Saturday, August 27, 2011

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or Just Mutant Cake?

For the last two years, my son has asked me to make him a cake. Seems like no big deal, except that he's allergic to dairy products. He didn't want just any cake. He requested a chocolate, Ninja Turtle Cake decorated with either Raphael or Casey Jones. After two years of thinking about it from time to time, I have made a decision. It's his birthday. He will finally have his cake.

I couldn't promise a professional job. In fact, I couldn't promise much of anything except my best effort. Last night, I watched a t.v. programme. Pastry chefs were building cakes. One collapsed. Even they experience failure.

I have researched decorating techniques and I've even had a mini fondant lesson from one of the employees at Bulk Barn. It was then that I decided to avoid fondant. Besides, the accessories alone would have cost me more than the price of a professional tiered wedding cake. I also decided not to use the Ninja Turtle pan which was available for rent. I couldn't see myself dotting an entire cake with little squeezes of icing in a variety of colours. My idea was this. I would make a round cake, make the top look like a pizza and make a Raphael figurine to sit on top...or maybe at the side.

The chocolate cake was the easy part...or so I thought. Real cocoa contains no dairy. Vegetable shortening is a substitute for butter. The 35 minute baking time suggested in the recipe was inaccurate. I used up a box of toothpicks testing the cake which baked for over an hour. I was tired.

As I looked at the cakes, I wished my son had asked for a lunar landing or perhaps a volcano cake. I had created two uneven cratered slabs of carbs, sugar and fat. They smelled good, but they looked like this.

After they cooled, I cut the top off one to even it and used it as the bottom layer. I sliced the other in half and filled both layers with some icing tinted with cocoa. The cake was still crooked.

I created white frosting and covered the whole cake. Then I made a pizza on top....a Ninja Turtle staple....pepperoni, cheese, black olives, green peppers...passable.

Finally, I built Raphael out of marzipan and painted him. He will hopefully remain upright although the toothpick has become my new best friend. I might have to use one to attach him to the cake. I also reinforced his head with a toothpick but noticed his shell appeared to be shrinking and that his body was developing a bit of an incline as the food colouring "paint" dried.

This is what the cake looked like finished. I even transported it to my son's and it remained intact. Despite the fact that hubby said my turtle looks like the Koodo telephone guy, I think my effort is respectable.

The cake was a success and tasted excellent. I have decided I'd like to take a cake decorating course.  Perhaps I can even unlock the mystery of fondant.



  1. Very cool....both cake and mom for doing it.

  2. Thanks Mike. Going to check out cake decorating classes today. I have developed in interest in learning how to do this properly.