Duff Goldman, Martha Stewart, And Me - So Many Recipes, So Little Time... Blog at Allrecipes.com - 108154

So Many Recipes, So Little Time...

Duff Goldman, Martha Stewart, and Me 
Jun. 17, 2009 5:01 am 
Updated: Jun. 29, 2009 11:11 pm
Okay, so I can't quite compare with those names. I won't even claim to be close. They are, however, inspirational when it comes to decorating cakes and throwing parties. For my son's 12th birthday I created two cakes. I used Martha's monkey cake idea, but used a yellow cake mix. I've included a picture, but this blog is not about the monkey cake. The second cake was more of a quest. The penguin cake. This is the blog. Please bear with me - this will be a two-parter since I need more than 8 pictures to really tell the story.

Part I - Baking the Bird

The penguin cake. It was the highlight of my son's birthday party. It was over a week in the making (due, in part to the fondant and in part to my screwing it up.) Here's the skinny on how it all happened.

About a week before the bash, I formed wings, feet, eyes, and a beak out of fondant, carefully sticking skewers into the  wings and beak to help secure them to the cake later on. These parts had to dry. Now about 2 days before assembling the cake, I realized the feet were WAY too big and made a smaller set (that's my disclaimer - the ones in the fondant pic are NOT the ones on the cake.) I used the Marshmallow Fondant recipe from AR. It was my first experience making and using fondant. I originally made it for pig cookies and had a lot left over. The pink was redyed black, white was dyed a really cool penguiny yellow-orange shade, and voila! I decided I wanted one wing curved, just because. So I bent it up while it was still nice and pliable and rested the tip on a crumpled piece of waxed paper. This stuff really is like play-doh. Right down to the part where it starts to crack when it hardens. My oldest son saw that waxed paper the next day and thought it must be a mistake. He removed it and the fondant started cracking as the wing tried to settle. I replaced it, and patched it up with more white fondant a a little water after it was completely dry.

So three days before the party I started to bake the cake. I started with the Wilton Stand-Up Cuddly Bear Pan. I greased the pan with Crisco and floured it. I was using the Chocolate Pound Cake III recipe, which I also used to make the doghouse birthday cake for my youngest son several months back. I know this is a good recipe, but this time it bombed. I opened my buttermilk and found it spoiled. Buttermilk always smells funny, you say? Yes, but it shouldn't be CHUNKY. It isn't even close to expiring. Meanwhile the batter is mixing away in the KA stand mixer. I do the vinegar in milk trick, but don't let it sit quite long enough before dumping it in. After measuring out the batter and filling the pan and baking core, the cake was finally ready for the oven. It smelled amazingly good. When I tried to remove it from the pan, however, things just didn't work out. The bear's head was very dense, like a pound cake should be. The feet (which were at the top during baking) were much lighter. The cake was stuck in several places and fell to pieces. I moved on to plan "B".

For the second attempt I decided to follow the manufacturer's instructions (I know, I know) and go with two mixes combined. I used a chocolate fudge cake mix and a pound cake, dumping the mixes together and adding all the necessary ingredients. I also added 1 TBS of Special Dark Cocoa Powder since the pound cake wasn't chocolate.  After carefully mixing (NOT over-mixing), the batter was carefully dumped into the pan (this time prepared with Crisco baking spray with flour). The extra batter was baked in an 8 inch round pan. This time the batter overflowed, which didn't happen the first time. It's supposed to do that. This time the result was a good one. The bear unmolded beautifully. The whole thing cooled and was tossed into the freezer to make carving easier. Yes, I still had to carve the darn thing.

The following day the ears, feet, and tail were removed, and the face and chest were shaped. Now the bear looked more like a two-part snowman.

Bear Plop - It's supposed to overflow. The first cake did not do this. This is the second attempt.
Photo Detail
Oops! The chocolate pound cake that wasn't.
Photo Detail
Front of Bear
Photo Detail
The Monkey Cake
Photo Detail
Bear Unpanned - Hurray! It worked!!
Photo Detail
Bear Tushy - This photo shows the baking core still in place.
Photo Detail
All the Penguin Parts - Yes, I did make smaller feet.
Photo Detail
The Birthday Boy with BOTH cakes
Photo Detail
Jun. 18, 2009 11:46 am
Beautiful photos! That fondant really is like play-doh, you are right! Like you said, even down to the cracking when it starts to dry. I just made it for the first time yesterday!
Jun. 18, 2009 8:52 pm
I'm thinking of doing a cake for Father's Day for DH. I may do the whole thing in fondant. Should be interesting!
Jun. 29, 2009 11:11 pm
Hi, My son's 1st birthday is in september and he Loves monkeys, Can you tell me how you made your monkey cake, it's amazing!! Thank you! Girlygirlj4@yahoo.com
Click to Change your Profile Picture
Pam Ziegler Lutz

Home Town
Monroeville, Pennsylvania, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2003

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Low Carb, Healthy, Dessert, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Gardening, Fishing, Photography, Reading Books, Music

Subscribe Today!

In Season

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you made a batch lately? They're everybody's favorite.

Spring Salads
Spring Salads

Freshening up the salad menu for spring has never been so delicious.

Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

About Me
I have three teenage sons who are picky eaters (especially the middle one). I try to cook things that they might enjoy trying, but they're not always willing to try new things. My husband started out a picky eater when we met back in 1986, but he's gotten much better and is willing to try ALMOST anything I make. In my spare time I teach second grade. I have introduced my students to cooking and/or new foods over the years.
My favorite things to cook
I love to try all sorts of new recipes, so I don't really have a favorite thing to cook. I enjoy using fresh ingredients from the garden and canning those ingredients to use year-round. I also enjoy baking treats for my second grade class. I'll try almost anything if I think my family will eat it. Of course, I've been known to try a recipe because I want to, whether they'll eat it or not.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I love making the pumpkin pies and other desserts for Thanksgiving. I always like to try one new dessert for each holiday. Baking Christmas cookies is a tradition that goes back as long as I can remember.
My cooking triumphs
I've made some pretty cool cakes for my boys' birthdays. They include a firetruck, baseball, football, and Pokeball. I've also used shaped pans to decorate everything from Barney and Elmo, Power Ranger, Jeff Gordon's #24 racecar, football helmet, a dog and dog house, a monkey, a giant cupcake, and a penguin. Some recent cakes have been a pizza, chef's hat, and Topsy-Turvy (Mad Hatter Cake.) The last one didn't collapse - that was a real triumph! One of my best triumphs has been teaching my boys to cook. They'll never go hungry.
My cooking tragedies
The first time I cooked a turkey I relied on my thermometer to tell when it was done. It wasn't.
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States