Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ben's Birthday Cake

For Ben's 23rd birthday I made him a fish cake. He's a big fan of fly-fishing so I thought this would be perfect. When I first started this project I had no idea how I was going to manage to make a cake look like a fish. After consulting some friends, Sarah had the brilliant idea of using a cake pan that looks like a fish. So I began googling "fish cake pan" and found a whole bunch, but I was in bit of a time crunch so I needed to find a place either in Little Rock or at least close by so it wouldn't take as long to ship. I then googled "cake decorating Little Rock". Of course Hobby Lobby and Michael's came up, and I called them, but all Hobby Lobby had was a tropical fish pan and Michael's didn't have anything. I didn't really want to do a tropical fish, I wanted more of a trout or bass fish. Vanness in Little Rock also came up in the search, but they do not have their own website and I had never heard of them so I called and much to my surprise they had a bass fish cake pan.

I was expecting a metal cake pan, but it turned out to be a plastic one. I had never seen plastic cake pans and had no idea they can go in the oven, but apparently they exist and they come in a wide variety of shapes.

Luckily the cake pan came with instructions. For the fins, eye, and lips I used Wilton's Candy Melts that come in a bag like this. For the fins and lips I used peanut butter flavored and for the eye I used chocolate flavored.

Before I baked the cake, I followed the microwaving instructions on the candy melts bag (very simple), then I poured the melted peanut butter and chocolate into the pan on the designated areas and put it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. The molds should pop out pretty easily. I set the fins and stuff aside and poured the chocolate cake mix into the well-greased pan and put it in the oven to bake.

After letting the cake cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes or so, Ben put the platter I was going to use on top of the pan and flipped it over (I'm always terrified to do this step, so I make Ben do it). At first the cake did not come out of the pan, so I gave it a slight tap and it came out looking perfect!

For the icing, I used the Wilton's paste in moss green, because I thought this would be somewhat close to the color of a bass fish. I iced the sides of the cake with an icing spatula and now it was time to start on the scales. For this, the instructions suggested to use tip #103. I used a gallon sized plastic bag for the icing and started at the tail end of the fish. It's hard to explain how I made the icing look like scales, but I'm going to try. I went line by line and started icing and I would ice a little bit then slightly pick up the icing bag while icing was still coming out and go back over the line a little bit. That is a horrible explanation, but hopefully the picture will better explain it. After icing, I put the fins, eye, and lips on!

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