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.
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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.
Comments on Bite into this gluten-free, red velvet shark cake
That’s awesome! Might make this for my hubby’s birthday next weekend. XD
This is seriously the coolest thing I’ve seen in ever!
The cake is cute, but I’m not supporting Shark Week this year. After going back to its conservation and education roots last year, this year is the most sensationalist line up of program ever. I am so disappointed in the Discovery channel for squandering this opportunity to educate people about these amazing animals.
I’m actually glad you said this. I’m having the SAME thoughts. I’m still watching (because I’m obsessed with sharks) but hoping the programing gets better as the week goes on. Because so far there’s been a lot of blood and not enough interesting shark facts.
I actually thought last year was sensationalist as well and provided little to no new content. I grew up idolizing Marine Biologists on National Geographic specials who sought to study all sharks to understand them. And to me, Jaws is a story… not a documentary. 😉
I prefer Blue Planet stuff to the Extreme/ Agro style of most Shark Week programs. But still, shark week is what you make of it. If the DC shows have you down, maybe rent or stream better programming.
Wondering: is the black icing bitter at all?
Nope it was noms.
Looks cute and delicious! Red velvet cake is my favorite. Recently figured out that I have gluten sensitivity, so I was happy to see several gluten free options mentioned. I didn’t know gluten-free cake mix was a thing. Thanks for sharing!
Oh yes, your traditional cake and cookie mix companies are starting to get that gf is a “thing”… there are also chocolate and vanilla flavors becoming widely available, and even in places like Target and other big box stores.
Although if you prefer to make it yourself or to involve less chemicals, there are good basic gf flour blends ( Bobs Red Mill rocks) and recipes out there for cakes, breads, etc.
It’s usually a blend of sugar, natural flavoring, potato and rice flours and other stuff, with some xantham gum and/or apple cider vinegar added by you… plus the usual eggs and stuff. You can find it at Whole Foods and certain larger grocery chains.
Love this! And, speaking as a former professional cake decorator, I’d like to recommend that you use a small straight or angled metal spatula instead of a rubber one – you’ll have a much easier time getting the icing where you want it and making a smooth finish. Something like one of these (and no, I don’t work for Wilton):
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