Saturday, September 15, 2012

Elmo Birthday Cake

For Camden's 2nd birthday, his big brother Brek and I decided we would throw him an Elmo themed birthday party. At that time, he still couldn't eat dairy, chicken eggs, and corn. Since he had a pumpkin muffin for his 1st birthday treat, I really wanted to bake him an actual birthday cake. I could bake a cake that was free from dairy, chicken eggs, and corn. The problem was how I'd decorate it. To this day, I cannot find a corn free food coloring.

One day, we were watching Sesame Street movie on DVD. At the end credits, Brek saw a lot of food art in all kinds of Sesame Street characters. So the food art gave me an idea. I could bake a cake and decorate it using fruits and vegetables.

After searching for a cake recipe in cookbooks and on the internet, I found a Strawberry Cream Cake recipe at William-Sonoma website that I thought I could modify to accommodate Camden's diet. At that time, Camden could have quail eggs. I calculated that I'd need to crack open about 25 to 30 quail eggs. Separating the yolks was another challenge.

The cake turned out very light and fluffy. I highly recommend using kitchen scale to measure the flour, sugar, and eggs. Quail eggs are found in Asian grocery. You can substitute quail eggs with 3 duck eggs or 5 large chicken eggs.

Camden's Elmo Cake
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Strawberry Cream Cake
serves 8 to 10       

1 1/4 cups (5 oz) all-purpose flour (King Arthur)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (Featherweight or homemade)
25 - 30 quail eggs (8.5 oz), separated
1 1/4 cups (8.7 oz) granulated sugar
5 Tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (homemade)

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Spray Elmo cake pan with oil. Set aside.
  2. To make the cake, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Using a hand mixer, whip together egg yolks and sugar on medium speed.
  4. Add the boiling water and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combine.
  6. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites on medium speed until thick (soft peak). 
  7. Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.
  8. Spread the batter into Elmo cake pan.
  9. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  10. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  11. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan.
  12. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let it cool completely before decorating.
2 pints fresh blackberries... for Elmo's mouth and eyes
2 pints fresh strawberries... for Elmo's face
1 pint fresh raspberries... for any small space between strawberries
1 apple, halved... or his nose
Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread
1 cup chocolate chips, melted (Enjoy Life)
  1. Wash, dry, and cut all berries in half. Spread coconut spread lightly on the cake. (Coconut spread is used to glue the berries on to the cake. You can also try nut butter or homemade frosting.)
  2. Place the berries and apple onto Elmo cake as noted above.
  3. Use melted chocolate to write "Happy Birthday" message.
  4. Keep the cake refrigerated. Let the cake come to room temperature for 30 minutes before serve. Enjoy a slice of cake with ice cream.