Friday, February 20, 2015

Surprise Inside Cake - Hidden Road

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Easy. Cake mixes. Canned frosting. Candy Melts & molds. Chocolate rocks and stickers. You can do this!!!

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The little hard hat and truck are made from Candy Melts and edible images. The truck was actually my inspiration for the whole project. Once I saw it the wheels really started turning. In my head of course. That particular chocolate truck wasn't going anywhere but in my tummy.


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The barricade, vest, shovel and sign are stickers that I happened to have for just such an occasion. Edible versions would've been fun also but what a time saver they ended up being.


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The hat was molded from a chocolate mold but I had no pickup truck. Woe was me. I always peek at the seasonal isle of the grocery store and that fateful day, I happened upon a chocolate colored pickup for Valentine's Day by RM Palmer Candy. I thought about using green luster dust to get the company color but then I noticed that the package used to protect the truck from moving around might actually be used as a mold. The plastic used to make it was thinner but it proved to be sturdy enough to mold the two trucks I needed. With careful handling, you could use reuse this mold at least several times. And who doesn't love a mold filled with FREE delicious chocolate for about a dollar? Check them out the next time you find yourself in the holiday isle.

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If you can't find a pickup mold, there are lots of cute construction equipment molds that might suit your theme. Adorable for a child's party.


Even with all of the inspiration that the truck offered, I still had to find a way to hide the road inside. Ever wonder why simple ideas don't occur to you earlier? It was just never a problem that I needed to solve until that day but the solution was SOooo easy!

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The sides and ends of the cake were covered in the leftover crumbs from the cake trimming. Just give them a few pulses in a food processor and they magically turn into delicious chocolate asphalt!

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The rocks are Silver Nugget Choco Rocks. I purchased them at my local party supply store but you can also find them online here.

Let's get this construction project underway shall we?


You'll need some equipment:

2 large loaf pans (to hold one cake mix each)
4 baking nails
Large insulated shiny cookie sheet (optional)
Baking strips (optional)
Food processor or similar
Chocolate molds of choice (optional)
Rolling pin with 1/8" spacing bands or 1/8" dowels
Ruler
Exacto knife or similar

And some ingredients:
Cake
2 Devil's Food cake mixes plus ingredients on box
12 oz package Nestle mini chocolate chips
1 T vanilla
Americolor black gel coloring
1/2 c Hershey's Dark Chocolate syrup OR simple syrup, divided

Frosting & Decorations
2 cans chocolate frosting + 6 T powdered sugar
OR homemade frosting
Candy Melts for modeling chocolate and optional molds
Corn syrup
Oil based candy color for optional molds if needed
Chocolate candy rocks

One day in advance:
Make a small batch of white and black modeling chocolate. You can find the recipe here by my friend and modeling chocolate expert, Jessica Harris, along with helpful tips and tricks. And if you haven't taken any of her Craftsy classes, you're missing out.

You can also make the strips for the exterior and interior road stripes but until your cake is baked and measured, your spacing might be a little off. Just make the long strips and wait to slice them into the stripes until you decorate the cake.

You can also mold the optional decorations in advance or wait until you need them.

Method:
Mix the two cake mixes as directed on package. Add the vanilla, mini chocolate chips and coloring. You can leave the chips out if you'd prefer but they make a nice texture and add interest to the cake.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour or use baking spray to prepare the loaf pans and baking nails. Or line with parchment if you prefer. Place 2 baking nails in the center of each pan.

Divide the batter evenly between the 2 loaf pans. Add baking strips if desired for flatter cake. I also use a shiny insulated cookie sheet under the pans to prevent a thick crust.

Bake at 350F for about 60 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center and pulls away from edges.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Flatten cake tops with a damp paper towel and the bottom of the second pan. Be careful of the baking nails! Repeat for the second pan.

Brush the warm cake with the chocolate syrup or use simple syrup instead. Cool for 15-20 minutes and invert cakes onto parchment paper or a cooling rack.

