As promised yesterday, here are more details on the Doctor Who Dalek Cake. You know I’m a big believer in showing you that YOU can make a really cool cake, and I do one every year for the Boy’s birthday. Past years: Angry Birds cupcakes, Dragon Cake, Perry the Platypus Cake, and Clone Trooper cupcakes. So, today I’ve promised some of the details of how to make this cake yourself. Tomorrow I’ll try to get up some of the decor, and a wrap up :)
By the way, these techniques can be used to make any kind of Robot like cake, not just Dr. Who themed Daleks :).
This cake is really make in two parts. The Daleks on top are ‘toppers’ and they are put on the cake at the end of the process. They aren’t made out of cake, but
they are (almost) completely edible and tasty. This makes everything much
simpler, as you don’t need to be able to store a really tall cake like this, and you don’t have to worry about it getting messed up before presentation. I created the base and the toppers separately, and just assembled it the morning of the party.
So what are the Daleks made out of? Well, the main body is an ice cream cone, the head/neck is chocolate, and it’s decorated in candy and fondant. Neat huh?
Here are some action shots!
So, first we’ll talk supplies, then how to construct your Dalek body, then how to decorate it, and then I’ll go into the cake base. So let’s begin!
The Dalek Cake Toppers: Ingredients/Supplies
Makes 4 Daleks.
What you’ll need:
- Cake Ice cream Cones (like these). I used the Publix brand, the ‘jumbo’ size which is a little larger than standard.
- 1 batch Marshmallow Fondant(Hint, use small marshmallows, and reserve 4-6 for future use.)
- 1 package White chocolate flavored candy coating
- Spray Food colour (I used Wilton Master Color Mist Food Color Spray in Silver. If you’d like your entire dalek in metallics or black, you could get gold, black or other colors as well. I just used the silver for accents. )
- Food coloring. For mine I used some bright colors and black – these are good (Wilton Primary Candy Color Set)
- Icing (whatever you used to frost your base cake – you’re just using this for glue in a few places, you don’t need much).
- Clean styrofoam egg carton (or something similar to the shape of egg carton cups- used as a mold for the dalek head – you could also use a candy mold)
- Toothpicks (I used colored round ones)
- Microplane Zester/Grater (optional, but useful)
Candy I used – you can substitute similar:
- Mike & Ike (Tropical Fruit) (8)
- Dum Dums (4)
- White Tic Tacs (8)
- Melted chocolate
- Candy Dots on Paper (a bunch – 128 individual dots)
- Trader Joe’s chocolate Callets (you could probably substitute a similarly sized wafer cookie for this)
- Small marshmallows (4-6)
Prep Work – Dalek Bodies
We’ll be using Marshmallow fondant for this cake, and I’ve gone over how to make it and work with it in previous tutorials, so I’m not going repeat myself here. Here’s all the details on how to make up a batch: Marshmallow fondant . Do this the night before.
Split up your fondant (use a scale to make it easier, you’ll need about 2 oz for each dalek body/head, in the colors of your choice). Go ahead and knead in your food coloring to the desired color for each 2 oz ball. You’ll also need a ball of gray fondant (black foodcoloring) (maybe 3-4 oz). Save the rest for covering the cake, and making up for mistakes.
Using paper, make a template for the top and bottom grey strips. You’ll want a width of about 1/2 in for the top strip, and around 1 in for the bottom, but since cone sizes vary, templates help.
Roll out the gray fondant thinly, and use your template to measure and mark out the strips (4 of each size) on the sheet of gray dough (but don’t cut out yet). You’ll probably want to add a 1/2 inch to the length of the strips to allow for shrinkage or sizing mishaps, particularly if you’re doing this over several days. Spray the gray dough with your silver spray. Remove the excess-even if it has silver on it, and knead back into a ball for later use. Once the spray dries, cut out your strips.
Melt your candy coating according to package directions in a tall cup. You’ll be dipping your cone into it, so plan accordingly size wize. Dip each cone to cover the outside, and let dry. The coating doesn’t have to look perfect, but it should be relatively smooth.
