Sunday, August 16, 2009

Finding Nemo cake

Owen's Nemo cake 2

The cake was the fun part. I didn’t want to use a bunch of plastic pieces, nor did I want to cover it in fondant. I’m not a fabulous pastry chef, just an interested home chef. So I made a simple layer cake and a few dozen mini-cupcakes for the kids. For the cake I used two mixes I got on sale awhile ago. With each mix I baked two slightly shorter layers and 18 mini-cupcakes. (In retrospect, that number of mini-cupcakes was overkill.) I used a French vanilla mix and a devil’s food mix. To the vanilla cake I added miniature chocolate chips. In the finished cake, I used two vanilla layers and one chocolate layer. For the chocolate cake, I used the “too much chocolate” cake recipe. Once the cakes were baked and cooled, I stacked two vanilla layers and one chocolate layer. In between, I put a chocolate truffle filling. (Easy: a cup of cream and a cup of chocolate chips melted and mixed together in a ganache, sweetened and thickened with enough powdered sugar to make a stiff frosting consistency.) Then I iced the whole thing in a turquoise buttercream, using the same recipe I’ve used before and colored with Wilton icing dyes.

For the decorations, I used fondant. I bought it at JoAnn with a 40% off coupon. I colored half of the 1 pound box with orange dye and mixed it until it was smooth, then rolled it out as thin as I could.
To make two different sized fish, ideally I would have found two different cookie cutters, but I couldn’t find them. I found a one-inch fish cookie cutter and decided to use that. I took it to work, photocopied it, then reduced it to 50% and copied it again. That copy I glued to an index card and cut out, leaving me with a template.

I then cut out 6 big fish and 6 small fish. I let them harden some overnight, then brushed them with Wilton white pearl dust. After that dried, I drew on stripes with decorator icing and eyes with black gel icing.  I placed a big fish and a small fish on the top of the cake and the other five pairs around the sides. In retrospect, the fish were too big and heavy. I had to anchor the big ones on the cake circle. That left me with a pretty big area of orange, rolled out fondant. In a moment of inspiration, I freehand cut out Owen’s name in the fondant and dusted it with pearl dust.

Nemo fish - closeup

I think it turned out pretty well! And it tasted good!

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