I love tall cakes. I know they are difficult to cut and serve but I feel they look very sophisticated. I had sheet pan lying in my closet but I never even removed the packaging around it. Until recently when a client specifically asked for sheet cake. I tried to convince him to go for round tiered cakes but he was very sure he wanted sheet cake (ease of cutting and serving). So out came my sheet pan and I baked my very first sheet cake 🙂
The cake order was for 1 yr old boy who loves cars. When working on the cake designs I realized sheet cakes give a big canvas to work on so you can actually represent the theme well. The design that was finalized was a racing track in the shape of 1. It was a pinterest inspired design. I wont take any credit for it.
The flavors were pineapple cake with coconut buttercream. I had used this flavor combination in my beach cake for a summer party which was a huge hit. But I personally thought the cake needed more pineapple (y) flavor. The pineapple flavor is very subtle (compared to the coconut flavor) that merely adding juice to the cake batter doesn’t work. Luckily I had some freeze dried pineapple chunks. So I blitzed it into fine powder and added it to the pineapple juice before adding in the cake batter. It seemed to work well. For the coconut buttercream I simply added coconut extract to my swiss meringue buttercream.
I baked 2 layers of pineapple cake. Then I used pineapple juice instead of simple syrup and for the filling I used a light layer of coconut buttercream with some small chunks of unsweetened pineapple randomly spread on the top. After placing the second layer on top I did a quick crumb coat to seal all the crumbs. Then I iced the sides of the cake like one would normally do for square cakes but for the top I added only a light layer of buttercream dyed green.
Now the fun begins – decorations! To create checkered flag effect on the sides I used black fondant for the black squares. My cake was 2″ tall. So I decided to make 1″ squares. I was winging that this would work length wise too. It worked fairly well on all the 4 sides. I just moved few pieces to fill up the extra gap if any at the end.
To make the road in the shape of 1 , I first drew a sketch on the cake using a toothpick and once I was happy with the shape I measured the sides of the sketch. Mixing white gum paste and black fondant I created the gray shade that I wanted. The reason I used white gum paste was to ensure that it dries quicker. Then rolling this fondant to about 1/4″ thick I used the measurements of the sketch to create the desired shape and let it dry out a bit.
For the grass I used wilton tip 233 and filled the bag with green buttercream. Now making a grass green SMBC is not easy. It took some trials and errors to achieve the perfect result. Holding the tip vertical I started piping the grass on top of the cake except where the ‘road’ was marked. My tip was acting weird that day. Initial few squeezes worked fine but after that every other squeeze would give a big green blob. I had to wipe the tip several times to get the proper effect. It was very frustrating. Have you ever faced this issue?
Once the grass was piped and my fondant road was semi dry I placed the road in its marked position. I totally missed covering the seams where the 2 pieces of road meet 😦 . Then I created another checkered pattern to put at the 2 ends of the road. For the road divider I rolled a thin piece of white gum paste and cut thin short stripes and placed them in the middle of the road equidistant from each other.
To create the banner I used bamboo skewers cut to the right size and white gum paste cut into rectangle. I used edible marker to write the words. I let it dry for couple of hours before inserting them into the cake. I found a tiny car in the toy shop perfect for this cake.
The bright green color and tropical flavor gave this cake a very summery feel on a cold November day!