My favorite childhood memory of 4th of July is the neighborhood parade that ended with a bbq and cake contest. I won’t be home this year, but I still made a cake
I used this classic white cake recipe which I then divided in 3 and to make red, white, and blue cake tiers. Again, avoiding non-stick pans because of the chemicals, the old fashioned way still works great for releasing cakes from pans (in fact, it works better in my humble opinion). Just use the wrappers from the butter and maybe a few pieces that get stuck in the corners to grease the pan. Then add 1T of flour and shake the pan until the flour sticks to all the butter. Then add batter to the pan and bake as usual. I filled the layers and frosted with plain old classic buttercream frosting, because there is nothing better. I always do a crumb coat, which is when you spread the frosting very very thin over the cake and it will be full of crumbs and that’s fine, that’s it’s purpose. It is kamikaze frosting. It sacrifices itself to trap all the crumbs. Then you wash off the spatula and do a thicker coat over it. No crumbs in the frosting!
- 1/4 c coconut oil
- 1/4 c light corn syrup
- 2 c powdered sugar, plus up to 1/2 additional cup
- pinch of salt
- 1 t rum
- food coloring
Mix up the first 4 ingredients, adding additional sugar after it is mixed until it reaches a clay-like consistency. This will vary based on room temperature and humidity in the air. In general, refrigerating will make it harder, and kneading will make it softer as needed. Use three additional bowls, for red, yellow, and “black” colored clay.
Black clay: mix 1/4 c clay and 1/4 c leftover bakers chocolate mix. Add 5 drops each blue and red food coloring until it is a dark blackish brown. The chemicals it takes to make true black are not worth ingesting, trust me.
Roll out the black clay about 6″ by 6″ by 1/6″ thick. Use a paring knife to cut out the shapes indicated in the insignia. You can ball it up and re-roll it as many times as you want to get the shape how you want it. Start building the eagle’s head with the other colors, and use a tooth pick and/or paring knife to manipulate the clay. To make the letters, roll very small ropes of clay about 1-2″ long at a time (any more will just break). Again, use the knife gently to shape the letters, the flat edge of the blade to straighten and the point to push.
The next step is to make the chocolate dog tag. I used 4 squares bakers chocolate with 1t coconut oil and 1/2 c powdered sugar, melted the chocolate, and poured into a mini pyrex pan lined with plastic wrap. This will give it a little bit of texture, but since I antique it with dark gunmetal luster dust anyway, it’s not incongruent. Put in the fridge to chill. Once it is cold, use a skewer to first lightly mark the letters and then evenly scrape the letters so that they appear to be imprinted like a dog tag. I sprayed with duff cake graffiti in silver because I saw it on clearance a while back. It’s a very light shiny silver, and if thats the look you want, that’s your product. I then dipped my fingers in gunmetal luster dust (edible glitter) and antiqued the dog tag, working the darker especially into the letters. Then I rolled balls of the leftover black clay and rolled in the leftover luster dust to make a ball chain for finishing the cake.
Then it’s a fairly simple matter of rolling out the red and blue clay between sheets of wax paper and slicing strips for stripes and cutting out “stars” with a straw. If the clay doesn’t stay stuck in the straw and come right out, just use the tip of your knife to pop it out. Pop the insignia on top and you’re nearly there. Add a light fresh layer of buttercream to the sides and stick the metallic beads side by side around the top and bottom edges, careful to cover any seams. Use any leftover clay to make a little stand for your dog tag to hold it in place so it doesn’t fall over or slide. Fini! Er…Done! I guess even though the French played a critical role in our bid for independence, since that whole “freedom fries” thing it’s de rigueur (shit, sorry again) not to use French when we talk about ‘Merica.