Monday, October 20, 2008

Octopus' Garden - Experiments with an 8 Legged Cake

The Twins are two! This glorious event called for a very special cake. If you remember, for their first birthday, I made a Duck Cake. Friends gave us an octopus cake form a few months back, so this time, we went with an under the sea theme giving us the OCTOCAKE.

Like with the Settlers Cake I made for my husband a few weeks ago, I used the Lemon Cake for Lino recipe from Amy Sedaris' Cookbook,I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. The cake baked well with only a small sink hole at the bottom and a few tiny abrasions to the surface. Those small deficiencies did not worry me because the frosting would easily cover any imperfections.

This is where things got a little dicey. I had a lemon buttercream recipe that called for powdered sugar and a white frosting recipe which called for boiling water. I only had regular cane sugar and I was not sure if the other recipe would turn out thick enough for frosting the octopus cake.
Under pressure for time, I made a rash decision. I combined the recipes. I thought maybe the sugar just needed to be lighter so somehow combining it with boiling water would make it work like powdered sugar. I beat the mixture in my Kitchen Aid for several minutes, but as you've probably suspected, no frosting came of it. Instead a thick lemon syrup formed. Feeling I had nothing to lose I added some flour and baking soda and attempted to make a lemon cookie. It was not a crazy idea, either the cookies would come out poorly and I would just be out a little bit of flour or they would be great and we would have an extra batch of cookies for the party. Either way it wasn't much of a risk. Well, it was close but no cigar. The cookies came out pretty tasty, but they wouldn't come off the pan. I was left with a I pile of lemon crumbs and a cookie sheet in need of some sort of solvent to remove the stuck on cookie bits.

It was time to face facts, I needed powdered sugar, but time was tight. I sacrificed a few of the dishes I was going to make and hopped down to the market for the powdered sugar. I left trusty Husband of Food in charge of the wee ones and a few of the cooking related tasks I had left to do other than the cake. He came through for me, like the prince that he is, and I was able to get to making the frosting.

The lemon buttercream (dyed green) came out beautifully. Frosting the octocake was not easy, but I had enough for coverage. I used store bought icing for the face and details, blue icing and coconut for the ocean waves at the base of the cake, Swedish Fish surrounding the bottom, and Hershey's chocolate sauce on the side for the octopus ink. The ink was a big hit. As amateurish as this cake may be, I can say this, it was made with fun, love, and just the right amount of powdered sugar.


Hermine said...

1 cup granulated sugar + 1 tsp. cornstarch processed in a blender (NOT a food processor) = 1 cup powdered sugar

For future reference

Family of Food said...

I knew there was a way. By the way, why not a food processor?

Hermine said...

I think the idea is to process the sugar and corn starch on high speed to incorporate air. The food processor is not a really high speed machine.
By the way, I found this in an old cookbook.

Son of Food said...

I think a blender would pulverize the sugar better than a food processor.

Son of Food said...

Nice lighting, by the way, on the cake.

Family of Food said...

Thanks on the lighting. The frosted window in my kitchen makes a perfect lightbox soft glow backlight to my photos. If you're wondering why my bentos never look like that, it's because I am usually taking the picture at night,in low light,right after I make them , just to make sure I record the bento before the lunches get gobbled up the next day.

Anonymous said...

I thought the cake was gorgeous AND delicious! I especially liked the jelly fish and the ink...great touch!


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