One thing I love about food is its unparallelled ability to make me smile. Keep your alcohol and keep your drugs; I just want a towering slice of cake. Say the word “deep-fried,” and watch me turn into a gleeful five year-old. Offer me some french fries, and see me jump for joy. Give me chocolate, and I’ll be your best friend.
There’s no quicker path to happiness than food. Sure, drugs and alcohol might give you a sense of bliss, but that stuff is going to take some time to set in. Food, on the other hand, will slap a smile on your face in a millisecond.
Case and point: this Turtle Cake. His smile is infectious (and edible). Just about everyone loves turtles, and just about everyone loves cake, which makes this turtle treat a double threat. One of those things is bound to appeal to you. And if you happen to not like turtles and/or cake, then I don’t think you have a soul, and we probably shouldn’t be friends.
Cake shaped like a turtle is enough to make anyone grin, but I’ll give you one more reason: you can make this. Yes, you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pastry chef or a boxed mix baker; this impressive and adorable cake is easy and on your level. All you need to do is bake the body in an oven-proof bowl, bake the feet & head in cupcake tins, frost, and decorate! There’s no complicated carving or fancy techniques necessary. And if you’re frightened by fondant, never fear. Just use store-bought and roll it out; it’s that easy! But if you’re still shaking in your pants, check out my alternative options in the tips below.
If all else fails and this little turtle isn’t enough to make you smile, then perhaps you’ll get a kick out of my epic fail at the end of my video. Check it out!
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- Make sure you catch the video above! The visual makes it much easier to understand how to put this cake together.
- You can use a boxed cake mix if you promise to make homemade frosting. Store-bought is disgusting in comparison.
- Butter & flour the heck out of your pans to be sure your cake comes out clean.
- Don’t try to take your cakes out of the pans before they’re entirely cool or they’ll break into a million pieces. Trust me; I learned the hard way…
- Work with the fondant quickly so it doesn’t dry out.
- Afraid of fondant? As I mentioned above, you have a couple of alternatives:
- You can use blue sprinkles on the shell portion to contrast the green.
- You can frost the feet & head green, then frost the shell with chocolate frosting.
- You can use food gel to draw on the shell tiles.
By The Smart Cookie Cook
- 1 batch of your favorite cake batter, boxed mix or homemade (I used my Funfetti recipe)
- 1 batch Vanilla Buttercream, recipe follows
- Green food dye
- Red food gel
- 2 candy eyes OR white + black food gel OR 2 M&M’s (for the eyes)
- Brown fondant, or alternative (see tips above)
Special equipment: toothpicks, 1 1.5-quart oven-proof bowl like Pyrex, cupcake tin, pizza cutter
- Butter & flour the 1.5-quart bowl and 5 cupcake tins (or use liners for the cupcake tins). Prepare cake batter according to recipe directions. Fill bowl 2/3 then distribute remaining batter between the 5 cupcake tins, adding a bit more batter to one tin (this will be the head). Bake the bowl for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (the top may overbrown before the center cooks. Don’t worry; you can carve this off). Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool pans on wire racks. Once the cakes are completely cooled, run a knife around the edges of the pans and flip the cakes out. If either the cake or cupcakes have round, domed tops, carve them off so they have a flat surface to sit on.
- While the cakes cool, make the frosting:
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar, a little at a time, mixing on low speed. Mix until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another minute. Add vanilla, almond extract, cream, and several drops of green food dye and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more. Add more cream or powdered sugar if necessary to reach desired consistency, and add more green if you would like a more vibrant color.
- Place the shell cake on whatever surface you plan to serve it on. Frost the round shell cake, smoothing out the frosting evenly.
- Roll out the fondant as thin as possible. Use the pizza cutter to cut out large rectangles, then round the corners. Place the rectangles around the shell, making sure they adhere to the frosting.
- Use two toothpicks to attach the head cupcake to the front of the body. Then use two toothpicks per cupcake to attach the feet. Place them evenly around the radius of the shell cake. Frost the head and feet as cleanly as possible, using a small knife like a butter knife. If you like, use a slightly damp paper towel to clean up where you got frosting on the fondant.
- Use remaining fondant to cut out toes for the feet. Use a knife or the pizza cutter to cut. They should be shaped like ovals with flat bottoms.
- Attach two candy eyes to the front of the head cupcake, or use the white and black food gel to draw eyes on. Use the red food gel to draw on a mouth.
- Serve or store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.