Tuesday, 29 July 2008

An octopus cake

Why an octopus birthday cake?

Yesterday was Gib's birthday so, at his request, I baked him a rhubarb cake in the new octopus cake tin. The octopus was very appropriate given that his birthday present was an introductory scuba diving course! He's always loved rockpools and marine life (his university major was in marine biology) and some of my best memories of us hanging out together was when we were teenagers, going camping down at Port Fairy and running along the rockpools, harassing star fish and watching elephant slugs chomp down on sea lettuce. He would turn over rocks looking for chiton, flatworms and crabs to show me. The octopus is his favourite animal though. While at Osaka aquarium I think we spent over two hours watching octopuses, mostly the giant pacific octopus, do their thing. If you want to know more about why octopus are so damn cool, I'd suggest Pharyngula as the place to learn more.

Making the cake:

To make the cake I followed this recipe but with some modifications to account for all of the dietary requirements of the family (diabetic and lactose free). Diabetics didn't eat the icing. Here is my version of the recipe:

Buttermilk rhubarb bundt cake
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup CSR Smart sugar
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free margarine (I used Olive Grove classic spread, the mild tasting one)
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups reduced fat soy milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 teaspoons red food coloring (I wanted it really red on the inside!)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 4 cups cut fresh rhubarb or frozen rhubarb, thawed, drained (although I forgot to thaw and drain mine and it worked out fine)
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Coat bundt pan with spray oil.
  2. Combine milk and lemon juice, set aside.
  3. In mixing bowl add flour, allspice, baking soda, salt and sugar.
  4. Add margarine and cut in so mixture resembles crumbs.
  5. Combine eggs, food colouring and vanilla. Add to dry mix, along with milk, about 1/4 at a time until combined. Mix through rhubarb.
  6. Spoon cake batter in the pan. (Note: I was quite concerned because the mixture was very runny, but I decided to trust the recipe and it worked out fine). Bake 55 minutes until top springs back with a touch and sides shrink away from pan. Cool ten minutes and invert onto cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.

You will need:
  • Half a packet of Orchard icing
  • A candy necklace, for the suckers
  • A packet of mini licorice allsorts, for the eyes and rocks
  • A packet of fruit tingles, extra decoration
  • Raw sugar, for sand
Colour the orchard icing to whatever octopus colour you like. I aimed for red, but no matter how much dye I added it still turned out to be a rich pink colour (Gib doesn't mind!). Roll it out and drape it over the top of the octopus, pushing it and moulding it around to cover the legs. Using a sharp knife, cut off any extra icing.

Decorate with the rings from the candy necklace for the suckers. The eyes were attached with toothpicks. The base of the cake was brushed with honey and water mixture, and then sprinkled with raw sugar for sand. The star fish were moulded out of leftover Orchard icing.


CurlyPops said...

Wow, that is so cool...I'd love an octopus cake for my birthdat too!

Hoppo Bumpo said...

What a sensational cake - it looks amazing! And the recipe looks great too. Is the Octopus a 10 or 12 cup tin? I'd be keen to adapt the recipe (to accomodate our egg, nut, wheat free & diabetic requirements) and give it a try in my castle tin.

Beth J said...

Curlypops: I'm worried this cake tin wont get nearly the use it deserves, so I'm open to requests ;-D

Hoppo bumpo: It's a 10 cup capacity, and I think it would look awesome in the castle tin!! If you give make it please let me know, I'd love to see the result!
That's a lot of dietary requirements to acommodate. In our family we accomodate diabetic, lactose, egg, celiac and vegetarian requirements. Christmas time takes some careful planning.

Leah said...

Wow - that sure is agreat tin, and your cake looks fabbo!

straykat said...


I don't think I would want to hurt it!!!

hey is the plural for octopus octopi? I'm going to google it!

Jenaveve said...

That's one crazy cake - awesome colour!!! I love it.

kt mac said...

This looks so so amazing!
I love your cakes :)!

Gina said...

Gorgeous cake..he is too cute to cut though!

Anonymous said...

oh wow this cake is AMAZING!! clever you

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Spencer Nagle said...

Holy! Octopus cake.

Does it taste like the ocean? I'd like to eat it.

Aaron said...

Hey, I worked for orchard icing for a year or so, true story..

Thats an awesome cake.

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