Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cake-Baking Encore

What happens when you tell all your colleagues about your incredible sombrero-shaped cake, your boss, who was at that party, vouches for your mad baking skillz, and your workplace holds a Thanksgiving potluck dinner?

You bake a turkey-shaped cake for the potluck, of course!

The baking extravaganza began on Sunday evening. Since I had signed up to bring a chocolate cake, I made cocoa devil's food cake, once again from The Joy of Cooking. Incidentally, the current author of that cookbook, Ethan Becker, lives in East Tennessee, although I'm guessing he doesn't live anywhere near my neighborhood. But I digress...

Here are the most important ingredients in the cake:Here I'm mixing the butter and sugar together:
In these bowls are the dry ingredients (left) and the cocoa, vanilla, and buttermilk (right).
After beating the eggs into the butter and sugar,
I alternated the flour and buttermilk mixtures, until I got this nice batter:Here are the cake rounds before
and after baking.

Fast forward to Monday evening. Now it's time to decorate the cake. I begin by cutting up one of the rounds into pieces that will become a turkey:You can see from this picture how I will assemble it:
Now it's time to make the frosting: quick chocolate frosting, again from The Joy of Cooking. The butter and unsweetened chocolate squares melted together in the microwave.
After that, I added some milk and vanilla to the melted chocolate mixture and sifted in some powdered sugar, resulting in this fudgy concoction:I begin frosting the lovely bird. At first the frosting goes on well, but I was actually dissatisfied with a recipe from The Joy of Cooking for the first time ever. The butter seemed to come unmixed from the frosting, and form pools.
I tried to sop it up with a paper towel, and I got most of it, but it sure was a pain. Next time I make this frosting, I will omit the butter (or at least use much less than is called for in the recipe).
Now it was time to decorate. I had candy corn and Reese's pieces for the occasion:
I used the candy corn to make tailfeathers for the turkey:
and then I made a wing,
an eye, and the waddle from Reese's pieces.
ending up with this outstanding turkey cake:
It was a big hit at the party. My cake was the centerpiece of the dessert table. I received lots of compliments on the cake, but the best compliment was that I didn't have to bring very much of it home with me this evening!


Madeleine said...

That is phenomenal. And tasty-looking, too. You are an artist as well as an applied mathematician.

Also, it looks like there were a couple of little bits of cake left from the cut-up circle. Yum, nibbles for the cook.

You are probably way too advanced to need this idea, but my mom made cute heart shaped cakes with a similar method. One square pan, one circle (with diameter as close as possible to the side-length of the square). Cut circle in half, put the halves against two consecutive sides of the square, frost, and present with point down.

Laura said...

That is terrific!! Looks really yummy. Maybe you can make me a Turkey cake for my defense party... :-) I'm sure I'll feel like a big turkey anyway - ha!

rachel said...

The tail is particularly pretty.

Dennis said...

how long does it take to add the decorations to the tail??? i was going to try to make this for thanksgiving.

Rebecca said...

Dennis, it didn't take me very long at all. Start decorating from the outside edge, and work your way in.

Dennis said...

thanks for the advice =]