Here’s a cake I made for my friends birthday. More information and photos can be found on my blog here…

The cake was a 20cm round white chocolate mudcake (recipe on blog). White chocolate butter cream frosting:

1/2 cup solid copha (vegetable shortening)

1/2 cup butter at room temperature

40 g white chocolate melted

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

500 g sifted icing sugar

3-4 tbsp milk

Desired food colouring (I used red)

Cream shortening and butter.

Add the white and vanilla. Gradually add sugar one cup at a time beating well on medium speed scraping down the sides of the bowl as required. When all sugar has been mixed in icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add food dye until you are happy with the colour.

Decoration:

Orchard icing Red

Food dye

Sour straps

Pink jelly snakes – the harder these are the better so go for the cheapo brands. I used the snakes out of a packet of ‘Dip Dunk chew’

Make the Cake:

Place your cake onto a chopping board and using a sharp knife cut out your cake into the shapes in the template. Carve away the sharp edges to create a smooth rounded body. Transfer your cake to your prepared board. Place two slices of baking paper underneath the cake. After you have iced the cake you will slide these out (you won’t messy up your board that way). Attach the head of the axolotl to the body using a bamboo skewer.

Ice your Cake:

Smother your cake all over with icing using a metal spatula. For finer areas like the inner curve of the tail I use a butter knife. Smooth out most of the creases in the icing using a metal knife or spatula dipped into very hot water. You will set the icing and repeat this later so just get the worst of the creases out now.

Add the Legs and Dorsal Fin:

Make the legs by adding a bit of food colouring to your Orchard icing and kneed it through until the colour is uniform. Pull off a clump and roll into a sausage. Flatten one end slightly between your thumb and forefinger and then make 3 cuts to make the toes. Press to the side of the body.

Lightly dust your clean dry work surface with icing sugar. Roll out a strip of Orchard icing so its 3-4mm thickness and 3cm wide (you will need to work out the length depending on your own cake but mine was from the top of the head to the middle of the tail). Arrange the dorsal fin along the length of the axolotl.

The Gills:

Take your jelly ‘snakes’ and cut them 4-5cm long sections. You will need 6 in total. Make slit down one end. With your sour straps cut them into 6 x 3cm squares. Cut 10 slits down the sides of each square to make the furry gill segments – do not cut right the way to the middle! Slip the sour strap into the slot in the snake and trim the sour strap “gills” so the top bits are shorter (see diagram). Squeeze closed. The stickiness of the snakes should keep the sour strap gills in place. Poke them into the head. I didn’t have any trouble with them staying in place but if you do I would suggest poking a tooth pick into the “snake” and then poking that into the head.

The Eyes:

Roll a small amount of the Orchard icing into a ball. Flatten slightly. I used a coriander seed (oh yes!) for the pupil because it was the only thing I could find in the cupboard. But you could use mini M&Ms or those little silver ball things or whatever else you find in your cupboard.

Finishing Off:

Leave the cake in the fridge for about an hour or so to allow the icing to set. Run a hot knife (a metal knife or spatula dunked in hot water) to smooth over your axolotl’s icing. Mop up any messy bits on your display tray with a paper towel – or ear bud for fine parts!

Axolotl Cake

Axolotl Cake