This is the MOST EXPENSIVE CAKE IN THE WORLD! Well ok, not really, but my 24 Carrot Cake is definitely the most expensive LOOKING cake and it tastes like a million bucks, so I count that as close. (A food friend for the new gold MacBook Pro...)
FUN FACT: There are actually 24 baby carrots used in the cake recipe, so the title is completely legit.
Ok, let's get fancy everyone!
Check out some of my other fun/cheeky projects:
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup superfine (castor) sugar
6 tbsp brown sugar
24 small baby carrots (approx. 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup self-rising flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
pinch of salt
butter to line the pan
large mixing bowl
medium mixing bowl
measuring cup / spoons
chef's knife or small food processor
bread pan (I used the Chicago Metallic Commercial II Traditional Uncoated 1-1/2-Pound Loaf Pan)
cake base/board (I used a piece of marble)
Cream Cheese Icing Recipe
1 1/4 cup (10 oz) cream cheese
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
icing spatula or butter knife
20" fondant rolling pin
non-latex surgical gloves (optional)
3/8" clear acrylic for custom laser cut stamps (Optional - see Step 15)
laser cutter for custom laser cut stamps (Optional - see Step 15)
new soft bristle paint brush
This is an optional step, but one you'd want to do before getting started on the rest of the project if you decide to make them.
I wanted the cake to look as much like an authentic gold bar as possible and these stamps definitely helped!
They are made from 3/8" clear acrylic and were laser cut by doing about 10 raster passes to create the nice deep letters before cutting them out. I've attached an Illustrator .pdf file for you to make your own if you are able to and want to.
NOTE: If you a) don't know how to use a laser cutter, or b) don't have access to one, there are a few options. You can send the file to a local shop that can make them for you, or you can make your own stamps using other stamp making methods (classic rubber, craft foam?, a well dried potato might work), you can try writing free hand into the fondant (I haven't tried this myself), or just leave the cake blank.
"A party without cake is just a meeting." - Julia Child
Turn your oven to 350 degrees F.
In the medium mixing bowl, add the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk the mix until there are no more sugar lumps.
Sift all the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and salt, into the large mixing bowl.
Using a clean, dry whisk, mix 'em together.
Slowly whisk in the wet mix until the batter is a smooth consistency.
Grate the 24 baby carrots using a standard grater or a small food processor. Whisk into the mix.
Cut parchment pieces for each of the 5 inside sides of the pan.
*The goal is to make them as close to size as possible, with just a little bit of overlap, to maintain the crisp shape of the pan. Having bunchy parchment will affect the lines/shape of the cake / gold bar.*
To achieve this, place the pan on it's long side on top of the parchment and cut around it. Repeat this for the short end. Then trace and cut another of each of the sides. Then cut a rectangle that is just slightly bigger than the bottom of the pan.
Butter the inside of the pan and press the parchment pieces into place. The butter will act like glue!
Pour the cake mix into the freshly lined pan and bake for 55 minutes.
When your timer goes off, remove it from the oven and poke a tooth pick or wood skewer into the baked cake to make sure it's done. If the stick comes out clean, it's done! If there's wet batter on it, bake for 5 more minutes and repeat this process until the pick/stick comes out clean!
To get the fondant the most 'gold-y' it can be, mix half of the 24oz white fondant 'brick' with 1/3 of the yellow.
Mix them independently first to soften them, and then knead them together until it's a uniform color.
You will never be able to achieve a true gold color for the fondant, but the goal is to make it as tonally the same as possible so that it doesn't distract the eye from the gold leafing.
To do this, mix 3 drops of yellow food coloring with 2 drops of red and one drop of green.
Pinch off a piece of the mixed fondant and put about half of the food coloring onto the fondant bit.
The food coloring is pretty powerful, so to protect your hands from getting dyed along with the fondant, it's a good idea to put on a pair of non-latex gloves. (I learned the hard way that fondant sticks to latex!)
Mix the food coloring well into the fondant bit. Then add it to the larger chunk and knead/mix them together until you have a uniform color. It should be a slightly green/brown yellow. (like pictured)
Wrap the fondant well in plastic wrap and set aside.
