Introduction: The Mutant Toad Cake With Tricky Treats...
"Swallow a toad in the morning and you will encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day."
- Nicolas Chamfort
One Saturday evening, somewhere off in the dangerous woods of West Michigan, a plump toad took a dip in some nuclear waste. When he emerged, he'd grown 15 extra eyes, his insides took on a greenish hue, and oh yeah, he was 10x bigger than before. He also turned into cake. Don't know how that happened.
But that's great for us! Because nothing wakes me up like eating a slice of radioactive toad. Now, all you lovely folk can enjoy your hearty helping of mutant amphibian. This cake is great for Halloween parties, birthday parties, and the 3rd anniversary of my neighbor's toxic sludge dumping!
Beware, though. There's a twist to this cake. Inside the toad's sides are two different kinds of treats. One side is naughty, and one side is nice. Read on to see how the trick is done...
My sister Cate and I created this cake. If you enjoyed the Instructable for it, please give us a vote for the 2018 Halloween Contest! We'd appreciate it. :)
(still more to be added to this Instructable, stay tuned! :) )
Step 1: The Stand
Tools: Scissors, exacto knife.
Materials: Tape, cardboard, aluminum foil.
The stand/base is one of the most important aspects of your cake because it has to be sturdy enough to support a 10+ pound cake (yeah, this isn't your average mutant toad cake. It's heavier). Cardboard works fine, just be sure it's tough.
1. Draw a square onto a piece of sturdy cardboard, then round the edges.
2. Use an exacto knife to cut off the excess.
3. Wrap it completely in aluminum foil, then tape the foil to the back of the cardboard.
Step 2: The Cake
Tools: Spatula, mixer, (stand or hand), beater, oven, 8 inch round pans (3 for 2 batches), sifter, bowl.
Materials: Parchment paper, cake ingredients (listed below), cooking spray
2 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup of Dark/light cocoa powder
2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)
4 large eggs (room temp)
2 1/2 cups of sugar
Because this is a cake, we'll need cake. We used two batches of Yolanda's "Ultimate Chocolate Cake" (instructions and ingredients from her website). Use 8×11 inch round pans.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk.
3. Put the cocoa powder in a bowl. Bring 2 cups water to a boil, and pour over the cocoa powder and whisk until completely smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs, two at a time, beating until each is incorporated before adding the next. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
6. Add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the warm cocoa mixture in three parts, beating just until each addition is incorporated before adding the next; do not overmix.
7. Cut parchment paper to the exact size of the pan bottoms. Then spray the pans VERY liberally with pan spray.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan or pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or 55 minutes for the 8-inch pans, rotating the pan(s) halfway through.
Step 3: Frosting
Tools: Spatula, mixer, (stand or hand), beater, bowl, stove, thermometer.
Materials: Frosting ingredients (below)
1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
8 large egg whites (room temp)
4 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla Extract
Because this is a cake, we'll need baking cement. No, not baking powder, frosting. Like the cake, we used two batches. Just prepare yourself for a lot of room temp butter lying around for this project. We used YO'S FAMOUS ITALIAN MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM! because it's the tastiest.
1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water. Wait for the sugar to boil over medium heat, and place candy thermometer inside the saucepan.
2. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
3. When the syrup reaches 230°F on the candy thermometer, begin to whip the egg whites on medium/high speed, whipping until the egg whites are stiff.
4. When the syrup reaches 240°F, immediately remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer running, pour the syrup into the egg whites in a very thin stream, pouring between the side of the bowl and the whisk attachment.
5. Whip the meringue at high speed until thick and glossy and the bowl is no longer warm on the outside, about 8 or longer.
6. With the mixer running, add the butter, a piece at a time, whipping until each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next (scraping the sides occasionally)
7. After all the butter has been added, continue to whip the buttercream until it’s thick and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Finally, beat in the vanilla.
Step 4: Carving/Support
Tools: Knife, printer, scissors.
Materials: Stand, wooden dowels, cardstock, cake, frosting.
