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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This Birthday Cake is Bananas (Or how I shattered the cuteness barrier)

As I mentioned in a previous post, my sister has a Welsh Corgi named Mr. Belvidere. This week was her birthday and I decided to try and make her a cake that looked like Mr. B. I stalked her facebook page awhile and decided that I should do Mr. B. in his banana Halloween outfit:
And away we go. I decided to go with the theme of the picture, and do a banana flavored cake. I had liked working with ganache under fondant for my Guinness cake, so I decided to try and make a peanut butter/white chocolate ganache. I had read that a 3:1 ratio for white chocolate to cream worked, so I guessed that peanut butter chips would work the same as white chocolate.
For the ganache:
1, 10 oz. bag peanut butter chips
14 0z. white chocolate, chopped
8 oz heavy cream
6 Oz peanut butter
Combine chips, white chocolate and peanut butter in large bowl
Heat cream until bubbles form on sides- just to the boiling point
Pour cream over chocolate, cover and let stand 5-10 minutes
Mix it together until well blended, then cover and let sit overnight

On a Sunday night I baked the cakes (one 10", 3" high, and 1 9" 1.5" high), made the ganache,  2 batches of MMF(marshmallow fondant), and a batch of modeling chocolate. After the cakes were cooled I wrapped them in plastic and threw them in the freezer. (I always freeze my cakes before decorating because I think it makes them moister).

On Monday, I transfered the cakes into the fridge a few hours before I got started to let them thaw a bit. When I was ready I got out my cake drum, cake, ganache, and photos of B. to get started:
I split the bigger cake into 2 layers and filled with some ganache. I carved off the two sides to start forming a dog shape. Since the last dog cake I attempted had the head fall forward destroying the cake, I tweaked my support by adding a cardboard in the middle of the cake. Later, a dowel will go through the cake and cardboard, and into the head. The cardboard should help keep the head where it belongs (I hope).

More carving:

Cover with ganache (I nuked it in 15 second interviews until it was nice and spreadable):

Now Mr.B. needed some front legs. I made a batch of rice crispy treats and slapped them in place, smooshing them together and onto the cake:

Then I covered the legs with ganache also; let it set up a few minutes, then popped into the fridge with a plastic bag covering it, and started carving B's head out of a styrofoam ball. Can I just say that I HATE carving styrofoam! It's expensive and a pain to carve, but I needed something lightweight so B. wouldn't lose his head. I carved the head with upper jaw out of the ball, and used part of a cone-shape for the lower jaw- which I secured in place with 2 toothpicks

Day 3: The home stretch:) I started by covering B's body with fondant:

That was a real pain in the butt with an irregular shape. Helpful tip: always check your nail length before working with fondant, and trim accordingly. I never have really long nails, but just a little too long and you'll end up with fingernail marks in everything. After it was covered I added back paws made of fondant.

Now the part I was dreading, covering the styrofoam head with fondant. First I added some eyebrows and covered the neck hole with fondant pieces.
Then I covered the whole thing with a layer of fondant and added some fondant eyeballs:
To attach the head to the body I sharpened a dowel on both ends, jammed it through the body and into the base, and then impaled the head atop:

Now for my favorite part: painting! I use gel colors and thin with 190 proof vodka (such as Everclear). Helpful tip #2:  use a test piece of fondant to see the colors before putting them on the actual cake. The brown I had weren't giving me the right shade of brown, which actually ended up being the Wilton Ivory gel color.After painting I added a modeling chocolate nose
Then it was time to make the banana costume. I used fondant for the yellow, and modeling chocolate for the white, since I wanted it to be stiffer. I made waxed paper templates, cut the pieces, and attached
The next part was the hardest: the cone-shaped hat. I took the un-used portion of the styrofoam cone I had used earlier for B's lower jaw, and stuck it to the top of his head with a toothpick. I rolled out more modeling chocolate and guesstimated a shape to cut out. In hindsight I should have added more filler material under the cone. I underestimated the give of the modeling chocolate. I did manage to stuff some fondant on the sides to fill it out a bit more. and  added a back piece and tried to blend as best I could. Normally modeling chocolate blends together easily, but for whatever reason this batch was crappy and lumpy so it didn't work perfectly.

I made modeling chocolate ears, and attached them with toothpicks, and painted. Very cute, but there was still something missing. So, since I had a gallon size Ziploc of rice crispy treats I had no use for in the forseable future, I decided to make :

A banana! (but not Hand Banana, that would be inappropriate). But how often do you see a lone banana? Two more coming up. (the bananas were covered in a 50/50 fondant and modeling chocolate mix)
Are you ready for the cuteness?
I hoped you liked seeing this cake in progress. I think it turned out awesome- now it just needs to survive a car ride and we're good to go:)

UPDATE:) All doggie parts survived the car ride and my sister liked it so much she went and got the dog and the banana shoot for a photo shoot. Poor Mr.B now knows what the celebrities feel like being stalked by the papparazzi, as me, my dad, and my sister were all taking pictures at the same time:)


  1. That is the cutest thing ever. I loved reading the process of how it was created. I could never do such a thing. First, I lack the talent, and second, I do not have that kind of patience. That cake sounds so delicious, yum.

  2. oh my word! that is just amazing!!!!! The cake looks just like Mr, B!

  3. If this isn't the cutest pooch cake I've ever seen! He is adorable and the cake looks just like him!