Intro: You'll 'pine' for This Pineapple Cake
I've always wanted to try to make those amazing 3D caked they make on TV. I started with the standard single layers and eventually moved on to more interesting designs. This cake is my current favorite. To keep it simple, I used box cake mixes, pre-packaged fondant and frosting.
Step 1: Lets Make Our Leafy Greens!
The first step takes some pre-work. In order to allow the leaves enough time to dry and harden, they need to be made in advance. I like to make mine two days prior.
1. Roll out a very thin layer of fondant. I use the Wilton ready to use fondant in white.
2. Use a sharp knife to cut our the shape of your 'leaves'.
3. Press a thin wire into the back of each leaf and place a small bit of fondant over it.
4. Carefully...bend the wire and the leaf into desired shapes. I did some at more severe angles and some stayed fairly straight. Having a pineapple on hand for reference helps.
5. It's time to color! I like to use powdered pigments for coloring fondant. I mix a small amount of green with vodka in a bowl and start to paint away. Vodka (alcohol) dries faster and keeps your fondant from getting too soggy.
6. Make sure to give yourself two thumbs up. Apparently you deserve it...or the alcohol fumes are getting to you.
Step 2: Something to Stand On
Before I start baking I need something to put the final cake on. I knew the cake was going to be very tall and fairly heavy, so I went with a wood base with a dowel in the center for 'cake support'. I added small legs to the bottom of the base so it can be easily picked up and carried/moved.
I wrapped all wood portions in tinfoil and/or Saran Wrap.
Now is a good time to add the base for the pineapple. I used 1/2 of a Styrofoam ball with a cardboard cake round on top.
Step 3: Let's Get Cooking!
I made four layers of yellow cake and 1/2 of a soccer ball cake mold for the top of this cake. Again, I just used plain out of the box cake mix. It also appears that I used 1/2 box of toothpicks to make sure the cake was done.
Once your cakes have baked, let them cool completely.
You will need to make a hole in the center of each cake in order for them to go over the wood dowel.
I just eyeballed the center and used a small shot glass to make each hole.
Stack each layer onto the base and roughly shape out your pineapple.
Step 4: Little Meringue Nubbins
It's time to make our Meringue Nubbins, which I'm pretty sure is the official term for these little meringue bits.
You can use any meringue recipe, this is the one I use:
3 large egg whites (room temperature)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (not really necessary for this one)
Separate the egg whites into a bowl making sure there is no yolk. Add cream of tartar and beat with a mixer until soft peaks start to form. Very slowly add your sugar and continue to beat until the peaks are stiff and slightly glossy. Add vanilla and mix well.
Fill pastry bag and us a star tip. Pipe out very small 'nubs' onto parchment paper and bake at 200F for 30-45 minutes. They are very small and don't take long to cook. Allow them to cool completely.
Once cooled, I used a torch to brown the surface and edges just slightly. Toss in a container and set aside.
Step 5: Let's Put a Coat on That Pineapple
Frosting and wrapping the cake took some work.
I used a store bought buttercream frosting and added pineapple chunks (well drained).
Frosting was added between each layer of cake with a thin crumb coat to the outside.
FONDANT WRAP! This was the hard part. Unfortunately my attempts to pre-dye my fondant didn't work well, so I ended up using white fondant and then some food safe "spray paint" to color my pineapple. I carefully rolled out a large piece of fondant and wrapped the pineapple.
I live in a warmer state and the cake ended up spending a lot of time in the fridge between being worked on.
The green was a little bright, so I added some brown shading on the outside with cocoa powder.
Finally, the meringue nubs are attached with small bits of frosting.
Step 6: TaDa
Finally, add your pineapple leaves to the top very carefully and you're done!