Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lego Cake!

Remember my piano cake? Well, I've made another foray into shaped cakes. This one was for my friend's son's 5th birthday. He apparently really likes Legos (and really, who can blame him? I used to love those things!), so his party was Lego-themed. Naturally, he needed a Lego-shaped cake. I followed this tutorial from Betty Crocker, and it worked out very well! I used my grandmother's chocolate cake recipe (ever-so-slightly adapted) and a basic American buttercream frosting. I also tried out my Americolor gel food colorings for the first time, and they worked great to get bright, vibrant colors for the frosting!

My Grandmother's Chocolate Cake (slightly adapted)

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Stir to combine, then mix in the sugar. Next, beat in the two eggs. Separately, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Finally, add the baking soda to the boiling water OVER THE BOWL (mixture will foam up), and stir it in just until combined.

Pour the batter into a greased 9x13" pan (I also lined the bottom with parchment paper, just to ensure that there wouldn't be stickage!), and bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool.

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Buttercream (from Martha Stewart)

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 6 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • Gel food coloring

Beat the butter for a few minutes, until nice and creamy. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, alternating with the vanilla and milk, until the desired consistency is achieved. You may need more milk or more powdered sugar. Next, divide the frosting equally into three separate bowls. Take one of those bowls, and transfer half of the frosting from it to a new bowl. You should now have four bowls, two of which contain twice as much frosting as the other two. Add food coloring of your choice to each bowl, and stir to combine.

To assemble cake:

  • 1 9x13" cake
  • 1 batch of Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Buttercream
  • 1 bag jumbo marshmallows

Remove cooled cake from the pan and freeze for an hour. Put it on a clean surface with the long side facing you. Cut it width-wise into three equal rectangles--each should be about 9" x 4". Take one of these rectangles, and cut it in half width-wise, so you have two equal squares. You should now have two rectangles and two squares (do the frosting proportions make sense, now?). The squares will be 4-peg pieces, and the rectangles will be 8-peg pieces.

Frost a thin crumb-coat onto each piece, using a different color for each piece of cake (use the colors you have more of for the rectangular pieces and the colors you have less of for the square pieces). Return the cake pieces to the freezer for another hour to set the crumb coat.

Put the final layer of frosting onto each of the pieces, smoothing it out as much as possible, and reserving a little frosting of each color. Now would be the time to arrange your pieces on a cake board, stacking them (or not) however you like.

Take the bag of jumbo marshmallows, and snip a few in half so that they will be shorter. Spear one on a fork. Using your reserved frosting, frost the top and sides. Carefully transfer it to the cake piece of the same color, and fix up the frosting, if need be. Remember, you need four for the square pieces and eight for the rectangular pieces (assuming they are all unstacked--this will need to be modified if you are stacking pieces). Repeat until you have put sufficient pegs on all the cake pieces. Then, present it to a 5-year-old boy, and make his day! :)

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