Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How to Make a Totally Awesome 80s Cake - NOT!

A girl that I work with is about the same age as me, and we often reminisce about the cartoons and toys that we enjoyed in the 80s. For her birthday I researched 80s themed cakes and decided on a Rubik's Cube cake. I got the pattern and fondant recipe from a website online. From the pictures, it is obvious that someone had some success with it, however I'm going to offer tips and an analysis on where it might have gone wrong...

The pattern calls for a double cake recipe split into three 9x9 square cake pans. It said you could either use a box mix or start from scratch. The pattern also calls for handmade fondant. I decided since I was making the fondant from scratch that I'd just do a box mix cake. I used two boxes of Duncan Hines yellow cake mix, doubling the recipe accordingly, measuring the batter and equally dividing it between 8x8 square pans. I do not have 9x9 square pans which the recipe called for, and was worried that the cake was going to be too tall because of it. On the contrary, the cake was too short and the sides were too wide, not making it a perfect cube. In fact, I could have used at least another half batch of cake!

When assembling the cake you can either design it to have an "in progress look" with the center cake at a right angle to the top and bottom layers, or you can have all three layers flush to each other. I decided to have it be boring and flush because I didn't want it to get ruined in transit from home to work in the car.

Instead of buying a package of multicolored fondant, I decided to follow the included recipe which calls for mini-marshmallows, water, and confectioner's sugar. Worst idea ever. What a sticky nightmare that was! And then to color the fondant you are instructed to put balls of the creation in baggies and hand knead the color in. The goo was sticking to the inside of the baggies, then I ran out of red coloring (because no matter how much you add, it's still be a shade of pink). I took my 40% off coupon to the craft store and bought a box of fondant pre-stained to red, yellow, blue and green. I still needed my white and orange goo baggies for the project, but least four of the six colors were decent.

The instructions provide you with two ways to get a black background for underneath the fondant squares. At that point, I just settled for some tubs of store-bought chocolate! I gave myself taste and creativity points, but definitely lacked in the presentation category.

If you decide to make one of your own, use an 8x8 pan, cut more off the sides before assembling, and save your 40% off coupons and just buy the fondant. It will cost more but will save you a couple hours of wasted agony and your squares will look better. If you do decide to make your own with marshmallows, challenge someone to solving the puzzle of a real Rubik's Cube while you make it - they will probably successfully finish before you do!


diane said...

I think it looks cute :-)

Maybe you should start practicing for Scott's birthday cake - Castle Greyskull?

agoodwitchtoo said...

I think it looks cute too! Can you cheat by peeling off and re-sticking the fondant to look like you solved it too? Not that I ever did that... ;)

diane said...

P.S. I just tagged you for a meme (very easy to do!)