Start this Penguin Birthday Cake Design with five layers (or more if you want a taller penguin) of 8 inch round cakes. Trim the tops so they stack evenly and "glue" them together with a frosting of your choice. Wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them for at least four hours - this makes trimming them so easy with much fewer crumbs.
To get the domed shape for the head, just trim around the edge of the top cake (using a bread knife) at an angle. It's best to take a little off because you can always go around again and trim some more - but if your trim too much, you're stuck.
I used homemade buttercream icing and tons of black Wilton gel food coloring for the frosting. Afterwards I realized that I could've started with chocolate frosting to make turning it black much easier! Apply a thin crumb coat and refrigerate for an hour. Apply the final coat of frosting and smooth it out the best you can.
I used fondant and gel food coloring to make all the facial features and the party hat. I just rolled out the fondant with a rolling pin and cut out the shapes with a paring knife or a circle cookie cutter. The fondant sticks right to the frosting and to apply the eys or the dots on the hat I used a paint brush with bit of water as "glue" to stick fondant to fondant. The hat can be make ahead of time, and actually needs a day to set/dry so the cone shape doesn't collapse under its own weight. You could also use a real party hat. The nose is also a cone shape and I stuck a toothpick halfway through it so I could kind of "spear" it into the cake and make it stay put.
Be forewarned that anyone who eats this cake will have a bright magenta-colored tongue for awhile afterwards (all that black food coloring!).
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