Thursday, January 15, 2009

Campfire Cake

This year we decided on a "camping" theme for my daughter's 10th birthday. The reasoning was that, at least in previous years, the Christmas tree usually keeps relatively fresh into early February, so we have taken down the Christmas decorations, and put up birthday decorations, transforming it into a "birthday tree".

Two years ago, I decorated it with blue & pink balloons, and it served as a birthday tree for my daughter's birthday in January and my son's in early February. Last year, she had a fairy party, so we decorated it with butterflies and fairies and such.

So this year, since we cut that monster 15' tree, I was sure it would be a great backdrop for a wilderness/camping theme. I didn't know that by now it would look dry and miserable, and that the branches would touch the ground, so that this week I couldn't even climb under to water it one last time. Oh well, it is now decorated with butterflies and birds, for our indoor campground. We also dug out the kids' old play tent, to add to the campground feel.

My sister Rose was very inspired by the theme, and sent me a great recipe for a campfire cake, based on a brownie cake, with Twix bars stacked on it, with small white marshmallows and red and orange M&Ms for the coals, and red cellophane for flame, or something like that. So I have created my own variation on this idea.

In my Google searches for "campfire cake", I found someone who had melted down red & orange candies, to create thin sheets, which were then broken into jagged shards, to look like flames shooting out of the center of the cake. I looked for red & orange candies, and didn't find much, except the red cinnamon hearts which are coming out for Valentines. So I instead used some old candy canes, and picked the ones with significant red or yellow in them. I laid them together on a sheet of wax paper, on a cookie sheet, and melted them at approx 350F. They needed a bit of help, I used a bamboo skewer to mix them around a bit. The smell of the peppermint was wonderful.

After cooling them and refrigerating them, they were brittle enough to break into shards. A bit too brittle at the start, but became more manageable after being out of the fridge for a bit. So here is the initial result (I found that the big pieces ended up being too big, so later broke those into smaller shards):

The base of the cake was a devil's food cake mix (Betty Crocker, I think). My only round pans were a 9" and 10" springform, so that's what I used. The frosting was a prepared, whipped chocolate one (Duncan Hines, I believe). Here is the basic frosted 2 layer cake:

Then I added the shards of the peppermint:

...Then some chocolate wafers:

...Then the coals... In this case, some raspberry flavoured candies (same as jelly beans, but round shape instead of bean shaped):

Finally, I added 10 wavy candles (I was pleased to stumble across those at the dollar store today, and knew immediately that they would work, being taller than the usual birthday candles, and the wavy shape being suggestive of flames or smoke rising from the campfire):

I'm pretty pleased with the result. I haven't thought about how or whether I'll even try to incorporate her name into the cake. I think the 10 candles may be enough. We'll see. The party is tomorrow night.


O.I.M said...

awesome cake. have a great party.

Gardenista said...

That's very creative! I'm sure it was a big hit.

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