I originally saw this idea in Parade magazine a month or so ago, and both of my grandsons had a birthday coming up. My daughter agreed that the boys would love them, so this was our project for the big birthday bash last weekend.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED (for one cake)
There's no special pan needed, just two round cake pans.
1 cake mix + ingredients as instructed on box
2 cans frosting OR 2 batches of cake decorator icing (recipe below)
A few toothpicks
1 large marshmallow
1 peach gummy ring
Decorator Icing (optional)
(two batches are needed for 1 cake)
1 cup Crisco
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Prepare and bake cake mix as instructed on the box; cool. Turn one layer upside-down so the flat side is facing up. Spread about 1/2 cup of frosting over the surface and top with the remaining layer, flat side down. The two flat sides should be together. You can see (below) there was a mishap with one of the layers. I just stuck it together with icing and it was fine.
At this point, put the cake in the freezer for a couple hours (or overnight). That way it won't crumble as you cut and assemble it.
While the cake is in the freezer, cut the marshmallow in half crosswise. Place a dab of icing in the middle of each piece on the uncut side and attach a brown M&M. Set aside and allow the candy to adhere.
Remove the cake from the freezer and cut off a slice about 2-1/2 inches at the widest part (see photo above); then cut off 1/3 of this slice. That 1/3 will be the fin, and the other 2/3 will be the tail.
Place the three pieces of cake on a serving platter with the largest piece standing on the cut side, the smallest piece alongside it to make the fin and the remaining piece on the small cut edge to make the tail. Coat everything with one thin layer of icing if using my recipe. Allow it to harden. This will be the crumb coat, locking in all the crumbs so they won't show up on the outer layer.
Put on a second layer of frosting, smooth over the face area. I used a leaf tip (104) to make scales on the rest of the body, but it works just as good to put the icing on thick and form scales using the back side of a spoon.
I used a "grass" tip (233) to make the long strands covering the fin and tail, but you could also put a thick layer of frosting on these and either make lines in it with a toothpick or just leave it smoothed over.
Here's what we have so far - now we're ready for the finishing touches!
Adhere an eye to each side of the fish's face using icing. I had a hard time keeping these on the fish, so I ended up using a toothpick through each eye to hold them on.
Using icing, adhere the peach ring on the lower front side for the mouth.
Press the M&M's in the icing at random intervals to add "scales." I chose to color coordinate with the icing and voila!
Here are the birthday boys!
Two-year-old "Dude" being very careful...
and one-year-old "Bubba" - not so much!
They both loved their fishy cakes though!
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