Make sure you have wooden dowels for this! They're essential for supporting the cake! Gather your cake and frosting, then download the toad template I've linked here/included in the pictures. Print it on cardstock and cut off the excess, leaving only the outline.
Frosting the Cake:
1. Level the cakes so they don't have rounded tops. Save the scraps.
2. Make 2 stacks of three cakes.
3.Frost the insides of the cakes and stack them again, be sure they're level with the ground, frosting isn't oozing out and they're reasonable stable.
4. Chill the stacks overnight.
Carving the Cake:
5. Stack the cakes against the toad outline. Take the larger stack and tilt it on it's side, then compare it to the toad outline. Cut the bottom of the cake so it's a sort-of-semicircle, constantly comparing it to the outline. Cut until the top of the cake is just touching the outline
5. Now, cut your other stack in half. Repeat step 5 for the toad booty.
6. Take the other half and the scrap from step 5. Place the scrap below the largest cake piece, then place the other half on top of it, till it reaches the outline's head.
7. Now, place the outline against the cake and cut the cake around it, carving it. Add scraps where you need to to make it equal the template.
8. Place something underneath the now unstable head, like a jar or cup. Take three medium sized wooden dowels and shove it through the head so two dowels are inside the the outsides of the large cake stack (sounds difficult? Look at the diagram included, coming soon) and one is inside the rear and the middle of the large cake stack.
9. Build more of the cake up with scraps, then crumb coat it and chill it overnight.
Step 5: Modeling Chocolate
Tools: Knife, spatula, bowl, cutting board, stove/microwave.
Materials: Plastic wrap, modeling chocolate ingredients (listed below), food coloring
5 cups of white chocolate/almond bark
1 cup of light corn syrup.
"Modeling chocolate is the fondant of the chocolate world"
-Sam Barton, monching on toad skin
(Take that as you will). Modeling chocolate is far tastier than fondant to my family, and we believe it more closely resembles clay in texture and detail holding.
1. Put the stove top on medium heat.
2. Melt the chocolate until it's smooth.
3. Add the corn syrup slowly when the chocolate is still hot, then stir it in until it resembles the consistency of unpulled taffy.
4. Dump the mixture onto some plastic wrap, spread it out, then seal it and place it in the fridge.
5. Cool overnight.
6. When you need the chocolate, knead it until it's manageable.
For Coating the Toad:
**props to Cate for creating ALL the modeling chocolate :)
1. Knead a huge amount of modeling chocolate, adding green, red, and brown food coloring to give it a light brownish/greenish skin color.
2. Powder your rolling surface.
3. Roll the colored chocolate very thin, about 3 cm thick.
4. Pick up the stretched chocolate with a rolling pin and gently drape it over the jelly-bean covered toad.
5. Take your time maneuvering the chocolate so it covers everything. Find the jellybeans and indent the area around them carefully, so you create a raised bump. Smooth rips with water and add extra chocolate for roundness.
Step 6: Rice Treats/belly
Tools: Pot, stove, spatula, knife.
Materials: 2 batches of rice treat ingredients (listed below), large jellybeans, frosting
3 teaspoons of butter (room temp).
6 cups of rice cereal
1 10 ounce package of marshmallows (mini or normal).
This cake has crispy rice treats because A. They're delicious and should be in every cake B. They add support to the strange structure of the cake C. They add texture for the modeling chocolate to cling onto. Once you make crispy treats, you'll never want to stop making them, they're delicious. :)
1. Put the stove top on a low heat.
2. Place butter in medium sized saucepan and stir until it's melted.
3. Empty one package of marshmallows into the pot, stirring until melted. Add green food coloring here.
3. Take the pot off the stove and add the crispy rice. Stir.
4. When it's cool enough to touch, begin to shape it with your hands. If it cools too quickly, warm it up in the microwave for 15 seconds.