You’re going to use a styrofoam egg carton as a mold. Pour a spoonful of your leftover candy coating into 6 cups (4 dalek heads plus 2 spares), to about 1/2 inch. You’ll want the diameter of the exposed candy to be approximately the same size as your neck wafers. You can trim later if necessary, but get as close as you can. Refrigerate, and after the candy is solid, you can use your microplane to smooth up the top, and to flatten out the bottom to size as necessary.
My dots were going to be silver, so I needed to spray them with silver spray. If you spray them while still on the paper, they are much easier to do, but be aware, you’ll waste more spray with overspray. If you peel them off, however, the force of spray can knock them around though. I decided to use half yellow dots and half blue dots, figuring that if the spray didn’t completly cover, I’d have a consistent color. (I used the yellow on the yellow & orange daleks, and the blue on the other 2).
Stack 3 chocolate callets, gluing them together with icing (reserve some from frosting the base cake). Mist the stack with silver spray.
I recommend doing 1 full Dalek first, so you can get the technique down, then doing the remainder assembly line style.
Assembling the Body.
Roll out one of the colored pieces of fondant, and using ~3/4 of it, cover your chocolate dipped cone. You can trim off excess at back and bottom, I didn’t worry if I had a seam in the back.
Place one of the wider silver strips on the bottom of your cone, just under where the ridge is. Orient the strip so that the ends will meet on the seam side of your colored fondant. Use water to adhere to the colored fondant, tucking the edges under the bottom of the cone if necessary. Overlap the ends if necessary. BE CAREFUL because the water you are adhering with will cause blotchy-ness on the silver painted side if you touch it with wet hands.
Place one of the skinnier silver strips along the top of the cone, leaving about 1/4 in of the colored fondant showing at the top. Adhere with water, overlap the ends if necessary.
Adding the Silver Dots
Hopefully, you have room for 4 rows of dots between the top and bottom silver strips. My first one, the white one, did not – so it only has 3 rows. I modified strip placement on the subsequent Daleks to allow for 4 rows. 3 is fine too, of course, and is a little easier to do, but I personally liked the look of 4.
Put a small amount of icing in a dish to use as glue. Using your finger, tap out 1 column of glue dots down one side of the body. Place a silver dot on each one to adhere it. Apply another column of Dots on the exact opposite side of the body. Then fill in the rest of the top row (between your two columns) with 3 Dots, then continue down to complete the side. Turn over, and fill in the rest of the top row on the other side with 3 Dots, then complete that side. Let dry, and set aside your body.
Assembling the Head.
Cover with a circle of colored fondant and gently smooth, tucking under the ends.
Use your icing glue to attach the head to the stack of chocolate wafers that make up the neck. Let dry and set aside.
You’re now ready to add the final touches.
Final Assembly and Decorating
First we have create the eye stalk, the manipulator arm, and the gun stick.
Eye Stalk (make 4 of these):
Melt a small amount (~1/4 c) of chocolate or chocolate coating (you can use the white coating from previous if you like, and just spray it silver afterwards, but I had some chocolate so that’s what I used.)
Cut the pointier end of your Mike and Ike candy (the blue one) off, so you have about 2/3 of the candy left. Using a toothpick, carefully stab through the center of the rounded end, so you can dip it in chocolate. Dip most of the way, but leave the rounded end exposed, so you still see the blue. Let dry.
Remove the toothpick, and reinsert it in the other end.
Use scissors to cut off the end of a small marshmallow, making a disk. Stab it onto the toothpick and slide up. Repeat so you have 2 marshmallow disks about a 1/4in from the eye.
Gun Stick (4)
Basically, take a blue Mike and Ike candy and insert a toothpick into the wide end. I then painted on stripes of chocolate, meeting at the pointy end. Let dry.
Manipulator Arm (4)
For the arm, My Handy Husband suggested a Dum Dum lollypop, cut in half. He took a Dremel with a saw blade attachment and cut it, smoothly up any rough edges with the microplane zester. I then turned it cut side down and dusted the outside with silver spray (which was pretty much empty at this point!). If that’s too much for you, you can always use half a round chocolate candy impaled on a tooth pick.
