Monday, April 14, 2008

Make an Anatomically Correct Brain Cake - wikiHow


How to Make an Anatomically Correct Brain Cake


from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

If ever you're in the mood, or in the company of neuroscientists with something to celebrate, you may have need to create an anatomically correct brain cake.

Steps


  1. Choose an illustration as your pattern. Look for something without a lot of detail, but enough to create the major brain areas. Google Images (http://images.google.com) should return a few options. Print and cut out a pattern that is the correct size for your cake.
  2. Bake your cake. Be aware when you're planning to present your cake, the final cake will be 1.5-2" (4-5cm) wider then your template. Two 9" (23cm) rounds were sufficient for the cake in these pictures. Bake the cake according to the directions on the box. Let it cool completely. Meanwhile...
  3. Make at least 1 batch of marshmallow fondant (depending on the size of your cake), and color it with food coloring. 4 drops of red, 4 drops of yellow, and 2 drops of green makes a good grey matter color. The marshmallow fondant article does not recommend using any butter or shortening for greasing hands and work spaces, but a slightly shiny texture is not undesirable here, so use as much as you want because it gets very sticky.
  4. Assemble your cake. Stack each layer with a small amount of filling. Don't over do it with the filling or they may slide around. Do not frost the outside of your cake.
  5. Position your pattern on top of the cake, and score the cake with a knife to leave the outline of your pattern in the cake.
  6. Remove the pattern and carefully carve the cake into the shape of your pattern. You can cut each piece off in sections to make it easier. Don't worry if it's not perfect, since everything will eventually be covered with frosting and fondant. Slightly round the sharp edges.
  7. Frost your cake completely.
  8. Powder your work surface with a good amount of corn starch. Pinch off a lemon-sized ball of marshmallow fondant and roll it out to about 1/4-1/8" (3-6mm) thick.
  9. Work one cortex (area) at a time.
    • Wrinkle, mold, stretch, and otherwise manhandle the rolled fondant into grey matter, and then use your rounded form to do the final shaping of the cortex. Use your cut-out pattern as a guide and take your time. You can always mash it back into a ball, add some water and start over.
    • Carefully place the finished piece onto the frosted cake. Trim any excess with a pizza cutter.
    • Repeat for each cortex.
    • When you come to the cerebellum (the walnut-shaped structure near the back of the brain), roll a lime-size ball of fondant very thin, 1/8" (3mm) thick. Fold back and forth like a fan and then flatten slightly for the desired effect.

  10. Add the brain stem. Roll out your fondant and lay it on flat. Trim excess with a pizza cutter. Once you've covered the entire cake you're done!


Tips


  • Pipe names of brain regions using colored frosting.
  • Use chocolate chips to make an EEG grid. Pipe on the numbers. A plastic bag filled with 1 tablespoon of white frosting makes a great fine-tipped pastry bag in a pinch. Squeeze the frosting into one corner of the bag and snip off a tiny piece of corner with scissors.
  • Use shortening or butter to grease hands and work surface while making marshmallow fondant.
  • Grease the fondant ball with shortening or butter and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Keep the extra wrapped up while molding brain regions.
  • If your fondant becomes dry, work in some water a few drops at a time.


Things You'll Need


  • 2 9" Round cake pans
  • Boxed cake mix
  • 1 to 2 batches of marshmallow fondant
  • Long, sharp knife
  • Frosting
  • Corn starch
  • Rounded form (upside down glass bowl, easter egg cake pan)
  • Pizza cutter
  • Colored frosting for piping (optional)
  • Chocolate chips (optional)


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