This marks my first 2-tiered cake and my first encounter with The Grateful Dead [TGD] outside of pints of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice-cream.
My friend was in the middle of planning a surprise bday/going away party for her boyfriend before the 2 of them packed up their Toronto lives and ventured to the west coast. Her BF is a major Dead Head [which I quickly learned is the name given to TGD fans] and she requested a cake fitting the title. Down for the challenge, I turned to Google for Grateful Dead inspiration.
I wanted to design a cake that was on theme but not too ‘theme-y’. To those who aren’t familiar with the band, this cake may be mistaken for a Day of the Dead or even a Coachella cake [lol…flower crown duh] but for those who are familiar, the TGD trademark skull + roses and shade of blue should be obvious [at least I hope]. Also, though you can’t tell from the pics, the actual cake was a tie-dye coloured vanilla cake.
SKULL | moulded with rice-crispee + marshmallow squares and covered with fondant
BUTTERCREAM | recipe
CHOCOLATE GANACHE | melty drips
- 300g white chocolate chips
- 100g whipping cream
- food colour
In a small pot bring cream to a simmer
pour cream over white chocolate chips
stir until chocolate is melted
add colour + stir
[the cake fit in my fridge!]
VANILLA CAKE | recipe from Baking with the Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro
[makes 2 x 9″ cakes or 24 cupcakes]
- 2 1/2 C cake flour, + more for flouring the cake pan
- 2C sugar, + more for unmolding the cakes
- 3/4C vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 4 XL eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- unsalted butter or non stick spray for greasing the pan
-position rack in ctr of oven + preheat to 350ºF
-combine sugar + oil + baking powder + vanilla + salt in a stand mixer
-mix on low for a few seconds until combined, raise to low-med and continue to mix until smooth [approx. 1min]
-with motor running on low-med, add eggs one at a time
-after all eggs are combined continue mixing for 1min
-with motor on low, add milk 1/2C @ a time, scrape sides of bowl as needed and continue to mix for an additional minute unit until smooth
-temp batter to ensure it has cooled to 70º-73ºF before baking
-grease/flour cake pans and divide batter in pans accordingly
-bake for 25-30mins | cool before removing from pan
This cake was 50% experimentation and 100% a learning experience. I thought stacking the cake was going to be the hard part, but turns out, transporting a tiered cake without the correct accoutrements was grounds for heart palpitations. All in all, though I was extremely sad [biggest understatement ever] to say farewell to my friends, I was so happy to have been a part of the celebration and grateful to be a part of their Toronto lives.
Looking forward to trips to the west coast!