Tuesday, March 11, 2008

'Dessert' camo a piece of cake

It's a shame shaping a real country isn't as easy as making a cake. Yes, our Iraq cake has some crumbs, a few corners aren't as sharp as the political lines dividing Iraq. But, basically, this mixture of buttercream and red velvet goodness came together in a few steps, much assembly required.

Two 9-by-13 red velvet cakes were used in the shaping of this nation (recipe follows). Originally, there were three colors of frosting, but we ended up going with simplicity and a basic desert tan copied from the shade of dessert (oops) desert camo the Army uses.

The cakes were frozen (can't carve a spongy cake), carved individually using an outline of Iraq. The northeastern part of the country is pretty jagged, so those areas were rather intricate to carve. The southwestern border -- nice and smooth.

The layers were then then stacked and frosted. The frosting was pretty thick, very buttery.

About a quart of frosting was used for all the nooks and crannies.

The result: Iraq. In the finished picture, the southern tip of Iraq is pointed to the right.

Red Velvet Cake

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 oz red food coloring
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda
1 tablespoons vinegar
Cream shortening; beat in sugar gradually. Add eggs, one at a time; beat well after each addition. Make paste of cocoa and food coloring; add to creamed mixture. Add salt, flour and vanilla alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Sprinkle soda over vinegar; pour vinegar over batter. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Bake in 3 8-inch pans or 2 9-inch pans for 30 minutes at 350.

Buttercream frosting

1 pound confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
Food coloring (optional)
In large bowl, beat together sugar, butter, vanilla and milk until smooth. If necessary add more milk until frosting is spreading consistency. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring. Mix everything well.
Chocolate buttercream frosting - add 1/2 cup cocoa powder.