I greatly appreciate it when the occasion arises where a cake is a highly appropriate item to donate to said occasion. I don’t make cakes all that often, as when one lives in a household of two people, cake is a complicated affair. Either it’s not as good as it could be and it goes stale before it’s all eaten, or the cake is entirely too good and it gets eaten within the next 24 hours, causing lack-of-nutrients headaches and ‘Dunlap disease’. Well, and the fact that, for me at least, I need a good motivator to make an exciting cake that’s all festooned with decorative bits. Ordinary days just do not require extraordinary cakes. How convenient, then, that people have birthdays every single year!
Thus, the penguin cake for my Dad’s birthday:
There’s red velvet box cake in the middle. I just used a 13″ x 9″ pan, and hacked out a penguin shape from that, sticking extra cake bits on for the beak and tail. I slapped together the white icing from some powdered sugar, shortening, milk, and vanilla, it worked well on the belly.
Added orange for that proper glowing beak and feet feel. Made the mistake of trying to spread it on with a knife. This never works for me. Inevitably there will be little cake bits spread all throughout the icing. No good at all! Luckily I had lots of orange, so I just slabbed it on rather heavily to cover up the mistake there.
Chocolate frosting is tricky. I didn’t have a recipe I planned on using, so I found this recipe for icing plus cake and just made the icing, plus some black food coloring. Dumped it on, and it promptly oozed everywhere. It did ooze deliciously, however, which worked well. It occurred to me after the fact that I could use white frosting to shape a wing, and then dump chocolate icing on top. Which I did, but since that was chocolate icing layer #2, it looks a bit lumpy.
I believe lumpiness (as well as most visual defaults on cakes) are forgivable as long as the cake is delicious. Mmm…cake.