Yes, I made a squid cake. It's almost ghastly, isn't it?! So much icing, so little cake. Why a squid?
Not long after starting my job last year and revealing my interest in baking, Rhona told me of her obsession with squids and a long-held dream for a squid cake. After exclaiming that I couldn't make anything of the sort, I went to my old friend Google for some advice. Google had, of course, seen and done this sort of thing before and he basically told me that making a squid cake would really make my new colleague's heart sing. So I saved a few images and waited for her birthday to roll around to take on the challenge.
Fast forward a few months to last Sunday night when I spent an evening with a cake, two boxes of Orchard ready made icing and a lot of food dye. The cake needed to be something dense to withstand the weight of the icing so I went with a pound cake. I chose the recipe for purely selfish reasons as I wanted to make use of a birthday gift from my big brother - Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2 by Julia Child and Simone Beck. To ice the cake and create a base for the squid, I decided on a fluffy meringue icing that I have used and written about previously (click here for recipe). When dyed blue and spooned on in peaks, this created an ocean for our little sea creature!
Then the work of manipulating the ready made icing began. I sprinkled red Queen food colouring into the icing and kneaded away, adding more and more colouring to reduce the pink look. Eventually I had to stop adding colouring as it was making the icing too moist and hard to roll (I'll have to try food colouring pastes). To create the squid's head, I secured a rounded, upturned dip bowl onto a small, round cake (make by cooking some of the pound cake batter in a ramekin) with icing, then covered it in the rolled icing and placed it in the centre of the 'ocean' (larger cake). The eye is a large white chocolate covered in uncoloured meringue icing with a mini M&M as the eyeball. The tentacles are pure sugar! Just rolled logs of ready made icing shaped at the ends and dangled over the cake.
To cut a long story short, Rhona's birthday at work was made a little sweeter with a very heavy squid. It was more a sugar sculpture than a cake given the overwhelming proportion of icing but the birthday girl seemed to love it. It was so nice for me to make a cake that made someone else so excited. Two singing hearts!