Saturday, May 16, 2009

The life cycle of a yellow dinosaur cake

Once upon a time there was a woman that had some sense of sanity, that's gone now. That woman would be me. About 4 months ago Valerie, my Goddaughter, requested a dinosaur cake for her birthday. Not just any dinosaur cake, but a yellow dinosaur cake. This is the story of that cake.

Month one, contemplate the many ways of creating a yellow dinosaur cake. 3D solution comes to mind, rejected as ridiculous.

Month two, contemplation continues. 2D solution formulated, 3D version continues to inject itself into the forefront of thought.

Month three, out damn spot. 3D idea not cooperating.

Month four, give into idea, acknowledge plans in back of head, begin formulating exactly how to achieve the vision.

Week of May 11th:
Collect all ingredients. The list was impressive, so I thought I'd share.
25 cups of flour, approximately 6lbs
22.5 tsp Baking Powder
7 tsp Salt
38 sticks of butter (yes, you read that right)
15.75 cups Granulated Sugar
20 cups Powdered Sugar (approximately 6 lbs)
17 tbsp Vanilla Extract
13.5 cups Whole Milk
16 tbsp Heavy Cream
18 Large Eggs
5 lbs Fondant
and a partridge in a pear tree (just checking to see if you're still reading.)

All of these were used over the course of 3 days to make nine 10x13 cakes which were then stacked using buttercream in between the layers to make one very large cake. The challenge here was using a very old, inconsistent oven. The cakes go in, get rotated halfway through, then come out. During this process I would check the thermometer in the oven and I was getting readings ranging from 300 degrees F to 360 (it was supposed to be 350 throughout.) This meant that I got 2 cakes which seemed to come out fine, 4 which were underdone in the middle (and rather dense), and 3 that were a bit overdone, but not too bad. Despite all this, the easy part was done.

Once I had them stacked, I began the carving. It was kind of like giving yourself a haircut. A little more off this side, oops, now a little more off that side. Why is one foot the size of mine, and the other 3 are the size of a 9 month old? How exactly do you carve a curving tail? I ended up with something that looked more like lizard roadkill than a dinosaur. Perhaps this was just because it didn't even come close to the picture in my head.

Once it was carved, it had to be coated with buttercream so the fondant would stick. Then the kneading of color into the fondant, rolling of the fondant, and application commenced. This process went okay, only created 2 holes, and sort of patched those. Details were added and the whole thing was slipped into my refridgerator on the wonderful board that Andrea got for this purpose (acquisition was not easy.)

Final stats:
Wt. of cake before carving - 32 lbs
Wt. of completed cake - 30lbs
Happiness of one 3 year old - total.

Labels: , ,


At 17 May, 2009 11:52, Blogger Megan said...

That is brilliant. You're the best godmother ever!

At 27 May, 2009 14:12, Blogger wen said...

OMG, you did NOT make a 32 lb cake. How much does Val even weigh? Better not start a precedent of one pound of cake per pound of kid, or you'll be in trouble when she's 16. ;)

Seriously, though, it looks amazing. You rock.

At 28 May, 2009 02:17, Blogger snarfdog said...

Thanks Megan and Wen. Val actually weighs 29lbs. but she's 3 years old, so 29 + 3 = 32. ;)

At 30 May, 2009 10:44, Blogger Mama Jen said...

It was a truly awesome cake, Susan. And I thoroughly enjoyed reading about its life cycle. I'd also like to report that it held up remarkably well as leftovers... we enjoyed it for several days after the party (although I will admit we did discard the fondant). You have inspired me to attempt my first 3D cake for Desi's 2nd birthday in October!


Post a Comment

<< Home