Greetings, Earthlings! This year for Halloween, we are having a Mysteries of the Unknown party. Our night will be chock full of aliens, paranormal activity, ghosts, and mysterious witchcraft! Here is one of my food offerings: a floating UFO abducting a cute grass-grazing little cow. It may look daunting, but I promise it's easy. I like making themed cakes and this has been one of the quickest ones yet! I hope you try it out by using this Instructable. Happy Halloween!
You can make your cakes any flavour you like, whether it's homemade or boxed. I went with lemon cake for the UFO and orange cake for the patch of grass below. I used a 10" cake pan with a flaring lip (for that flying saucer look) for the large part of the UFO, a mini stainless steel baking bowl for the top dome, and a 7" cake pan for the grass. If you use these measurements, you'll probably want a large cake recipe or 1.5 boxes of cake mix for the UFO part, and a standard cake recipe (or less) for the bottom portion. If you're doing all one flavour for the top and bottom, just use enough cake batter for 2 standard cakes and use more for the UFO! :)
You will need:
- cake batter
- cake pans (10", small dome, 7")
- parchment paper
- mini spatula or flat butter knife
- 24 ounces white chocolate chips
- 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
- fondant (white, yellow, red)
- rolling pin
- sifted powdered sugar for dusting
- fondant embosser/cutting tool
- flat round cake board (I used the pop-out bottom of a tart pan)
- silver cake spray
- small round pastry cutter
- small plastic toy cow
- clear fishing line
- packing tape
- clear acrylic tumbler cup
- green frosting with serrated piping tip
- 1 strand LED fairy lights with blink mode setting
- black electrical tape
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Step 1: Bake the Cakes
Bake your cakes per the recipe you're using. I used a large lemon cake recipe in a large pan and small dome pan.
I used a small orange cake recipe for the base of the cake where the cow grazes. I slightly crumpled some parchment paper to line this cake pan with so when it finished, the edges of the cake came out rough like the earth!
Allow the cakes to cool, then remove from pans and finish cooling completely on a rack. Trying to carve and maneuver warm cakes is usually a disaster! :)
Step 2: Carve the Cakes
When the cakes are completely cooled, it's time to carve them. Trim off any protruding lips around the edges. Turn the largest cake upside down onto the flat round cake board and give it a dramatic slanted cut all the way around. I used the pop-out bottom to a tart pan for this. It's so thin it really hides under the cake so it does not take away from the floating appearance.
Step 3: Knead Your Fondant
I like to knead the fondant well before it's time to decorate so it's easier to work with. Just take it out, knead it with your hands and allow it to rest. I used about 2lb of white fondant, and just a bit of red and yellow. I usually make my own fondant from scratch but I was in a hurry so I used Wilton's boxed fondants. I got a box in white and an assorted minis box in primary colours.
Step 4: Make Your Ganache
The ganache will be the glue between the cake and the fondant. In a heat-proof bowl, add your white chocolate chips.
Pour heavy cream in a saucepan and heat until little bubbles form around the edges, but do not boil. Pour this over the white chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Stir your ganache and let it sit a bit. You want the end product to be a peanut butter like consistency when you're ready to frost.
Step 5: Assemble Main UFO Saucer
Smear on a thin even coating of the ganache on the large cake on the flat board. Let it sit a bit so it dries out. While it's doing that, roll out your fondant.
Use a big, clean, flat work surface to roll out your fondant. I use a big rolling pin dusted in some sifted powdered sugar so it won't stick. Roll it out larger than the cake surface, a little thicker than 1/8" thick. Roll the fondant onto the rolling pin towards you, then drape it over the cake to cover. Smooth it out. Trim around the edges with the cutter or a sharp knife.
Use your fondant embosser to make lines around the saucer. I put pie shape lines to make 8 wedges.
Emboss around the top edge of the saucer too. This will give it a nice industrial metal look to it.
Step 6: Assemble UFO Glass Dome
Make a marble effect by mixing an equal amount of white fondant with yellow fondant and giving it a good twist.
Roll it out onto a clean work surface, a little thicker than 1/8" thick. Back roll onto your rolling pin, then drape over the small dome cake. Trim the edges of the fondant off.
Take a ball of white fondant and roll it into a thickish rope. This will go around the base of the glass dome.
Step 7: Adding a Metallic Sheen and Red Lights
Before you attach the yellow glass dome, spray paint the base of the UFO with the silver cake spray. Spray the long rope you also just rolled out. Let dry. While you're waiting, roll out the red fondant to a bit thicker than 1/8". Cut out little circles with your pastry cutter.
Use a bit of ganache to attach the red lights around the wedges you embossed around the UFO.
Now use some ganache to prop the dome on top of the UFO base, then wrap the silver fondant rope around the bottom.
Here is a link to pastry cutters on Amazon but you can use any round lip object like the tops to bottles, etc. :)
Step 8: Making the Cow Float
Wrap some fishing line around the cow and secure with a couple of knots.
Place the other end of the fishing line flush against the base of the inside of the tumbler and tape into place. You might have to adjust this length a few times to make sure that the cow is floating well above the lip of the cup.
Step 9: Assemble the Grassy Patch Cake
Place the 3rd cake upside down on a big cake platter. Use the green frosting with a serrated piping tip to create wispy grass. Leave the sides of the cake unfrosted so it looks like uncovered earth!
Very gently place the cow and clear tumbler in the center of the grass patch.
Step 10: Full Assembly and UFO Lights
Gently place the UFO on top of the tumbler so it's centered. It will sink down just a touch due to the weight, but it will be okay! :) This cake definitely looks best with a black background, so do what I'm doing and drape a black bed sheet behind it!
Between the base of the UFO and the thin platter it's resting on, string the LED fairy lights. Cover the lights you don't want seen (going down the back of the cup) in black tape. Set the fairy lights onto blink mode and enjoy the show! Then, um, eat the show. After you remove the plastic bits. ;)