Monday, April 7, 2014

Noah's ark cake

I haven't decorated a cake in a long, looooooooong time. It's just so time consuming that I tend to reserve it for special occasions. Which includes any big family events, like a baptism!

So when my cousin asked me to make a Noah's ark inspired cake for her son's baptism, I couldn't say no. Sure, it sucked up my whole Friday/Saturday, but it's always great to get people excited about cake.

And I learned a few new techniques in the process. Like mixing corn syrup + vodka + food coloring to paint the fondant boat. It gave the fondant this sheen that remained even when dried. Fabulous!

I used a cut-up Kiehls box for the "skeleton" of the boat and then realized the rope handles of the bag
were PERFECT for the boat. So while it's all not edible, it's pretty damn cool!
This isn't the first time I've made animals before. You may remember this jungle cake I made a while back...

But I have to admit, other than the lion (which was insanely cute), I think the animals this time around were a bit more adorbs. It's all about the smiley faces and the rosey cheeks. And floppy ears.

Since I knew the decorating would take up so much time, I went with doctored-up box mix cake recipes for the layers. I used this recipe for the chocolate cake (9" layer) and the recipe below for the orange-flavored yellow cake (12" layer).

I hate having to resort to box mixes, but these recipes are pretty damn good in a pinch. But if you are using a box mix, make sure to use your best buttercream frosting. It'll make the world of difference. My newest favorite frosting is German buttercream, which basically tastes like an ice-cream version of buttercream frosting. I could just eat it with a spoon!

And if you like what you see here, just wait another month when I'll be making yet another baby shower cake. Apparently this, this, this, this, and this cake was not enough to have in my portfolio.

Buen Provecho,

Orange (rum zum optional) cake, from The Cake Mix Doctor
I usually make this recipe with a bit of rum (as written) but for this family occasion I replaced the rum with more orange juice. With or without the liquor this cake comes out extremely tender and moist, with a freshness unexpected for a box mix cake!

If you want to torte your cake layers (which I like to do to balance the frosting better with the cake layers), make sure to refrigerate the cakes overnight. This will allow you to slice the cakes in half without them crumbling all over you!


1 package plain yellow cake mix
1 box instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz)
4 large eggs
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup dark rum
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1 TBSP freshly grated orange zest, optional

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare your cake pans (two 9" pans is what I used). Spray with baking spray, lay down a circle of parchment paper (or wax paper) on the bottom, and spray again with baking spray. Set aside.
  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl on low until blended, ~1 minute. Increase speed to medium and mix for another 2 minutes.
  • Pour into prepared pans and smooth batter.
  • Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until cake bounces back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan for a few minutes, then invert onto baking sheet, and allow to sit until completely cool.
  • If cutting the cakes to fill with frosting, cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge for a few hours, or ideally overnight. This will allow the cakes to "set" a bit better and allow you to slide them without making a mess.


Colleen said...

Cute cake!! I definitely don't have the patience to spend 2 days decorating, but your results are amazing as always :)

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