The cutest alien ever on Doctor Who is undoubtedly the Adipose, which are little living lumps of fatty tissue. So when I decided to make a cake for my friend Kyla (who is also president of our cake club and known by many as the Cake Nexus because she knows everyone who is anyone in this industry) and was considering a Doctor Who cake since she’s into that, my husband suggested an Adipose cake because it’d be relatively easy, very cute, and horribly, horribly wrong. Because this is a monster made out of fat and what happens when you eat cake? You get fat. And then the thought of eating the fat that just left you…yeah, it’s multiple layers of wrong.
Except this is also multiple layers of chocolate.
Mmm, chocolate! And wrongness! Together at last!
In fact, this was the cake I mentioned in the last post about Dark Chocolate Buttercream, in which I worked out a super-delicious, ultra-decadent, chocolate, butter-based frosting suitable for sculpted cakes and supporting decorative elements. After all, an Adipose cake has to be thickly coated in delicious buttercream, doesn’t it?
At first I was just going to make a little Adipose guy, but when I had leftover cake and buttercream I decided the cuteness and wrongness could be multiplied further by making cake balls and then turning those into ittle bittle wittle Adiposey cake balls of ULTRA MEGA CUTENESS!
And you lucky readers, I’m going to show you how I made them!
First, let’s talk about the main cake itself. I baked a chocolate cake (my standard doctored box mix) in two 5″ pans plus a 4″. I dumped the remaining batter in an 8″ as excess. I levelled, filled, and stacked the 5″ ones and the 4″ on top, then carved an Adipose shape (going roughly off of this plush toy from ThinkGeek, but seated because while I could do it standing, that’d require a floating stand design which would be harder to transport and I wanted this to be fairly easy). I then covered that with the buttercream and let it firm up in the fridge.
I wanted to experiment with a 50/50 modelling chocolate/fondant mix since I couldn’t decide between the two; chocolate tastes better but fondant is easier to put on a shape like this. So I weighed out equal portions of each and kneaded them, and given that I was using my homemade fondant which isn’t as smooth as the commercial stuff, I was pleasantly surprised by how flexible and smooth the combination was! Plus it actually tastes good, although still sweeter than my preferences. I’ll need to update my recipe pages eventually.
The 50/50 wasn’t as good for pulling out pleats, but it did have the benefit of being able to be warmed either by hand heat or a torch, and that let me smooth out seams very nicely. In a reasonably short time I was able to cover the cake plus add feet, arms, and a face. Joining worked just as with modelling chocolate or fondant separately: a bit of moisture to make it sticky and things adhered just fine.
It was getting late, so I combined the cake carvings, the extra 8″ cake, and the leftover buttercream to make cake balls, then formed them into Adipose-like shapes and put them in the fridge to firm up overnight.
The next day for my first attempt, I rolled out some of the 50/50 and just randomly covered a cakeball with it. I was able to roll out the seams, but it left a lot of excess on the bottom, so I pulled that out to form legs. That one turned out cute, but a bit lumpy-looking:
For the next one I tried doing a pinch-pot method which was smoother but still too much on the ball, albeit this time more evenly distributed. Thus I rolled separate little feet for this guy and also experimented with the relative stiffness of the 50/50 to see if I could get an arm to stand up:
Once I determined that the arms would stand up if allowed to cool down and firm up a little, I made one with two arms up:
Here’s a photo series on how to make them, starting from the point where you have chilled cake balls in vague tear-drop shapes and some 50/50 or modelling chocolate (this methodology won’t work with just fondant):
So there you have it! The 50/50 does a nice job of blending with itself to cover a cakeball, and it tastes good on there too. I definitely recommend it. It won’t be as hard as coating a cake ball with melted chocolate of course, but it grants you more sculpting potential.
Next, I simply put the mini Adiposes all around the big one, wetting them a little on their bottoms and backs to stick them to the cake board and the big Adipose. Then it was done!
Of course, it doesn’t end there. First of all, I have a seven year old and while she doesn’t watch Doctor Who (no matter how much she begs or tells me kids at school do, because it’s not child-appropriate), I couldn’t really hide this much cuteness from her. So I gave her a sanitized version of the Adipose story and made a couple of extra Adipose cake balls for her to eat.
Then we took the cake in my big carrier to a Capital Confetioners Club meeting to give it to Kyla. It sat like this on the table across from Kyla for the whole meeting and she didn’t even notice it. Hah!
Finally, when Kyla tried to pick someone else from the club for this month’s Member Spotlight, I stood up and declared that she was in the spotlight because it was her birthday and this was her birthday cake. So she told us all about how she got started in cake decorating. I had a photo of her with it but she didn’t like the pic so I’ve removed it.
Happy birthday Kyla!
No wait, that’s insufficiently teenage-girl-sparkly. We need something that screams “I’m 14 and I have a Geocities page!” Let’s see…
There. That’s about right.