Calvin & Hobbes "Snowman House of Horror"
(+5 skill points -> 205/400)
Probably the most hilarious cake I've made. This was just for fun and to practice using boiled icing (a.k.a. Italian Meringue). The MMF snowmen were modeled off of the famous Calvin & Hobbes comic strip:
- 8" round
- Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake box mix
- filled and iced with boiled icing
- bead border with boiled icing
- MMF accents
It occurred to me that I've never blogged about how I make my MMF. I finally took pictures of the process and you can see them in another post (once I get around to it). All my figures were made from this half batch of MMF.
The up-right snowmen were supported with either round toothpicks or cut wooden skewers. I finally got to use my Styrofoam block! The snowmen arms were made with brown MMF; some of them covered toothpicks and were inserted into the snowmen bodies.
The tree was made by covering a trimmed plastic bendy straw with brown MMF. The branch was a toothpick covered with MMF and inserted into the trunk.
I was too lazy to make itty bitty orange carrot fondant pieces so I just trimmed some orange toothpicks (I have assorted colored "party" toothpicks) and stuck them on ... much easier ;)
This poor guy was sliced with a paring knife.
Again, this cake baked up well. It was chilling in the fridge overnight. Leveling and torting it was a cinch.
The boiled icing composed of:
- 1 1/4 cup sugar, boiled with
- 1/4 cup water, added to
- 3/4 cup pasteurized egg whites ("All Whites" brand), whipped up with
- pinch of Cream of Tarter
The icing was pretty light and fluffy. After filling it, I saw lots of crumbs ... so I decided to crumb coat it.
The crumb coat didn't crust like I thought it would. I went ahead and used tip #12 to pipe on an additional layer around the entire cake.
It was too light and fluffy to really get smooth, but that's ok since it's supposed to look like snow. The bottom border was using the #12 tip again to make beads.
All the snowmen got inserted on the top of the cake. I tried to drag the sharks and the sled a little into the icing, but the icing settled in such a way that it wasn't too noticeable. When everything was in place, I asked my husband to come see. As we looked it over, I saw a lump forming on the side of the cake. "What is that?" I asked. A golf-ball sized tumor was emerging from one side. It was a huge air bubble forming that popped when I tried to smooth it. I was shocked to see a gaping hole of exposed dark brown cake. I piped some more icing into it and tried to smooth it out, but it just wasn't the same. Oh well. At least the snowmen looked good. I used Wilton's Black Piping Gel for the snowmen's coals. They looked awesome; I'll have to use that again whenever we make some Christmas sugar cookies.
After we ate some dinner, I noticed the icing on the bottom began to separate. This is what happened last time I tried making boiled icing ... I should have just used straight up egg whites instead of pasteurized ones from the carton.
With all the fluffy, lumpy, leaky icing, I told my husband that this cake would not survive the drive to work. We would just have to eat it ourselves. The cake turned out to be really moist because of all the icing separating. It was still yummy, but it just may disintegrate by morning!
- boiled icing couldn't be smoothed to a crisp finish
- boiled icing formed huge air bubble
- boiled icing separated
- boiled icing separation caused cake to be wet
- ok, ok, I might not ever used boiled icing again
- cake mix worked really well; I might have to use it again for future 3D / sculpted cakes
- got some more practice with sculpting fondant