Because my computer is finally fixed, I can post the directions for the recent octopus cake, as I promised. The photo above shows the finished project. It takes three recipes of frosting (recipe follows the cake directions) to make this cake.
I mixed up a double batch of cake batter, baking a 12 inch round and an 8 inch round. I added more batter than usual so that the 8 inch round was thicker than usual. Cake is easier to work with when it is baked at least a day ahead. I didn't give a recipe for this cake. I used a yellow cake recipe.
I centered a nine inch cake pan on top of the 12 inch round, then cut two inches from the 12 inch layer, using a sharp knife. I am left with a ten inch round. The dotted line illustrates how to cut the outside of the ring. Set the "ring" of cake aside. It will be used later. Place the 9 inch round on a cake base. I purchased a large round cake base, but you could make one from several pieces of cardboard stacked together and covered over with tin foil. Place the 9 inch round on the center of the cake base. Use frosting to frost this layer and set aside.
Make a double recipe of frosting. This will make plenty to cover the entire cake and use for "mortar." I never add food coloring in the first layer of frosting. It is always white. I just hate all the food coloring so I save it for the top layer of frosting.
Cut the 8 inch round in half, diagonally. You will have two 8 inch rounds. One of the rounds is the base for the octopus and the other will be used to complete the head. Place the base on top of the frosted 9 inch layer and frost that layer, then set aside.
Slice the remaining 8 inch cake half horizontally.
Set the pieces up as shown above, then slice off the sides. You will have two center pieces that will make up the center of the cake and four pieces that you will use to put together on each side. This will be centered on top of the layers that are frosted and set aside. See the diagram below.
Frost the top of the cake. Use the frosting like mortar. Use the frosting to "stick" everything together. Then frost the top of the cake. It will just look like a mound. See the top photo.
Cut the leftover round cut from the 12 inch cake to make the legs. Cut eight equal pieces and then cut those pieces in half.
Assemble the legs as shown above spacing the legs equally around the sides. I did leave a little space on the front of the cake. It would be easier to place the bottom of the legs first around the cake, frost and then put the tops of the legs on. Ideally the bottom parts of the legs will help to support the legs. You may also need to insert small dowels into each leg at a 45 degree angle. I used small skewers in this cake. You will have to take care when cutting the cake but the dowels really help to hold the cake together, especially if you need to move the cake.
I hope the diagram, above, is useful. Use the frosting as mortar and cover everything on the cake. If you have trouble with the frosting, consider piping the frosting on and then smoothing with a spatula.
Make sure all of the cake is covered well with frosting.
Crush vanilla wafers for the sand. You can also use graham crackers for sand but the vanilla wafers really taste better, according to my husband.
Make another batch of frosting. Put some of the frosting aside to use for the orange mouth and suction cups and the white eyes. The pupils of the eyes are purple.
You will use vanilla wafers for the sand. Carefully pour spoonfuls of "sand" onto the spaces between the legs and press the crumbs in. Do this before piping on the purple frosting so you can cover over any "sand" mistakes.
Add purple food coloring to the remaining frosting. Pipe the frosting on with a decorators bag and large round tip. Smooth on the frosting, covering over the white, with a spatula. Dip the spatula into cold water if the frosting sticks to the spatula.
Add the eyes, mouth and suckers around the bottom of the legs.
I hope you enjoy this cake sculpture. Email me at email@example.com if you need to ask questions.
Whipped cream frosting for decorating
2-1/2 sticks of butter
1/4 cup whipping cream, add more (or less) until icing is the correct consistency, think mortar
3 boxes confectioner's sugar
2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
2 boxes Confectioner's sugar
Gel food colors (I use Wilton.)
Cream butter and add the flavoring. Slowly add confectioner's sugar and then the whipping cream in small bits until it is well mixed. If it gets too stiff, add more whipping cream and mix until it is smooth and creamy. (Don't add too much. On a humid day, less whipping cream will be needed.