view of the cake. I tried to match the “V” shape of the grill.
Another side view.
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.
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).
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.
And then did a bunch of detail work of which I didn’t stop to take photos. (Typical)
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).
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.
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.
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.
I built a foam core base and covered it in aluminum foil to help support the base of the car.
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.
Happy Birthday, Gabby!