Time: 3-4 hrs (includes 40mins baking time)
So I've decided to include a time thing at the beginning as well as a difficulty, as how long it takes to do these things is something I'm often asked.
Anyway, the latest cake was a striped pajama squid (although it's technically a cuttlefish, hence the title) that I made for my cephalopod obsessed marine biologist friend, Sarah ;)
You will need:
- 1 or 2 chocolate cake(s) baked in a loaf tin (and/or a round tin - the number of cakes will be dependent on how big you want this and how clever you are in using off-cuts from the loaf cake to make the head)
- Marshmallow fondant (mmf)
- White and Dark chocolate (about 1/2 block of white, and a very small quantity of dark)
- A new (and cheap) paintbrush or two
- Yellow food-colouring
- Butter-cream (optional - also it can be coloured with blue food-colouring if you so wish)
- Toasted coconut, or untoasted and shaken with a spoon of cocoa and turmeric.
So I started out by making two chocolate cakes, but in hindsight I really only needed the one. I baked one in a loaf tin, and another in a round tin (recipe was a basic chocolate cake, but you could use any you liked). As I said with the dragon cake, it's much easier if you bake them a day or two in advance and keep them wrapped in gladwrap in the fridge. They're much easier to handle and don't crumble when you try to cut/sculpt them.
So first I cut the cakes to shape, and positioned them on the board how I'd like them. Then I filled them with a butter-cream that was supposed to be blue that turned green, damnit. Because cephalopods have blue blood. Anyway, the next step was to cover the whole thing in marzipan, to protect the cake from leeching moisture into the marshmallow fondant.
Then I covered the whole thing in rolled-out marshmallow fondant (I'd made it a couple of days beforehand, but you could easily do it while the cakes were in the oven) and modeled some into tentacles, eyes and the siphons between the head and mantle. To make the little fringey bits they have, I pressed the mmf on the mantle out flat and snipped it with scissors before rolling it up slightly with a chopstick. I did originally try making the tentacles out of lolly snakes covered with mmf, but they were too chunky and it looked weird so I modeled them out of fondant instead. Siphons were made by rolling a small rectangle out of mmf and wrapping it around my pinkie finger to make a short tube.
Next I made the fins/wings, by shaping them from melted white chocolate on gladwrap, and sticking some bamboo skewers in them so I could secure them in the cake. I did them one at a time, and while the second one was setting I painted on the eyes with yellow food colouring, and began painting on dark chocolate stripes on the head. You could pipe the chocolate onto the body, but for the head with all the weird angles a brush is much easier.
The head was the trickiest bit, but I finally finished it and then stuck on the second fin.
Once all the stripes were on, it finally looked like a PJ squid! But then I wanted to add some sand, so I used a fine dessicated coconut shaken in a bag with a spoon of cocoa and a small amount turmeric (to make it yellow). It worked ok - it certainly had a sand-like texture, and I think the colour turned out well :)
Sarah liked her cake! (I think :P)
...And all that was left was the head :( Poor squid. Tasty though :)
Overall it was actually a surprisingly easy cake to make. Covering it with marzipan definately worked better than not doing that (as for the dragon cake). I probably wouldn't bother with the butter-cream again though - it was done more as a thing to make it bleed when cut than anything else. Yes, we biologists are a weird lot ;)
In a word: Squiddy!