Let me start by saying I’m not a baker. I have fond memories growing up of my Dad making me cool cakes from the “Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book”. This is a book that has sold over a million copies since it’s release in 1980 and has been a great inspiration for many families downunder. I’m pleased to say that the new era of google, youtube and forums have helped me recreate some of those cool memories I had from the 80’s for my kids who are now 4 and 7. When master 3 asked for a Blaze cake, I thought, why not... and turned to the interweb for inspiration.
Step 1: Form and Scale
I knew the cake had to be the right shape. master 3 is good at telling me when “it’s wrong daddy”. For scale I managed to find a paper craft project intended as a kids paper project via Nickelodeon Parents. You can find it at http://s3.amazonaws.com/nickelodeonparents.com-production/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/blaze-carCraft.pdf
I printed this for a few purposes, firstly to take scale measurements, but secondly to help with the finishing touches (see icing on the cake step later). I made a range of edits to size and layout for step 9.
Step 2: A Solid Foundation
Any cake that is going to sit up off the table needs a platform or base. Using the drawings I had, I decided on my scale, (about a foot long) and traced a base onto a thin piece of 7mm plywood. I know this is a baking instructable, but please bear with me for some brief carpentry. The base allows for some indents for wheel wells, and is shaped to match the side and front elevations of the blaze pictures. Simply draw with pencil and cut out with a jigsaw or scroll saw. For the suspension I simply angle cut 4 pieces of 10mm dowel and hot glued each piece to the underside. The whole thing is spray painted black, and some red electrical wire is wrapped around the dowels to look like springs. Glue the wire at each end to prevent unwinding.
Step 3: The Perfect Recipe
Any cake you intend to carve needs to be firm enough to hold it’s shape. Most pound cake recipes are pretty good although some can be a tad dry. I don’t intend publishing a “how to bake a pound cake” instructable here, but the following link is a really good place to start. Note that pound cakes can be dry, so note the tips on extra egg yolks and baking powder at https://www.theflavorbender.com/classic-pound-cake-guide-troubleshooting/ credit to the author on the linked site.
I love vanilla cakes so use vanilla essence, but you could flavour with any essence of your choice. Tip: Make a trial cake in the weeks leading up to your masterpiece, your work colleagues will thank you for taking one in to work, and it will give you a feel for consistency and quantity needed. I made two batches, one for the wheels and one for the body. Orange is my son’s favourite colour, so I added some food colouring.
Step 4: Starting to Shape Up
I used large cups with straight sides for baking the wheels, I had to buy these and they were a little tricky to find as for proper scale I needed something fairly wide. Note that baking in smaller containers is more like baking muffins or cupcakes, they need way less time to cook. My first batch was binned and I resorted to the skewer test the second time round. For the body of Blaze I made two layers in rectangle cake pans. I decided to make the top layer chocolate to compliment the vanilla. It looks a mess, but it all ends up covered. The layers are stuck together with butter cream and placed on the platform for carving. I rough cut the shape by putting the platform upside down on the upturned cakes prior to putting it on the platform for shaping.
Important: cut out some baking paper to sit between your cake and the painted wooden platform. You don’t really want cake touching your painted surface unless you are certain it is non toxic. Once turned over, I was concerned with the weight while carving, so I supported the base on cups. Cut out the side printouts from your paper blaze to help with carving the correct side profiles. Close enough is ok.
Step 5: Butter Is Better
I prefer butter cream to cream cheese frosting. For this cake I used chocolate. Make sure it is reasonably stiff and ensure you do a thin crumb coat on your chilled cake prior to adding a reasonably thick layer. There is also a layer between the vanilla and chocolate layers to hold them together. Chelsea do a good buttercream recipe... https://www.chelsea.co.nz/browse-recipes/yvettes-chocolate-buttercream-icing/
Step 6: This Is How I Roll
Rather than cutting indents for each hub, I pressed the end of my fondant roller in to make compressed indentations. Each of the wheels has a thin layer of butter cream followed by laying some black fondant icing over it. I buy ready made fondant as its easier than making it especially for solid black and red colours. The backs of the wheels are covered by fondant circles. The tread patterns are made by squashing a star shapped cookie cutter to make tread shapes. These are stuck to the wheels using a 50/50 icing sugar and water mix.
Step 7: Panel Beating
Roll out a sheet of red fondant and carefully drape over your cake allowing enough over the edges. I made some cuts in the centre so I could push it down into the cockpit. You can see where I have added extra pieces in the cockpit. I didnt allow quite enough for the front so added a piece for the front bumper. It actualky looks OK. Press fondant into you carved shape and smooth with a flat fondant smoother (this thing probably has a name).
Step 8: The Fiddly Bits
I made the window, spoiler, seats, steering wheel and mirrors out of fondant. Where I had pictures on my print out I used these as a template with baking paper over the top. The other bits I just used trial and error. The fiddly bits are stuck to the car using an icing sugar water mix, and for the bigger parts a toothpick is inserted for support. The seats and steering wheel went in first.
Step 9: Icing on the Cake
Here’s a secret... dont mess around making intricate fondant embellishments. You know that paper craft print out? I layed out the parts I wanted printed and emailed it to my local cake store to print directly onto an edible icing sheet. (Yes the inks are edible too). Hand cut each piece ready to stick to your cake using the same icing sugar and water mix used in previous steps. It cost about $12 for the printed sheet.
Step 10: The Wheels on the Car Go Round and Round
Actually, these wheels dont go round and round. But they do make good wee take home cakes for those special friends. Yes, the wheel hubs are printed icing too. I cut off the end of a 10ml syringe to punch a hole at the correct angle in each wheel to match the suspension. Carefully lift the platform and lower it into the wheel holes ensuring it is in the cake’s final resting place (a sturdy cake board or wooden board). You may need a friend for this step.
Step 11: “Leeeeeet's Blaze!!!"
Here are the finished pictures. I hand painted on my son’s name with edible paint (as license plates). I was intending to make a fondant road or grass underneath, but had already positioned the cake on the board and was over it by now, as I had already spent about 6 hours more than I intended to! I hope you like it, please vote in the baking contest if you do, master 3 certainly did!