Now it's time to mix up the icing that will act as the glue between the cake and fondant.
Use a hand mixer to blend the butter, vanilla, lemon, and cream cheese until smooth.
Slowly add in the icing sugar until it's all been blended in.
Decide what you're going to use as a cake plate (I used a new marble floor tile) and place it in front of you.
On the plate, or a separate cutting surface, take a bread knife and cut off the raised top bit of the cake so that when the cake is placed top side down, it will lie flat.
Place the cake top side down on your cake plate.
Using the icing spatula or a bread knife, put a THIN layer of icing on all sides of the cake. You don't want it too thick or the fondant will move too much, making it difficult to shape and stamp.
Save the rest of the icing and serve with a spoon with the cake so people who want more icing action can add a dollop to their plate.
Set the cake aside.
In preparation for rolling out your fondant, remove the three rubber 'spacers' from each end of the fondant roller and put just the blue ones (thinnest) back on the ends. These help create a uniform thickness = rad.
Place a large piece of parchment on your work surface. Unwrap the fondant and place it in the center of the parchment.
Carefully roll the fondant until it's the desired thickness and is big enough to cover the cake. Holding the cake pan over it is an easy way to 'eyeball' whether it's big enough or not.
If you get any air bubbles during the rolling process, just pierce them with a pin or sharp knife, releasing the air, and keep rolling!
This is where we put on the cake's outerwear.
Pick up the parchment paper/ fondant sheet. The fondant should stick to the paper, but just in case grab hold of both the paper AND the very top of the fondant.
IMPORTANT: You will only get one good shot at placing the fondant, so be sure to take your time.
Lay the fondant carefully over the cake, making sure that there's enough fondant on all sides, to cover the sides of the cake - as once you place the fondant, it's very difficult to move without damaging/stretching it.
Peel off the paper.
Now it's time to form and stretch the fondant over the cake, creating a seamless surface.
This is achieved by holding onto the edge of the fondant and fanning it up and down gently while softly pressing the fondant to the surface of the cake. The fanning motion helps stretch the fondant which allows you to avoid creases - especially on the corners.
Make your way around the cake, starting with the top, making sure that there aren't any air bubbles trapped in between the cake and fondant. Use the fondant smoother to push out any rebel air bubbles on the top.
Once the cake has a nice coat of fondant from just using your hands, take the smoother and go over all the surfaces, which will help crisp up the edges. Use the flat bottom of the smoother to go around the edge of the cake, ensuring there is good contact between the fondant and the cake plate.
Use a dough cutter (or paring knife and steady hand) to trim off the excess fondant.
If you've decided to go the stamp route, lightly place them on the top of the cake where you want them to go.
Press them in one at a time with firm pressure and a simultaneous little bit of wiggling to ensure good legibility.
Now for the finishing touch... the super sexy edible gold leaf!
Carefully open the gold leaf booklet to one of the removable sheets. WARNING: If you open the pages too quickly, it will displace the gold leaf, potentially ruining that sheet. So go slow! Also, it will stick to the oils on your fingers, so DON'T TOUCH IT!
Place the first sheet so that the bottom of the gold leaf sheet lines up with the bottom of the cake. This will require bringing the sheet down a bit further than the cake bottom.
Gently press the sheet onto the surface of the cake, taking turns pressing on all the sides, especially if going around a corner. And then gently remove the paper.
Take the soft paint brush and VERY GENTLY brush the gold leaf onto the surface of the cake.
*You will notice the multiple uses of the the word GENTLE. That's because the gold leaf is so super delicate and will tear easily if you push, poke, or brush it too hard.
Repeat the gold leaf placement process until you have covered the entire cake. Overlapping the sheets of leaf isn't a problem as they will blend nicely and you will hardly notice the patch work of layers.
Also note that the leaf has no stretch to it, so it will be difficult to get it into all the nook and crannies of the stamped letters/shapes. As a result you'll end up having to put a few layers on the top. I found that using the brush to 'muss' a sheet up before applying it to the letters, helped get more leaf down in there than laying it flat.
The final steps:
Happy fancy times you beautiful people!