Extra Fondant Touches
Using your leftover gray/silver fondant, add a small pea sized ball in the center front of the head where you’ll place the eye stalk, and a strip with two small balls on the front of the silver strip where the arms go.
Using a toothpick to make a pilot hole, insert the stick of your Dum Dum into the left body fondant ball. Stab the right fondant ball with your Gunstick toothpick. Both should stick straight out, and will be held in place by the structure of the cake cone.
Wet the end of a tic tac, and carefully press into the head, one on either side, to make the lights.
Then press your eye stalk toothpick into your fondant ball in the center of the head, sticking straight out.
Using some icing, glue the head assembly to the body assembly. Let dry.
Place your daleks in a cool dry safe place (do not refrigerate) until time to assemble your cake.
The Cake Base
The cake is simple a tall round cake in my example, but you can of course use anything you like, since you’ll be topping it with Daleks. In fact, feel free to cheat and buy a purchased premade cake if you like–the Daleks are enough work, you won’t feel that guilty! But me? I have to make mine, because I just don’t storebought cakes that much. So I’ll walk you through what I did, and you can modify it to your own needs &/or time constraints. Note, you should make the cake first, even though it is last in these instructions.
For my cake, I did ‘cheat’ and go for boxed cake mix. I can (and do!) make cake from scratch, and it’s not significantly harder or more time intensive, but in this case, I was saving my effort for the decorations. So, 2 boxes cake mix. I split into 4 layers, coloring each layer differently with candy color, just for fun.
- 2 boxes cake mix plus extra ingredients, baked into multiple layers.
- 1 batch cream cheese frosting (1 pkg cream cheese, 1 stick butter, 1 lb of powdered sugar, dash vanilla extract – combine in mixer and beat well)
- Part of our fondant batch (maybe 12oz?)
- Vanilla Wafers sprayed with gold/silver spray
- Gold food spray
Level the layers as necessary*, then stack and ice each layer with a thin coat of frosting. Don’t worry too much about how it looks, just get it as smooth as you can. You’ll be covering the whole thing up anyway.
*Now, I was being quick and lazy, and didn’t level off my cakes after they cooked… which you can get away with if you only have 2 layers. But LESSON LEARNED you really have to level out when you’re stacking 4 layers. So I had cake failure, when the Crack in the Universe manifested itself on the top of my cake.
After my cake failure, I removed the top two layers (set aside for later eating, they still taste great!) and replace with another batch of cake.
Let the icing on your cake dry out a bit so it’s not wet to the touch (I waited until the next day) and then you’ll cover the whole thing with your marshmallow fondant. I colored my fondant with a little bit of yellow food coloring to make it a better base for the gold spray, but in retrospect I don’t think it was necessary.
So, we’re now going to cover the whole darn thing with our marshmallow fondant. This takes patience and time, so don’t skimp on either. Role out a thin sheet of fondant large enough to cover the cake (good tips on how to size here), and carefully place centered on the top of the cake.
Gradually smooth out the sides, flaring out the fondant, so it covers without wrinkling. This is really hard to explain so I just found a good video on how to do this. Watch this first, then try it on your cake. Mine wasn’t near as neat as the one on this video, but it was close enough. I added snake of fondant around the bottom to hide any sins.
I’ve never covered an entire cake in fondant, but it worked pretty well for a first time.
Also, you could just skip the whole fondant thing, and just ice the cake as you normally would.
I then sprayed the entire cake with gold food spray.
Final Cake Assembly
The morning of the party, I used icing glue to attach a row of gold/silver sprayed vanilla wafers to the side of the base cake, just for fun.
Place your Daleks on your cake, pressing into the fondant layer to steady them.
Since the top of my cake was a little bit rounded, I also used a vanilla wafer under the front of each Dalek to level it out.
And there you have it! The completed Dalek Cake. If you’re going to try this yourself, please read through all the instructions first. I’d suggest planning to do this over several days. Day 1: Bake & ice your cake, and make your marshmallow fondant. If you have time, go ahead and dip your cones. Day 2: Do all your prep work. Day 3: Assemble everything else.
Let me know if you have questions!
Published on: Jun 20, 2012