I wanted a unique treasure chest cake for my daughter's Pirate birthday party but wanted everything to edible without fondant covering. I started out with 11x15x3 inch rectangle pan, baking 3 layers, (3 cake mixes) strawberry, (3) vanilla, and then for the top I used (2) chocolate, so it wasn't the full 3". I wanted to use all butter cream, so I made homemade butter cream without butter, used high ratio shortening with instant creme powder, along with butter extract so it would hold with Florida humidity.
Once I stacked the strawberry and vanilla, frosted the entire 2 layers. Let it stand for 10 minutes till it crusts over. I then used paper towels (Viva) and smoothed it with a fondant smoother till nice and smooth. Then I used a wood grain plastic sheet and applied the fondant smoother to get the grain look. This plastic sheet is generally used with fondant, but my daughter does not like fondant so I had to most of this cake without fondant! I wanted it to look old and rustic, like a real chest, and felt that I achieved it.
I did the same thing with the top and after placing bubble straws to hold the third layer up 1/2". I placed chocolate coins inside with candy jewelry. Placed thin rolled out strips of chocolate fondant as the leather strips along sides and top of chest. Then I smeared frosting on the cake board and sprinkled brown natural cane sugar for a sand effect (I seen graham crackers or brown sugar online, but wanted a more realistic effect and then placed more candy jewelry and coins in the sand.
For the finish effect, made a key and lock out of chocolate fondant. Then sprayed gold food color mist (purchased at a local craft store). Guests actually thought it was a real treasure chest!
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