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.

IMG_1437

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.

IMG_1439

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.

IMG_1441

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.
IMG_1479

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.
IMG_1485

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.

IMG_1486

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

IMG_1488

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).

IMG_1489

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

IMG_1490

Another side view.

IMG_1494

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.

IMG_1496

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).

IMG_1498

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.

IMG_1502

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

IMG_1504

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).

IMG_1505

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.

IMG_1506

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.

IMG_1512

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.

IMG_1509

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

IMG_1516

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.

IMG_1518

Happy Birthday, Gabby!

It’s a race car.

I have a backlog of entries to post, which is both awesome and crummy at the same time. Why? Because it means I’ve been baking a lot more lately, but now it is difficult to continue my chronological orderliness of this blog.  So from now on I am going out of order, basically choosing which posts I feel like writing based on my mood. Oh yeah.

It’s been a while since I posted a cupcake cake… and we just so happened to have celebrated our co-worker’s birthday with a cake at work. Megan, Bri, and I got together to bake a cake for the infamous Mickey M. (I’m not going to give full names to protect the secret identity of our friend. 🙂 For those who know Mickey, you know why. I’ll leave it at that.)

Mickey is huge into racing cars… so we wanted to create something that reflected his hobby. Actually, there’s a funny story behind all of this. We initially wanted to create a replica of his face in cake, with fondant and all, because he’s got a great expressive face, and he’s always saying, “I crack myself up,” and we wanted to make him laugh. However, plans fell through on that one halfway through the baking process and we ended up with a race car instead. Count ’em… 12 photos ahead.

Chocolate cake batter, mixing away:

Using a measuring cup to pour this cake batter makes it much easier for distribution, especially because of the runny consistency:

Baked and cooling:

Arranged in the shape of a race car: (We got our idea from another race car cupcake cake online, (thank you last minute googling), but I didn’t want to put it up here, because our car is extra special in comparison… and we were missing some key elements. So if you don’t know what it’s supposed to look like, you can’t be too critical, right? That’s what I think and so we shall proceed.

We decided on a green car. Here’s a new technique that I was particularly proud of trying: we covered the cupcakes in a layer of frosting, and then colored sugar to give it a clean, matte finish. Plus the frosting doesn’t melt everywhere. Seems simple, right? Not when you only have white sugar and food coloring! We were able to create our own colored sugar by mixing the two in a ziplock baggie. Good tip for those who don’t have colored sugar just layin’ around.

Since we had to transport this puppy to work, I used a shirt box and made it sturdy with a piece of cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil.

Ah, here’s where the creative part set in. We needed to make a person’s face and wanted it to at least resemble Mickey. People make fun of him for having a big head (he’s an excellent sport, did I mention that?) so we used a Ritz cracker shaped like a snowflake. Yeah, I didn’t have round ones. Don’t ask.

Isn’t it a spitting image of him? Yes, Megan printed this reference page from work, and we were being creepy and using it to ensure a resemblance. Of course, this was when we were supposed to create his face. However, it still came in handy. Check out how spot-on that replica is, you can’t even tell it’s a Ritz! Genius. 😉

So the race car is coming together. This is the basic layout, minus the wheels.

Here we added the wheels:

Here’s the completed cake. We piped “HBM” where the fin was supposed to be. (HBM= Happy Birthday Mickey.) We also dipped the wheels in chocolate ganache for that shiny wheel like look. And added a few accessories made out of red fondant and sprinkles. So creative for a last minute change in plans.

He looks soooo happy to be driving! … in our benchmark cake, the driver had a helmet. But, the Ritz cracker wouldn’t allow for that, it was too big. That, and this is way more representative of how Mickey likes to live life on the edge and not wear a helmet. 😉

Happy Birthday Mickey!