Introduction: Yeti Dome Zuccotto Cake
Second Prize in the
Deceptive Desserts Contest
My son loves the Yeti creature, so when he watched the movie Goosebumps and the Abominable Snowman appeared, it immediately became his favorite movie. He watched it numerous times and even requested me to make a Yeti.
At first I thought of making something out of polymer clay, but this time I wanted to make an edible sculpture. A Yeti decorated cake came into mind. For the base, I made a Zuccotto or Dome cake. It's an Italian dessert from Tuscany that is easy to make but full of flavor. I chose chocolate and ricotta for the filling. Then I sculpted the Yeti head on top of it. It's my first time handling fondant and I was quite surprised that it wan't that difficult to blend the seams and it was even easier to sculpt the fur compared with polymer clay!
Step 1: Ingredients
Serves 10 people
2 Liter bowl
- 1 and 1/2 pound cake
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 250 grams ricotta cheese
- 6 oz. dark chocolate
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1.5 Kg Fondant
- Red gel food color
- Black and blue writing icing or edible paints
- Silver shining sugar dust
- 1/2 t Vanilla Extract
- Soaking Syrup - 3 tablespoon hot water, 2 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon brandy
Tools for decorating:
- Rolling pin
- Paint brushes and modelling tools used only for food
- dowel rod
Step 2: Assembling the Cake
In a large bowl, lightly spray or apply canola oil and place 2 layers of plastic wrap to prevent the cake from sticking to the bowl.
Slice the pound cake about 10 mm thickness, avoid making it too thick to make it pliable then cut it diagonally to make triangles. Arrange a layer on the bowl like a jigsaw puzzle, avoiding big gaps and brush the syrup on the slices. (3rd photo)
For the filling, whip the heavy cream and divide it into 2 bowls. The outer layer of filling is chocolate. This is made by melting the dark chocolate in a double boiler then when it is slightly cooled, fold the chocolate in thirds to the 1 cup whipped cream. Place the chocolate filling on the cake slices spreading it to the sides. The second layer of filling is mixing in 1/2 cup of sifted powdered sugar and ricotta cheese to the other bowl of whipped cream. (7th photo) Place the ricotta filling in the center of the cake. My 3 Liter bowl ended up a bit too big as shown in the 8th photo since the filling didn't fill up to the top, so I just took the slices on the top sides of the bowl and place them down. (9th photo) I sliced 2 more slices of pound cake and covered the middle part. (10th photo).
Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and gently pat your hand on top of the cake. Then place in the refrigerator to cool and set for 3 hours or overnight before unmolding.
Step 3: Frosting and Building the Face
Make the buttercream frosting by beating the butter with a mixer until pale in color then adding in a half cup at a time of sifted powdered sugar until well mixed. Then add vanilla extract to the mixture.
Unmold the cake by placing the cake board on top of the bowl then turn it upside down.
Remove the plastic wrap and with a spatula apply a thin layer of frosting. The frosting will help adhere the fondant on the cake.
Place a dowel on the mid lower portion and stick an oval shaped pound cake for the muzzle of the Yeti. Make sure the dowel is all the way through the bottom. This would support the weight of the extra piece attached. For the brow and cheek bones, I sliced strips of cake and curved it on top. You don't need a dowel for those since they are small pieces. I have shown different views of the cake for reference. Then apply a layer of buttercream on top of the attached pieces. Adding in cake to add features of the face will prevent you from adding thick layers of fondant and making it too heavy.
Step 4: Fondant Layer
To avoid the fondant from sticking to your work surface, add a sheet of parchment paper then put some powdered sugar on your hands and rolling pin. Roll the 1 Kg fondant from the center then outwards as evenly as you can to about half a centimeter thick then flip one end of the fondant on the rolling pin. Lift the rolling pin and gently place the fondant on top of the cake surface. Smooth the surface with your hands and cut excess fondant on the bottom with a knife.
Add barely a drop of red gel to the fondant trimmings then knead until the color is an even light pink color. If you don't have enough trimmings, you can take some from the 500 g fondant set aside for the fur and eyes. Roll it out to a thin layer then cut a round piece and place on top of the cake. You can trim the sides to shape it. The sides need not be perfect since we will be adding fur later on.
Step 5: Sculpting the Face
For the features of the face, add 2 ovals of white fondant for the eyeballs. You can brush a bit of water for it to stick on the surface. Put elongated pieces for the upper and lower eyelids and blend the seams with a curved or paddle tool. (2nd photo) Then indent lines to the sides of the eyes, sides of the cheeks for the cheek bones and around the muzzle. (3rd photo) Add elongated curved pieces to the brow area and cheeks and blend the seams. Mark out the nose and add thin snakes around each nostril then blend the sides.
Add more details by placing wrinkles on the forehead, around the eyes and on the muzzle.
Step 6: Sculpting the Fur & Painting
For the ears, make 2 oval shapes and indent curved lines. Place them on the upper sides of the head.
For the fur, I rolled the fondant to a thin rope and cut it in small pieces. Then I rolled each one between my hands to make a long snake and attached to the sides of the face and framing it. I also added some fur to the sides of the muzzle. Then with a pointed curved tool, I indented lines on the coils of fur to make it look like hair and not rope-like. Also take note of the direction of the fur as you indent.
Paint the outer part of the iris of the eye black with a paint brush dampened with water. Then paint the inner part with blue. After which, I just dotted the black writing icing for the pupils of the eyes and also the nostrils.
To add depth to the face. I painted small amounts of black writing icing to a dampened brush to the creases of the face, upper and lower eyelids around the nose and curves of the mouth. If you can find edible paint for decorating it would be better because the writing icing is a bit difficult to blend.
I sprinkled gray powdered glitter sugar on the fur to also add depth.
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