Friday, May 21, 2010

Tropical Pool Cake

A couple of years ago my mom and I saw an article in Woman's Day Magazine. It was for this cake pictured here.

I had to make it.

I did. Now, it didn't turn out quite as fancy as the one in the picture (I stole this one from Woman's Day, because I don't have a picture of mine, and theirs is prettier).

It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. There are so many little steps to making it, but it's just too cute not to. I think I might need to make it again this summer.

Why not. Maybe then I will show you my pictures! :)

Here is the recipe:

o 2 tubs (16 oz each) vanilla frosting
o Blue, brown, orange, red, green, yellow and black paste or gel food color
o Two 8- or 9-in. round cooled, baked yellow cake layers, tops trimmed level and 1 layer frozen about 2 hours for easier cutting
o 1 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers
o 2 boxes (3 oz each) Jell-O Berry Blue gelatin
o 1 cup green chocolate melting wafers (Wilton)
o 3 plain breadsticks
o A few Cocoa Puffs cereal balls
o Teddy Grahams cookies (Nabisco)
o Goldfish Colors and Baby Goldfish crackers (Pepperidge Farm)
o Butterfly-shaped graham crackers (Keebler Bug Bites)
o Red or orange decorating sugar
o Green sprinkles
o 2 chocolate Nuggets (Hershey's), unwrapped
o 2 tsp yellow nonpareil sprinkles
o 2 red ball sprinkles
o Green Fruit by the Foot
o Striped sour belt candy
o 1 Gummi ring
o 2 small striped peppermint
o candy balls
o You'll also need: qt-size ziptop bags, 3 wooden spoons


1. Tint 1 tub frosting light blue. Tint 1 cup of the other tub light brown and spoon into a ziptop bag. Place unfrozen cake layer on a serving plate. Spread top with 1/2 cup blue frosting. Top with frozen cake layer, trimmed side down. Starting about 1 in. from the edge, cut a crescent-shaped outline about 3/4 in. deep for pool. Using a fork, remove cake within outline in an even layer.

2. Spread blue frosting smoothly on sides of cake. Snip a small corner off the bag of light brown frosting; pipe on top of cake to cover all but the hollowed-out pool area. For sand, sprinkle top and around base of cake with the vanilla wafer crumbs. (It's OK if some land in the pool area.)

3. Pool: Prepare both boxes of gelatin using a total of only 2 cups water. Set in a bowl of ice cubes and water; stir until gelatin just begins to thicken. Carefully pour into hollowed-out pool area. Refrigerate 2 hours or until set.

4. Coconut Palm Trees:* Arrange 3 wooden spoons crosswise on a baking sheet. Cover with wax paper. (Spoons will help make the leaves a bit wavy and more natural.) Put the green melting wafers into a ziptop bag. Microwave on high at 10-second intervals, squeezing bag often, until melted. Snip a very small corner from the bag and pipe 1 1/2- to 2-in.-long palm leaves on wax paper crosswise over spoons. Repeat to make at least 15 leaves. (It's a good idea to make extra.) Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until set. Peel leaves from wax paper. Using a serrated knife, trim breadsticks to 8 in. Reheat green chocolate in ziptop bag for several seconds if necessary. Remove wooden spoons from baking sheet, leaving wax paper. Pipe dots of green chocolate at one end of breadstick. Add several leaves; refrigerate until set. Repeat, adding more leaves. Attach Cocoa Puffs as coconuts with a few dots of frosting.

5. Swimmers, Fish and Butterfly: Spoon 2 Tbsp vanilla frosting into a ziptop bag. Divide remaining frosting among cups; tint different colors. Spoon each into a ziptop bag. One at a time, cut a tiny tip off corner of bags and pipe clothing, features and eyes on bears and fish. Decorate the top of the butterfly graham cracker with frosting; sprinkle with decorating sugar. Pipe a green line of frosting for the body; add the green sprinkles as antennae.

6. Treasure Chest: Place a chocolate Nugget in the sand at the base of the cake, flat side up. Pipe yellow frosting on top and add some yellow sprinkles. Place another Nugget on top, flat side down. Pipe red lines of frosting for straps. Add red ball sprinkles.

7. Assemble: Using scissors, cut Fruit by the Foot into seaweed and leaf shapes. Press seaweed onto the side of the cake. Attach decorated fish with some frosting. Pipe white dots as bubbles above the fish. Insert coconut trees at different heights. Arrange leaves under the trees. Add a few extra Cocoa Puffs in the sand. Attach butterfly and decorated bears with frosting. Use a length of striped sour belt candy as a beach towel and a Gummi ring as an inner tube. Place peppermint beach balls. Pipe white splashes around bears in pool.

Plan ahead: You can make cake layers up to 3 days ahead; wrap airtight and refrigerate. Make through Step 6 up to 1 day ahead. Wrap ziptop bag of white frosting airtight to use the next day. Leave decorations at room temperature. Assemble up to 2 hours before serving; leave at room temperature.

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