This is the most ambitious baking project I have undertaken…well, ever. It was for a huge group of discerning people who have a lot of experience in this realm and are often quite blunt, if not downright RUDE about he food that they eat.
Of course, I’m talking about toddlers.
And an Elsa cake.
An Elsa from Frozen cake, in case you have been living under a rock and have (been blessed to) not heard the (for PETE’S SAKE, when will it finally lose popularity???) song (by Adele Dazeem) “Let it Go.”
So you want to know how to turn this…
Well, here’s what you’re going to need:
2 8 inch cake pans (it’s ok if one is deeper than the other. I prefer to use springform pans)
5 boxes Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge cake mix (other mixes may work, but this is the one that I used and trust not to collapse or dry out over 3 days.)
1 can baker’s nonstick spray (the one with oil and flour)
3.5 – 5 lbs. frosting, plus 1 small can white frosting. For the blue frosting, you can get blue or white and then dye it blue with food coloring. The industrial stuff is the best. You really want the super sugary, corn syrupy stuff that will harden and keep the cake soft and moist over the 3 days of making it.
Various snowy decorations, to include white chocolate buttons colored in different shades of white and blue.
1 offset spatula
2 heavy duty pastry bags with 1 wide tip, 1 narrow tip, and 1 rosette tip
1 piece of wax paper large enough to cover the turntable with overhang on each side, cut in half
1 doll pic or doll torso (tearing off those legs feels so wrong yet so right at the same time, doesn’t it?)
2. Prepare your cake mix according to the box’s directions. Only make 2 cake mixes at a time in a large bowl, to ensure that all of the dry mixture gets incorporated with the oil, water, and eggs. Fill each pan about 3/4 of the way up each with cake mix. That should mean that the Wilton mold gets 2 mixes and each springform pan gets 1.5 boxes of mix.
3.When the cakes come out of the oven (after no less than an hour, because we are really filling these pans with some dark, dense cake), they will be domed. That’s okay! Let them cool COMPLETELY…or at least mostly. This is going to help them shrink away from the sides of the pan and also make it more stable when you level the cake.
4. While the cake is still in the pan, level that cake! Just line your knife up right on the cake pan and carefully slice across to rid yourself of the dome. If your cake turns out a little slanted or uneven, that’s okay. And if, like mine, it is still a little domed with a flat top – like a plateau – that’s okay, too! When you have done this, remove it from the pan. This is why the springform pan is awesome – no tricky guessing and hoping and tapping to release your cake.
5. Put your 2 pieces of wax paper on the turntable. They can overlap slightly but they must come over the edges of the turntable. This ensures that any icing will fall on the paper and not the turntable. When it comes time to serve the cake, you just CAREFULLY and SLOWLY wiggle the parchment out from underneath the cake and voila – clean surface!
6. Squiggle some frosting on your first layer of cake with your large tip on the pastry bag. Really pile it on there – maybe 1/2 a cup or so. Move it all around the center of the cake, where it will be darker because you cut off the dome. Don’t put it to the edges, because when you layer the second cake on top, it will squish the icing out.
7. Stack one round cake on top of that one, repeat the icing circle, then top te whole thing with the wonder mold cake. As you see, there is a ton of piped icing around that top middle layer – that’s because there was a space in between the middle round cake and the top wonder mold cake, created by the plateau. Just fill it in with icing and then put it in the fridge for 15 minutes to help with hardening the icing.
8. Now, it’s time to coat the cake with a thin-ish layer of frosting. This is called the crumb layer. It’s so that any crumbs of chocolate cake that get picked up by the spatula get caught in this layer of frosting and not in any of the frosting that shows. When you are done with this, the cake will look uneven and horrible. Don’t worry! And if the icing layer seems a little more thick than thin, don’t worry about ir…we are heading towards icing city and this is just the first depot. Now, put the cake in the fridge and don’t touch it till the next day.
9. After letting the cake rest on the counter for about 30 minutes, it’s time to frost. You are going to want a LOT of frosting. I find that it goes on best when it’s applied in small swirls – as this is where the offset spatula comes in. Without it, you might dig into the crumb coating or get icing all over your hands. So, just spackle this stuff on, tier by tier. Don’t worry if it’s uneven and thick - just keep going till the whole cake is covered in small swirls.
10. Now, it’s time to smooth it out. Go in 3 or 4 rounds, just running the flat side of the spatula against the cake in a slow circle. Use the turntable to help you. Have a light touch and angle the spatula slightly outward at a diagonal angle towards you. This ensures that he cake gets wider towards the bottom, like a ballgown.
11. This is what you end up with. Don’t worry about the slight bubbles in the frosting; we have decorations for that. Also, another layer of frosting. Apply that second layer after refrigerating the cake for about 15 minutes.
12. After 2 coast of frosting and cutting a shallow hole, big enough for the doll’s torso, it’s time to decorate! Here, my mom piped white icing (using the small tip) that makes a triangle that takes up 1/3 of the cake. Make sure that the triangle that it makes is over the 1/3 of the cake where the frosting is the most uneven. It’s going to be totally covered.
14. Over the next 2/3 of the dress, go to town! Big snowflakes, small snowflakes, tiny metallic balls, and white chocolate coated rice cereal all look swell. Just remember – there is no such thing as overkill here. My guess is that you are making this for a kid aged 2-11. Subtlety doesn’t kick in till the kid knows everything in high school. So, really..go to town. I even put some rice cereal in groups of 3 to create hidden Mickeys. What, it’s a thing.
DAY 2 OR 3:
15. Put the doll torso in the cake, piping icing rosettes around her waist to blend in and lifting her arms so she doesn’t get frosting on her. Remove the wax paper and serve right on the turntable. Wait, that picture isn’t good enough…
There we are…that’s the stuff. When serving, cut a slim triangle 1/3 of the way down the cake (after removing the doll torso!), then cutting that slice into 3 or so slices for kids, 2 for adults. Cut the front 2/3 of the cake first, since it’s easiest to not have to worry about the chocolate buttons if you don’t have to. When you have cut the top 1/3 of the front 2/3 of the dress, move down the tiers…
Was that complicated enough for you? I hope just barely. Please don’t be scared of making this. It takes forever and transporting it is OBNOXIOUS (Cookie sheet in a shallow cake pan, a VERY SLOW cab driver, and more than a few prayers) but…well…it’s a showstopper. People wills top you and ask you what bakery you got it from. Parents will applaud you on the spot. Facebook will be charmed.
And the look on the kids’ faces when they see this absolutely makes every backbreaking stroke of frosting worth it.
So…do you wanna build an Elsa?