Monday, May 9, 2011

Turkey Cake Tutorial


As promised, here is my set of instructions on how to build your very own Turkey Cake just like the one I made for our April Fool’s Feast. 

First you need to bake some cake!  I made a Vanilla Cake and baked it in two round cake pans (1 recipe’s worth) and then made an Applesauce Spice Cake (with brown coloring added to darken it) and baked it in one round cake pan (also 1 recipe’s worth), recipes at the bottom of the post.  They are both yummy and better than box mixes but if you must, you can do a yellow or white cake mix and a spice cake mix. You really only need three levels max. 

When the cake has cooled and removed from the pans, take a bread knife and cut off the rounded tops off of all but the one you will use on top.  Save what you cut off as you will use it for “stuffing” later on.

Wrap up the cakes in a couple layers of saran wrap and stick them in the freezer.  This makes the cakes infinitely easier to carve into your desired shape without have crumbs all over the place.  This step is a must.


I just froze mine overnight but you might be able to get by with just a few hours.  Pull your cakes out and unwrap them.  Layer them with buttercream frosting in between, spice cake on bottom (for your “dark meat”) and white on top with the rounded cake on the very top. I don’t know why I did it but don’t use foil underneath while you are cutting. 


Carve away! If you need to look at pictures of roast turkey on the web so you can get the general shape. 


….. carve….. carve…. carve…


Resist the temptation to eat those scraps.  The kids might sneak some though…


Clean it up and put it on your platter.  I used a little frosting underneath to sort of glue it to the platter but it may not be necessary, it is weighty enough.


Make your buttercream frosting a nice brown turkey skin color.  It took a good mixture of brown and yellow and orange to get it looking right. 


Frost that beast.  To get a nice smooth surface I took my spreader and dipped it in a cup of hot water until it gets hot, take it out and shake off excess water, and work the spreader over the frosting.  This way it will sort of melt it a little bit and smooth it out beautifully.  Go back and forth dipping in water and working on cake.  Or you could do fondant if you are into that.  The frosting was pretty yummy though.


Make a batch of rice krispie treats. I don’t know why but I can not get consistent results with rice krispies, weird huh?  Maybe I shouldn’t have used no name brand rice cereal…. Either way, make them, and grease up your hands so you can mold them into drum sticks and wings.  Mine kept falling apart but in theory it should work well.


I used several toothpicks to secure these appendages onto the body.  Then frost them like the cake. 


Have an insane amount of patience, you are almost done.


Once all is frosted and in place, I used some spray on food coloring to kind of give it a real cooked turkey skin look.  I could only find red and orange (no brown) so I used a little, here and there, mostly on spots you would expect to brown first like the top and the drums, etc.  Don’t do it all over and don’t do a heavy coat.  It probably wasn’t too noticeable but oh well.


Now it is time to make the platter more presentable.  Add your “stuffing” by using cubed cake leftovers (both light and dark) and mound them to look like they are coming out the rear.  Dress up the platter.  I used real parsley, orange slices. I had hopes to do cranberries as well but that didn’t happen. 


To have fun place it in your cooled oven and close the door.  People can peak in if they must.  Carve it like a real bird, let people choose their light or dark meat, drums or wings, and you’ve got an awesome “dinner”! 



  1. You are amazing Jackie! I can't believe it! You know your rice crispy trouble might be a result of your marshmallows. Generic marshmallows are made from a different type of sugar than jet puffs. It makes a big difference when melted for some reason. That may be why you get different result every time. Again, you rock!

  2. I want to make one of those sometime, but I'm sure mine wouldn't look that awesome, you are so talented!


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