When cakes are cool to the touch, wrap well in plastic wrap or foil and freeze until firm. Trim the tops of the cakes to 2" height while firm. Reserve the cake scraps.

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Place one of the trimmed and cooled cakes on a cake board, plate or serving tray. Protect the edges with waxed or parchment paper for easy cleanup later on.


Tint the chocolate frosting to black and add 3T of powdered sugar per can to thicken slightly. About 40 drops of Americolor black gel per can gives you a nice black. Frost the top of the cake with an flat, even layer of frosting and set aside.


Knead the modeling chocolate until easy to work with. Roll the white modeling chocolate on a flat surface to 1/8" thickness using spacing bands or your rolling pin or dowels as a guide. Allow to set up slightly then slice into 5 strips about 1/8th inch wide by 1/8th inch thick or deep by the length of your cake. 


Depending on the finished size of your baked and cooled cake, you may need to adjust these measurements. Roll extra strips for the exterior of the cake at this time. I used 5 white and 4 black segments for the inside of my cake and 8 white for the exterior (no black needed for the top since they are just laid on top of the black modeling chocolate road) but do whatever pleases your eye.


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I used the template above to plan what the slice of my cake would be. It was about 4.25 inches square.

Clean the work surface and tools and roll out 4 strips of the black modeling chocolate to 1/8th inch thickness by 1/8th inch wide by the length of the cake.

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Place the strips along the long side of the cake.



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Start with white at the edge and alternate with black until you reach the other side.

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You can see that my spacing was still a little off even with all of the math and measuring but the resulting cake was still perfect for effect.

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Add another thin layer of black frosting on top of the strips.


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The end view should now look something like this. Only better. 'Cuz you're learning from my mistakes. Right?


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Top with the second cake. Frost the entire exterior of the cake with the remaining black frosting.

Place the reserved cake scraps in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to form coarse crumbs. Press the crumbs into the sides and ends of the cake, leaving the top smooth.

Roll out a piece of black modeling chocolate about 1 inch less than the width but as long as the top of your cake for the road. Center on top of the black frosting.

Cut the remaining white strips into about 8 segments of about 3/4th inch long each and space evenly on the black road.

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If you didn't mold your decorations in advance, now's the time. When they are set up, add them around the cake along with the candy rocks and optional stickers. You can personalize a truck, vest or hardhat or print road signs to edible frosting sheets if you'd like.


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Here's a shot of the edible logo on the truck door applied with a tiny dab of corn syrup.

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I applied the same logo to the hat using the same method. One sheet of tiny logos went a LONG way!



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I didn't waste the edible logos on these non-edible toppers but wanted to cover up the John Deere logo. So these were printed on regular paper to go along withe the "Hats off to Granite Employees!" theme.



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Hope you enjoyed this fun but simple and TaStY construction project! Now grab a fork (or a shovel) and get to the real work of devouring your moist delicious creation!

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If you won't be there for the cutting of the cake, be sure to tell the server to slice across the cake to reveal the surprise!

UPDATE:
This plan can be adapted to any letter or number (or entire name if you're that industrious) or a simple oval racetrack. Here is an example of a roadway font by Susanne Fiedler on Dingfontbats. 

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You can download it for free here but you'll need permission to use it commercially. Or you could enlarge any block style font and add the dotted lane lines for a pattern. For a quick alternative, use the jumbo paper mache or chipboard letters or numbers from your local craft store as cake carving guides and then cover or paint them to work into your party decorations.

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This chart on how to carve number cakes may come in handy for some of the cake ideas shown below.

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cakejournal.com

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sugarcraft.com


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geeliciousconfections.com/specialty-carved-cakes

And don't limit the fun to the little ones. This cake by Cake Central user ApelilaRains for a 40 year old could be adapted for a car enthusiast of any age.


Deborah



2 comments:

Online said...

nice

A Dd said...

I read, enjoy and learn from your blog. Thanks! Keep on posting.
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