Coolest Antique Radio Cake

This is my first attempt at a decorated cake and it was made for my father’s 60th birthday party. He collects and repairs antique radios and also hosts an “Old Time” radio show on a local community radio station. The whole radio cake took a total of about 10 hours to make including making the fondant but I’m sure someone with cake decorating experience could pull it off in much less time.

I went against everything I read and made the cake from a (gasp!) yellow cake mix. Next time I won’t do that though, I think the texture of a boxed mix isn’t dense enough for a cake like this. I made it out of a 9″ square cake with 1″ cut off one end (to make a 9″ x 8″ piece) plus a 9″ round cake cut in half and trimmed to make it more pointy. I only split the cake into two layers and frosted in between with mocha buttercream and a little bit of raspberry jam. The buttercream tasted pretty good but I think I let the butter get too warm when I made it and it wasn’t the right consistency.

Antique Radio Cake Photo

The outside of the radio cake is covered with chocolate marshmallow fondant. Even with the cocoa in the fondant I had to add a lot of brown food coloring into it to get it to be that deep brown color. There also ended up being quite a bit of shortening added into the fondant in order to keep it from sticking. The fondant ended up tasting kind of like a soft Tootsie Roll – not bad! One thing I was kind of disappointed about was that I tried tinting one half of the fondant a slightly lighter brown color than the other half and then marbling them to achieve a wood grain effect. It would have looked really cool but I ended up having to re-roll the fondant several times to get it on top of the cake without tearing it and in the process I lost that marbled effect.

I cut out the speaker and dial windows with a clean Xacto blade. Not sure if that’s standard cake decorating procedure but it worked! The columns and beads on the sides and the bottom were made with a Wilton fondant embosser/cutter tool (it rolls on a wheel). The speakers were made with a toothpick dragged criss-cross through buttercream. The three dials are (you guessed it!) Rolo candies. I found that the details like the Rolos and the speaker windows looked a little neater if I put a skinny strip of rolled fondant around them.

For someone with more experience or courage this radio cake would look pretty neat if you could tip it up to be a more sculptural cake (so that it would look like a real cathedral radio). It ended up with some flaws but it was a lot of fun to make and I’m pretty proud of the way it came out!