Today’s post comes to me from guest blogger and dear friend Tracey Robinson. Tracey is a “Polymath Mom”, comprised of equal parts athlete, chef, baker, mortgage expert, knitter, crafter, sewist, decorator and organizational whiz. Tracey and family live in Toronto, where I swear she crams 48 hours into every 24. Here’s something she recently ‘whipped up’.
My son, Booker just turned 10 years old. I have enjoyed making his birthday cakes over the years. Some of them have tasted better than they looked. There was the one that fell completely apart coming out of the pan, and I had to use extra icing in an attempt to hide its internal injuries. Others looked better than they tasted. The famous “pancake-cake” I created for his Maple Syrup Festival themed Birthday party… That little bit of genius was made from 7 enormous pancakes stacked up, glued together with butter cream icing, drizzled with a vaguely-maple-flavoured brown gelatin set to look like syrup, and topped with a single butter pat (a lemon-flavoured Starburst Fruit Chews candy). It was beautiful…and horrible. Yuck.
This year, I wanted to make a special cake inspired by his latest obsession: Doctor Who.
To clarify, we are not talking about the Dr. Who of the 70’s with the frizzy hair and the ultra-long scarf, here. This would be the newer BBC version. I never really got into the old Dr. Who, myself. As a kid, I think the music freaked me out a little… still does. Anyway, if you know anything about Dr Who (new or old) you are probably aware that his time machine, “The Tardis” is a London Police phone box.
I have never before attempted a fondant cake, so taking my usual, incredibly naive, oh-how-hard-can-it-be? approach, I decided to give it a try…
Now, I’m going to come clean right off the bat. The cake itself was a cake mix. *gasp* I know. How horrible, right? What an absolute fraud. Yes. Yes, I am. My only defence against this unforgiveable shortcut is this: I had one shot at this thing, and I simply could not afford any cake mishaps (see above). There. I’ve said it. Duncan Hines. Can that be the end of that, now?
Since I was not brave (or foolish) enough to attempt an “upright” phone box, I decided to make it lying down which just makes more sense, anyway. How would one even begin to cut an upright phone box cake?
I started with a 9×13” white cake, which I trimmed of its silly rounded corners and leveled with a cake leveler. If you do not own a cake leveler, you absolutely MUST get one. It’s my favorite thing. There is just no excuse for a “humpy” cake, in my opinion. I cut my leveled cake cross-wise into 3 equal pieces which, once stacked on top of one another, became the perfect shape. I used butter cream icing (mixed with a near toxic amount of blue food coloring) for in between the cake layers. Next up: The fondant. I rolled out the blue fondant and managed to lay it over the entire cake, shaping it carefully around the corners and smoothing it along the way. It is quite forgiving and is a lot like working with Play-Doh. I don’t care how old you get- Play-Doh is just plain fun. Using white fondant squares for the windows and strips of blue fondant for the door and window trims (cut with a pastry cutting wheel) I slowly managed to pieced it together using a little water to adhere everything.
Finally, I sculpted an angel out of white fondant using the bottom of a waffle ice cream cone as a base (for the angel reference, you’ll have to watch Dr. Who. I couldn’t explain it if I wanted to). Lastly, The Tardis would naturally see a little wear and tear travelling through space and time, so I used a small craft brush and some black decorator’s gel to add some scuff marks and “age” it a little.
One thing that I hadn’t considered, was what blue fondant and blue food colouring would do to my hands…I thought that I would have “Smurf-blue” hands for several days, but after some extensive internet research, I found the answer: A paste of baking soda with a few drips of hydrogen peroxide scrubbed into the stains will remove all of the colour! It may leave a white “haze” on the skin, which can be removed with the gentle rub of a nail brush. This little tidbit of information was worth all the effort.
The Tardis was a big hit, judging by the blue-lipped smiles. Oh, and the cake itself? Delicious. Thank-you, Mr. Hines.
As a post-script….