Way back in December, in the midst of the Thanksgiving-Christmas-school break madness, our eldest hooligan had his 10th birthday. The party was scheduled for the day The Lone Ranger (with Johnny Depp) came out on DVD, because that’s what he wanted to do at his party…eat pizza, watch the movie, have cake. He’s not a very social boy, so that was all the celebration he felt comfortable having. And he deemed any decorations or themed party games too babyish.
You know I couldn’t let a party happen without something themed, though, so I came up with a cool cake that looked like a campfire. (I saw the idea on Pinterest and ran with it from there, so it’s not totally an original thought.)
I’m sure you won’t believe me, but this was probably the simplest cake I’ve ever decorated. I started with a boxed mix (from Duff, at Target) for a rainbow cake . And, yes, it had artificial colors, but the remaining ingredients were okay. The boy loves rainbow colors, so I relented.
For the shards of “fire,” I followed this simple recipe for hard candy. I added peppermint extract for the flavoring and liquid, not gel, food color. I didn’t stir it much once I added the coloring, so that it would look swirled. After I poured it into a parchment-lined sheet pan, I let it cool completely, then used the highly technical meat mallet and knife point method to break it into shards.
The only other part I had to figure out was the toasted marshmallow border. Fortunately, one of my neighbors (have I ever mentioned that my neighbors are possibly the best ever?) had a mini-torch for crème brulee and I borrowed that. Man, it worked so well…I think I may need one of my own.
Assembling it was simple…I mixed up a batch of chocolate buttercream frosting and frosted the cake, then place the shards in it. They had to go quite a way down, to keep them from tipping, then I frosted over the holes they made. I broke Pirouline cookies to resemble logs and placed the toasted marshmallows around the edge. Ta-da!
The birthday boy (and all of his friends) thought the shards of fire were the coolest, and I was pretty darned impressed with my abilities.
Now I’m trying to talk Princess Thundercloud into a similar one using blue shards of “ice” for her Frozen-themed party this weekend. Wish me luck…she checked a book on cake decorating out of the library two months ago and has chosen a cake that looks like a jewelry box with a necklace and nail polish bottle on the top. Really? Shards are so much more fun!