It’s the most wonderful time of the year… SHARK WEEK! Let’s kick off this holiday week with a special cake!
Summer is a great time for shark-centric entertaining! Jaws airs every July 4th week, and in 2013, August 4th marks the return of The Discovery Channel’s popular Shark Week. [Editor’s Note: August 4th is also Megan’s birthday. Birthdays and sharks are her favorite!]
If you’re celebrating in honor of these fascinating underwater creatures, here’s how to make a 3-D shark cake. (I picked a Jaws theme, but any old shark will do.) And if you don’t care about making it gluten-free, any moist Red Velvet Cake mix or recipe will work.
- Red Velvet Gluten-Free Cake Mix (I used this one from Williams Sonoma). Or if you want to make it from scratch, you can try this recipe From Gluten-Free Betty or this one from Gluten-Free Cooking School.
- The ingredients you need for the cake from the above box or recipe (in my case, eggs, water, oil.)
- One 9″ round cake pan (sides and bottom well-greased)
- One 9″ rectangular cake pan (sides and bottom well-greased)
- ½ cup each blackberries or raspberries, and diced and hulled strawberries
- 1 cup whole strawberries
- 1½ tsp corn starch
- ½ cup and 1 Tbsp cold water
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1-2 tubs white icing (I like cream cheese flavor with this cake). I think I only used one tub for this cake.
- 1 tube black decorator icing
- 4 birthday candles
- Optional silvery sprinkles
- 1 cardboard tube from roll of paper towels
- Orange or yellow construction paper
- Scotch tape
- Clear yellow or orange Lego or yellow or orange gummy bear
- Kitchen twine
Step One: Preheat oven and mix together cake ingredients. GREASE PANS WELL. Pour half of batter into 9″ round, the other into the 9″ rectangle. Bake as directed.
Step Two: Meanwhile, in saucepan over medium heat, mix berries, 1/2 cup water, and sugar, mashing and stirring. When berry mixture is bubbling, mix together cornstarch and remaining tablespoon of water in a separate container until dissolved, then pour into berry mixture. Stir violently to thicken, then remove from heat.
Step Three: Remove pans from oven and let cool for 10-20 minutes. Turn cake pans over onto sturdy, large cutting boards or work surface. Thump cake pan bottoms to ensure cakes come out cleanly (this is why greasing is important).
Step Four: Ice the round cake. Top one side with the berry compote. Cut in half. Carefully and quickly press the two sides together and move them to your cake platter, standing upright, pressing so that both sides glue together with the icing and compote.
Step Five: Then, cut each rectangle half (which are now two squares) diagonally, so you have four triangles to make fins. Pare the triangles down as needed so that they look proportional to the shark’s body.
Add the triangles like so to form the dorsal, tail, and side fins of the shark, using more icing as glue to hold them firmly in place if needed.
(NOTE: If you want to make a Hammerhead shark, cut one of the two squares in half again and use that part of the cake to make the Hammerhead shape on either side of the shark (placing it on one end of the round). Then cut the two triangles in half on a diagonal to make four smaller fins.)
Step Six: Let your cake sit and firm up a bit. While you wait, mix together two tablespoons of the black icing into one tub of your white icing until it makes a grey color.
Step Seven: With a flat, rubber spatula, ice the entire cake, being careful to be gentle and generous around the bottom and where the layers and fins meet at the top. While icing is still fresh and sticky, sprinkle your silvery gems to create a shark skin-line sheen. Add black dots of decorating icing on either side of the head for eyes. If you want to add gills, too, go for it.
Step Eight: If you’ll be serving the cake that afternoon or evening, spoon a bit of compote around the shark on the platter (not too much or too soon since it might get soggy). This will make it look like it’s swimming in chummy water. You can also decorate the platter with your remaining whole strawberries, hulled and cut in half, to make it look like it’s swimming in bloody waves.
To make the infamous barrels (with transmitter!) from Jaws:
- Wrap one tube from a paper towel roll with construction paper, tape in four places, and cut evenly into four sections. (I did four because, well, he did get four barrels total on him in the movie.)
- Tie kitchen twine around the “barrels” and leave 5-7″ of twine leading off.
- To make the transmitter, tie or scotch tape a clear yellow lego or gummy bear (with head and legs cut off) to one of the barrels.
- Tie the other end of all kitchen twine to four candle “harpoons” and stick into cake, either according to the shots from the movie (if you’re THAT much of a dork) or at random.
TA-DAAAA! You now have a yummy cake you can sink your teeth into.