Introduction: Edible Centerpiece W/ Dr.Bird Cake
You read it right Doctor Bird Cake (Jamaican tropical Cake, Hummingbird Cake etc.). This cake recipe is one from my Childhood joined with my edible mason jar and wafer paper poinsettias.
I remember my Gram making this cake when I was about 13. The flavor of banana nut bread with bursts of sweet pineapple. Pineapple was a treat, not something we had a lot, living in the country.
The only thing I could remember besides the flavor was that my Gram had an old newspaper clipping. She is no longer with us so I had no recipe just the name. Well I put on my sleuthing hat and went on a cyber search. Gram and Grand had lived in Missouri for as long as I could remember so I asked Siri to find vintage newspaper articles from Missouri, not a good start, she is hard at hearing or I just don't speak that well!
While testing my typing skills, I found a blog that mentioned the newspaper and the recipe, so I contacted the Mexico Ledger in Mexico Mo. Guess what? After a couple calls, they found the very article from 1972, with the recipe and sent me a copy from the microfiche.
Now my historical tribute to Gram, the mason jar, a flavorful cake and the lovely poinsettias, could be completed, just in time for the Holidays.
Please join me in creating this Delightful Edible Centerpiece.
Step 1: The Goods!
The Recipe for One Doctor Bird cake
12” x 12” cake pan
Mixing spoon or spatula
measuring cups and spoons
bananas 3 med.
crushed pineapple 8 oz.
pecans or walnuts
small bowls for food color
butter cream or cream cheese icing
small piece of eva foam(fun foam)
cake drum or board
food grade silicone( sorta-clear 37)
small mason jar
battery operated flicker candle
wood texture mat (optional)
Step 2: Cake History & Recipe
The information found about the cake is unique. The name seems to be a nickname for a type of Hummingbird from Jamaica called a Red-billed Streamertail. The cake is filled with sweet goodness that it would surely attract a humming bird. In 1968 the Jamaican tourist board sent out press kits with recipes to the US in hopes of gaining visitors. The news article my gram had is unique in the fact that it is form 1972 and the name is The Doctor Bird Cake and not Hummingbird Cake even though they are the same.
Just a note: I asked the News paper for their permission to post the original and they said yes.
I followed the recipe above and the only exception is I put in a 12" x 12" floured baking pan.
Here is a tip. When I am creating a baked good that we haven't had in a while or ever. I will do a test bake. Put a little batter in a muffin paper and pop in the toaster oven. It really helps if you are picky about texture and flavor profiles. Then you can manipulate the batter if needed.
The recipe called for cream cheese icing and sense the cake tastes great without it I opted to do a buttercream crumb coat ,just enough to hold the fondant.
Bake and let cool in the pan.
Step 3: Making the Mason
I wont go in to detail on making the mold. There are lots of instructions on this.
Here is the basics.
I wanted a full size small edible mason jar so I took my mold material and a container just a little bit bigger than the jar to house my mold. You mix as directed,use a vacuum chamber if afraid of bubbles.
I sculpt jars and make my own molds for cakes.
With the jar in the container pour a small ribbon of mold material to help reduce bubbles. In the picture it is only part of the jar. After the mold has cured it is ready to cast with poured sugar or Isomalt.
Isomalt will give you a beautiful glass finish. I used it in my Edible eyeball and nail polish bottle Instructables.
PLEASE PLEASE be exstreamly careful with Moulton sugar or Isomalt will burn you severely.
The mold should have only one opening and wear heat rated gloves for protection.
Heat the Isomalt as directed letting rest till bubbles are gone. Then I pour the Isomalt in the mold and begin rolling it carfully not introduce bubbles or burn. Then when it stops having movement .iit is turned upside down on a rack. After it is cooled some the mouth of jar is trimmed and heated. Refine
Step 4: Wafer Paper Poinsettias and Foliage
Wafer paper is a flavorless paper made from rice, safe to eat and put on cakes.
First you will start with a pattern. It can be from a fake poinsettia or other pattern. I took my template and traced onto paper to break up the flower into individual pieces. The petal pattern should have a little tongue at the bottom this will help when putting pieces together. you can stack sheets together and cut multiple pieces at one time. I number my pieces to make placement easy. The silk poinsettia was numbered as well.
time for the veining. There are mats available but this method works just fine starting out.
Take a thin tool or tend of thin paint brush and with the textured side of wafer paper facing up make a center line from one end to the other. Now lay in the side veins in an angle (use your reference material if needed).
Then with vodka and a small round paintbrush (I tinted my vodka a little darker red to show of veins) follow the detail lines you just added. Careful not to use to much vodka the paper will dissolve.
Assemble the petals look at the pattern number and lay out the design in order. add just a little touch of vodka to join the petals. They will stick together quick. do the next round and place on top like model. Continue till all flowers are completed. Let dry for a bit.
Use the airbrush color you desire or hand paint the flowers to get the look you want.
It’s OK if they look variegated looks realistic.
Proceed to do leaves the same way.
Now Cut strips about 1 inch wide, brush back with color let dry then do front. after dry, cut little strips in one side. being careful not to cut all the way through. (See picture)
Place one end with a little vodka and begin to twist in an angled spiral, adding a little more vodka till it’s completely wrapped. Slide off and there you have it pine needles.
Make a cone of fondant 3/4 inch and snip across in equal passes but not all the way to the bottom. (see picture)
Pull apart slightly then snip the ends of each runner, Let dry and color with greens, yellows and browns etc. Trim the bottom with scissors, add a drop of vodka to the bottom and gently place in the center of the poinsettia.
Pine cone and wood time!
Step 5: Pine Cones & Wood Panels
Pine-cones are just small cone shape with small balls flattened and adhered with vodka all around the cone from top to bottom and painted brown.
The cake sides will be covered in fondant to create the look of a crate. I would have doubled up the cakes for height but would have been too much cake for my family.
I used a wood silicone mat for the texture. Roll out strips of fondant a little taller and wider than one side of the cake. Place texture mat on-top and press firmly to indent the pattern. Trim each piece to fit.
Ice the cake (just a crumb coat is fine unless you love icing then go for it).
With a little vodka place the 4 pieces around the cake, so it resembles a box. Use the end of the paint brush to poke little divots for fondant nail heads. Just little flattened balls.
Color the wood pieces with brown and black and wipe off, to show grain. Place on nail heads and paint black.
Airbrush or paint the top of cake dark green.
That's it! Seems like a lot but it just takes some time. You can create beautiful delicate items with wafer paper.
Step 6: Assembly
Create mounds of icing to rest flowers on if needed. (Green colored icing will hide well).
I place the mason jar on the cake gently. If you get the isomalt thin it is fragile. I put the candle in the jar with tweezers. Switch is on the bottom of candle.
Then I placed the poinsettias around the jar, leaves, then pine cones and proceeded to tuck in the pine branches to fill in. After that Red sixlets are added to represent berries.
Dust the whole thing with clear edible glitter flakes and ground up white hard candy for snow dust.
Well its finished! Gram I hope you love it felt like you were here the whole time.
OH! Look someone couldn't wait. So, moist and yummy!!!
Thank you everyone! This has been a great year of creating and sharing, your views and votes mean the world to me. I have been given the ability to create and I have one life to share. So, happy it’s with you!
Thank you to Instructables for giving us a platform to share and running contests to help us become better creatives!!! Merry Christmas Everyone!!!! The Juliart