Last Friday night my friend Shelli and I spent our evening constructing a very intricate cake. She’s an amazing artist, and I knew she’d enjoy helping me on this detail-oriented cake. Little did I know this task would keep us up way past our lame dental school bedtime, but we had a great time together and ended up with a pretty cool looking cake. Cool looking — absolutely. Cool tasting — hmmm we’ll get back to you on that one…
Four med students in our class are spending their summer break biking across the country (thus the name “Coast to Coast”) to raise money for a local charity for leukemia research, Lea’s Foundation. They’ve been trying their best to get the whole class involved in the fundraising, and since I haven’t been able to attend a lot of their events, I made them a cake and gave them some cash.
Obviously the most difficult element of this cake was constructing the bicycles out of melted candy melts. I printed out clip art images of bikes, placed them under a piece of wax paper, and used candy melts in piping bags to trace the images (the same technique I used for these cupcakes). We even went for a 3D effect and piped the handlebars separately, attaching them in the opposite plane with melted chocolate. The bikes themselves are attached to the cake via toothpicks, making the cake not 100% edible. As you’ll notice there are only 3 bikes on the cake, despite the fact that there are 4 med students going on the trip. Our beautiful purple bike suffered serious causalities and ended up being left off the cake. RIP purple candy bike, at least you were delicious.
To achieve the rounded shape of this cake, I baked Smitten Kitchen’s yellow cake recipe in a large oven-safe bowl. I believe Deb when she says it’s the best birthday cake recipe, but it just might not be the best cake recipe to be baked in a bowl. Baking in such a deep vessel requires a longer baking time at a slightly lower temperature, and I’m afraid I completely over-cooked the cake. I tasted the extras after leveling the bottom, and the texture was reminiscent of cornbread (although damn good cornbread at that). I’m gonna have to give the recipe another try in a more conventionally-sized baking dish. After seeing Martha’s monkey cake recipe, I knew cakes could be baked in bowls, but maybe special recipes are required. I probably should have just stuck with the carving method I used with the Skittles cake — live and learn!
Even though we were presented with numerous obstacles along the way, we had a great time making the cake and hope it was enjoyed (at least visually) by the Coast-to-Coasters. I have a new found appreciation for those bakers on TV who make such elaborately decorated cakes!
FYI: The road is made of crushed oreos, the letters were also piped with candy melts, and the ocean and US are made of rolled fondant