5. Begin to cover the toad in crispy treats, as thick as you'd like.
1. Make a large log of crispy treats.
2. Taper one end, and fold it in half.
3. Indent the top part of the log so it resembles a jellybean.
4. Stick it onto the cake.
1. Make a thin layer of crispy rice. Stick it in between the arms/legs.
2. Wait for it to cool, then add another layer onto that.
3. Keep the layers rounded. Be sure to build right to the top, but leave room for the ingredients.
4. Fill holes and gaps in with more crispy treats
1. Slather frosting onto areas where you want the toad to have large bumps of skin.
2. Press a jelly bean firmly into the frosting.
Step 7: Eyes
Tools: Round silicone mold, CLEAN NEVER USED paintbrush, sculpting tools.
Materials: Modeling chocolate, gel food coloring, metallic food coloring, vodka, white icing.
Sadly, we rushed on the toads eyes. Our original plan was to paint as seen here on 3D modeling chocolate and dip it in isomalt so it would be shiny and extra realistic. However, these still turned out nicely. Just in case you want to try out our original idea, I've included an eyeball picture (link here: https://imgur.com/a/OzAz9UU). Or just use the picture for edible paper/isomalt, or even just as a reference!
1. Make 17 semi-sphere of white modeling chocolate in various sizes.
2. Indent the toad-skin modeling chocolate with your fingers or a tool, then gently shove the eye into place.
3. Place a skin-matching modeling chocolate snake around the eye, then carve details into it.
4. When it's firm, mix vodka and food coloring to create a base coat for the eye. Paint the eye, then wipe it mostly off. Then repeat this twice, until you have a cool layered effect.
5. Paint the pupils like goat pupils, and after they dry, add tiny dots of white icing for highlight.
Step 8: Skin Details/Painting the Toad
Tools: sculpting tools, VERY CLEAN PAINTBRUSH, bowl
Materials: Water, modeling chocolate, vodka.
This is where 2 hours was spent watching old TV shows from the early 2000s. And sculpting, of course. Set at least that amount of time aside for this, because you don't want to stop working on it and return to it later. Just bang it all out. Use sculpting tools to score, scratch, stipple, just give him texture. If you look at close-up pictures of toad skin, you'll notice bumps and a repeating stretched checkerboard pattern. I attempted to mimic that, but you can decorate it however you want.
Sculpting the Skin:
1. Detail the heck out of the toad with sculpting tools.
2. Use water and a clean paintbrush to soften edges.
Adding Paint Details:
3. Use vodka and gel food coloring for the toad's paint. How you paint it it up to you, I just used darker, grosser tones to create low lights, and let the original skin be highlights.
3. Let the water/vodka evaporate.
Step 9: Worms
Tools: Stove, spatula, bowl, fridge, scissors.
Materials: Worm ingredients (listed below), straws, green/blue food coloring, rubber bands.
(instructions/ingredients straight from Instructables "Bowl of Worms, Anyone?")
"2 packs (3 oz) Raspberry jello
1 pkg unflavored gelatin (for extra firmness)
3/4 cup whipping cream
3 cups boiling water
15 drops green food coloring
100 flexible straws (or enough to fill your container)
And now: perhaps the most famous Instructable of all time: Jello worms. The same jello worms any 12 year old you know has stumbled upon once on the internet. The same jello worms you've book marked to make for Halloween since 2014. WELL, you can un-bookmark that page, because we're making THOSE worms for this project. Side note: use more straws/jello than you think you need, because you could make a mistake and end up with far fewer worms than you want (like us in this case).
1. Combine gelatin in a heatsafe bowl and add boiling water.
2. Let it cool to lukewarm and then add the whipping cream and 10 drops green/4 drops blue food coloring.
3. Gather your stetched straws and put them in your tall container. (It's important that the straws have a tight fit so the jello stays in the straws) "For this reason, a 1 liter carton may be better; you will probably get longer worms since there is a tighter fit. If you have a bigger container, a rubber band around the straws is helpful. Or you could just add more straws to fill the container"
4. "Add the gelatin mixture to the straw-filled container and let it set until firm.
5. There are multiple ways you can remove the worms from the straws. You can roll a rolling pin over the straws and squeeze them out or you can hold the straws over warm water. The worms will slip right out."
Step 10: Spiders and Slugs
Tools: Knife, toothpick, stove, pan, bag, rolling pin.
