I want a Strawberry Penguin Cake

Proof of my Love

Proof of my Love

I want to be the coolest Uncle. I want people to confess to my niece and nephew: I wish my Uncle was that cool…I wish my dad was that cool.  Mom you should marry L’s uncle, he’s the coolest.  I think my niece and nephew are the coolest ever, I am always comparing them to my girlfriend’s nieces.  I’m always trying to get her to admit that my family’s children are better than hers. I believe this annoys her and yet I can’t stop. Apparently, I am the one with issues.

Anyway, I love my niece and nephew. Let me say that again, I love my niece and my nephew.  I need to remind myself sometimes why I do what I do.

About six months ago my niece, who was 2 1/2 at the time, became convinced that I was on this earth solely to provide for her a ‘Strawberry Penguin Cake’ and a ‘Purple Dinosaur Cake’. I have no idea where this came from or how she even thought of the combination. We do cook a lot together but it is mostly cookies or brownies, and it really is just an excuse to smush butter and sugar in her fingers and mouth.

The pressure to perform this cake task started to mount, for months each time I saw her: when am I getting my strawberry penguin cake? I guess when I made her brother a sitting up teddy bear cake, I was setting expectations pretty high.

My two questions were:

1. How to make it taste like strawberry without it being disgustingly sweet or taste artificial.

2. How to make it look like a penguin without using a cake mold.

First, how to add the flavor: I wanted this cake to be all natural and only use natural products.  This cake is for my niece and her classmates – have you ever looked on the side of a Duncan Hines box? No fucking thank you.  Take your preservatives and shove it. I started with a traditional white cake recipe from Baking Illustrated, my trusted baking book. I suck at baking so I need the tested quality of Illustrated, but I still do not read all they say about the recipes…just give me the recipe!

Layer numero uno

I figured two large sheet cakes would give me the most space to make my design.  I was excited after I made the cakes because it left me with a dozen unused egg yolks.  With such a rare bounty, a couple of days later I made myself homemade pasta from a recipe I learned when I cooked with a Keller disciple.  I will give that recipe out in an upcoming post. Back to strawberry – I made a quick jam from some organic frozen whole strawberries.

lemon cuts the sweetness and brings out the strawberry flavor

lemon cuts the sweetness and brings out the strawberry flavor

Between the cake layers, I first spread the jam, then I added some jam to some fresh whipped cream. On top of that, I put a thick layer of dried strawberries and crushed strawberry  powder. Together, the filling was a strawberry intense without being sweet. Once I had assembled the cake layers and filling, I was ready to shape. This is where the girlfriend comes in handy.

Strawberry Powder

I downloaded a couple of stencils of penguins from the internet. Who knew that there where so many online? Also, if you search stencils on the internet, you get a bunch of pictures of really good street art from Bansky.  So, I had girlfriend trace stencil onto parchment paper and then layered that over the cake to get the shape. It was easier than I thought it would be. I realize I did go the easy route and made it a lying down bird, but can you blame me. A stand up cake is hard work, plus my audience was a bunch of three year olds.

As a final touch, I made pink and white butter cream frosting. I couldn’t help myself, I added a strawberry wing…

I am so proud..no joke

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5 Responses to “I want a Strawberry Penguin Cake”


  1. 1 Ted March 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    That is the most beautiful strawberry penguin cake I have ever seen.

  2. 2 Katie March 4, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    strawberries and penguins are my two favorite things in the world! this is amazing!! I am definitely going to make this!

  3. 3 cooking January 23, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Hello, Neat post. There’s an issue together with your web site in web explorer, might test this?

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  1. 1 So You Want to Make Pasta Like TK « Carnivore Hearts Herbivore Trackback on April 16, 2009 at 2:11 am
  2. 2 The Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment! « Carnivore Hearts Herbivore Trackback on November 13, 2009 at 11:06 am

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