Say hello to "Rusko," the newest member of our family.
Isn't it strange how some kids develop such a strong affection toward a certain type of animal? My youngest son loves penguins. In fact, he told me today he wants to grow up to be a "penguin petter" - isn't that too cute? On the other end of the earth's axis, my oldest boy loves polar bears! He even created an imaginary polar bear that has inspired hours of creative story telling, not to mention polar bear projects and crafts. It's catching - last year I knit this hat because I was bit by the polar bug.
Today was my polar bear boy's birthday. What else could I make but a cake to suit? This was a really easy cake to assemble, and I forgot to take pics of the process, but I think you can easily figure it out.
The cake is one box of standard yellow cake mix, but I divided the batter between an 8" round pan and four cupcakes. I made sure to really fill up two of the cupcakes so they'd get "muffin tops" - I cut those off to make the ears, cutting down one side to fit the curve of the head. The muzzle is the upside down cupcake bottom from one of those muffin tops. That left a couple cupcakes for us to snack on while we made the frosting. Hee hee!
The frosting is made from scratch, not my first choice (I'm all about quick and get-it-done birthday cakes). But I'm soooo glad I took the time to make this because it's delicious! This is marshmallow frosting - oh, yes, 16 big fat marshmallows are melted into all kind of sugary goodness. It's perfect for this cake because the resulting frosting is thick and sticky - great for sculpting and smoothing out the bear's face. The recipe is from an old church cookbook:
2 egg white
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1/4 lb marshmallows (16 large or 160 small)
Put egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, corn syrup, and water in top of double boiler. Place over boiling water; beat until stiff peaks form. Remove from heat and add marshmallows. Beat until thick enough to spread.
After our bear was frosted, I buzzed some coconut in the blender to make it finer, then sprinkled that over the frosting to make the fur. I sculpted a couple of eyebrows/eye indentations to add to the realism. Hey, that fine art degree wasn't for nothing! Milk Dud eyes and a chocolate-covered Oreo nose completed his face. Voila!