Materials: Butter, licorice, red sprinkles, white icing, red food coloring, the white/yellow halves of gummi worms, parchment paper.
The spiders took about 80 minutes, but they're very worth it. After all the chopping and toothpick dotting, you'll have a spider army of 20. And who doesn't want that?
However, you might not want slugs. They do look pretty gross (but taste pretty good). The slugs take about 20 minutes depending on how picky you are or if you're running out of worms. These creepy critters are sure to make any little boy thrilled/adult reasonably grossed out.
1. Cut tiny, thin sections of round licorice.
2. Use a tiny knife to individually cut eight little legs and an abdomen for a spider.
3. Create indents in the face for two, tiny red sprinkles
4. Mix white icing and red food coloring and add 6, tiny paint eyes.
5. Sit back and squeal in glee at your new hairy, many eyed babies.
1. Cut a two colored gummi worm in half, saving only the white/yellow halves (the other colors will be used later for belly filling)
2. Put the stovetop on low heat, and add a small amount of butter to a pan.
3. Place the end of the gummi worm into the pan, twisting it so it melts into a rounded shape. Then, throw the whole slug into the pan, rubbing it's underside against the pan.
4. When it starts to melt, pull it off of the pan and slide it onto parchment paper so its sides ooze out.
5. Add details with food coloring/cocoa powder to make them seem even grosser.
Step 11: Filling the Belly!
Tools: Sculpting tools, a spoon/rolling pin, bowl.
Materials: Slugs, spiders, worms, gummi candies, modeling chocolate, Oreos.
Time for the treats... MUuAuuAUhAHhAH.
Oreo Dirt/Nabisco Dirt:
1. Get a package of Oreos, and separate the filling from the cookies (because those two don't belong together, as the cookies are far superior than that nasty cream >:) )
2. Place the cookies in a tightly sealed bag.
3. Smash them with a rolling pin, the back of a spoon, etc, until they're nice and pulverized.
"Instead of buying Oreos for the dirt, use "Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers" as they are the same thing as Oreos, but without any filling."
1.Take everything (excluding the gummi candies) and mix them together so Oreo dirt is gently covering the components.
2. Carefully dump your mixture into the cavity. Do it in layers if you're running out of worms/nastiness, though. So dirt, worms/spiders/slugs, dirt, worms/spiders/slugs, dirt and worms/spiders/slugs.
3. ON THE OTHER SIDE, add the tamer candies, like normal gummi worms, rats cats and bats, sour snakes and gummi bears. This side is for the nerds who can't handle some slimy worms (looking at you, Mom!).
Step 12: Mushrooms/ Final Presentation
Tools: Your hands, spatula.
Materials: Modeling chocolate, Reeses, food coloring, frosting, Oreo dirt.
The toad is coming alive! We're so, so close to his monstrous rebirth! We just need to add what he's sitting on/ some friendly fellows for his surroundings.
1. Evenly spread frosting onto the aluminum foil stand.
2. Sprinkle handfuls of Oreo dirt over it, patting it gently so it sticks. Be sure to fill in the gaps you couldn't catch with frosting.
**Thank you to Cate, Lizzy and Aslinn for creating these modeling chocolate critters!**
These are incredibly easy to create, so I didn't include pictures. Just take a Reeses peanut butter cup and ensconce it in modeling chocolate. Then shape, color and play with it till your heart's content. Look at the "Reeses Gang" above for some inspiration if you can't figure out what to make.
Step 13: Final Presentation!
The glowing ooze ripples. Dry, bumpy umber skin bursts through the slime, spraying foul droplets onto the surrounding shrubbery! 17 eyes blink horribly. Gigantic webbed hands latch onto a toxic barrel. A disgruntled expression breaches the surface... And finally, our toad emerges!!
WITNESS HIM! HE IS...
And now, we must say goodbye to Herb. Because we will eat him. Because he is cake.
Herb's tricky treat reveal is coming soon...
Thank you for visiting this instructable!! We hope to see many toad cakes in the next few months, or even next year! :)
Sixth Prize in the
Halloween Contest 2018