When Star Wars artist Chris Trevas told me his girlfriend and foodie blogger Julie Foxworthy baked him a one-of-a-kind Yoda birthday cake, I was super-impressed! So I asked Julie how she went about making this edible tribute so some of you can put your oven to work making more Jedi Master confections!
Interview by Bonnie Burton
Can you walk us step by step how you made the cake? What kind of ingredients were used?
I started out by first baking the cake. I knew I wanted to make a small cake, since it was only going to be for two people. So I used two 4.5″ spring form round cake pans (like these), and Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix for the actual cake. I baked them according to package directions for about 20 minutes (just a little longer than it take for a cupcake). I tested for doneness with a toothpick to make sure they were baked all the way through.
Next, I waited for the cakes to cool, and removed them for the spring form pans. Once removed, I evened out the two layers of cake with a knife so that they were all flat and even.
After evening out my layers, I started to frost the cake with Duncan Hines chocolate fudge frosting. I frosted the top of the first layer only, then laid the second layer on top and frosted the entire cake, making sure that the top layer was even. Once the cake was frosted, I began working on the fondant.
Fondant is a smooth sugar paste cake coating that is rolled out with a rolling pin. It’s kind of like Play-doh. You can mold it into pretty much anything you want. You can buy it already prepared (there’s lots of different brands), or you can make your own. I made my own with a recipe I found online. It’s a very simple marshmallow fondant recipe.
Once the fondant was prepared, I used Wilton’s fondant dyes to color it green (as the fondant is naturally white). I also flavored the fondant with a little bit of Wilton’s clear vanilla extract (as regular vanilla will turn your fondant a beige color). A little bit goes a LONG way. I worked a few drops at a time, until I got the color I wanted, with no streaks in it.
I colored a big chunk of green because the majority of the cake was going to be the green. Then I did a little ball of black (for the pupils) and a little ball of brown (for the irises) and kept some of the white fondant for the whites of the eyes as well.
I then rolled out the green fondant into a big disc (about 12 inches and a 1/4″ thick). I carefully rolled the fondant back onto the rolling pin, so that I could pick it up and roll it gently on top of the cake. Once it was centered on top of the cake, I began to smooth it down. I smoothed down the top and bottom, but left the sides draped over and formed them into the ears. Once the ears were formed and the rest of the fondant was smoothed onto the cake, I trimmed off the excess fondant at the bottom of the cake.
Then I molded the eyes, nose, and mouth by just eyeing it. I had printed out some photos of Yoda from the web, and used this as a reference when forming the rest of the pieces of fondant for the face.
After the eyes, nose and mouth were finished, I applied them to the top of the cake using a royal icing mixture (just water and powdered sugar). And that’s it! Yoda was done!
What were some of the obstacles you had in making the cake?
Well, my first obstacle really was that I’d never worked with fondant before!
I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, so I would say that making the fondant, and getting it the right consistency was the hardest part.
The other obstacle at first, was figuring out how to apply the ears. My original idea was to mold the ears seperately, and then adhere them to the sides of the cake using toothpicks. But I was worried that the weight of them would not hold. But a really happy mistake happened while I was draping the fondant disc over the cake. As I smoothed it out over the cake, I realized that if I just left the sides of the covering draped down (not smoothed onto the cake), I could create the effect of the ears, and shape the fondant cover into the ears! It worked out perfectly and solved the obstacle of figuring out how to attach the big ears without them falling off the cake!
Do you have any tips for fans who want to bake a Yoda cake as well?
I would just say RELAX. Go slowly, and have fun. And if something doesn’t go exactly right…(like my ears!), sometimes mistakes turn into a moment of brilliance.
Is this the first Star Wars themed cake you’ve done?
This is the first Star Wars cake I’ve done. In fact, it’s my first fondant cake, so I was please with how it turned out. But now that I’ve opened Pandora’s Box, stay tuned… because I am sure that this will not be my last Star Wars cake.
Along with the Yoda cake, what kinds of other recipes and cooking tips do you share on your food blog — Converging Cuisine?
I write about family recipes a lot. I am half Syrian, and half “hillbilly” (as my dad likes to say). So I grew up with sort of an eclectic mix of food. There are a lot of those kinds of stories/recipes on there. I also just like to experiment with food in general, and do a lot of fun baking for my nieces and nephews. So you’ll see some cupcakes that are pretty fun on there as well…bunnies, polar bears, pigs, monkeys, etc.
Check out Julie’s food blog here: