Cat in the Hat Cake for a Dr. Seuss inspired birthday party
When I was conceptualizing my son's second birthday party, I knew that I wanted to make a Cat in the Hat cake to go with my chosen Dr. Seuss inspired theme. I wanted it to be cute and quirky, and I also wanted it to be easy!
I think the finished product came out fantastic and now you can make one just like it - find out how below!
To start you will need the following supplies:
Cat in the Hat Cake - Bake and Frost it!
To duplicate this tiered cake you will need a round cake pans set in 6", 8" and 10". Prepare each boxed mix according to the package instructions. I used chocolate cake for two batches of both the 6" and 8" cakes, and the white and red velvet made two each of the 10" cakes.
When the cakes have been cooled, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer until hard. I baked my cakes the day before decorating so that they would be frozen and I'd have more time at my disposal to do the finishing touches.
The next day, remove the cakes one at a time, letting each thaw just enough to cut the rounded tops off (to make the cake flat). Then cut in half. I used a long serrated knife to cut into the cake while rotating it to get an level finish. Assemble the cake by adding a thick layer of frosting between the sponge layers. I used four layers for each cake.
My two top tiers were frosted with chocolate frosting and the bottom tier I made alternating white and red velvet cake with white frosting (kind of like the Cat in the Hat's hat!). Do a light "crumb coat" of buttercream frosting on each cake then put into the refrigerator to harden up. When that layer is hard to the touch, remove from the fridge and do another thicker layer of buttercream to smooth out the cake.
You want to make sure this layer of frosting is as smooth as possible so that you don't see too many bumps when you layer on the fondant!
(Also, please note, I cut the top tier into a box shape before frosting it with buttercream so that I would not have to mess with it later - I recommend you do the same if you plan to do a box shape also!)
Cat in the Hat Cake - Roll and cover with fondant!
Rolling out fondant is easy. I used Wilton pre-packaged fondant. It's simple to work with and is readily available for purchase.
Sprinkle your work area with a light dusting of powdered sugar. To prepare the fondant, remove 2.5 lbs (one package) from wrapping and knead until soft. Sprinkle occasionally with powdered sugar to keep the fondant from sticking to your work surface. Use a dusted rolling pin to work the fondant to about 1/4 of an inch thick, occasionally rotating it to keep from sticking.
Fondant will dry out so be sure that as soon as your fondant is at the right thickness that you are ready to lay it on the cake. Remove your bottom tier from the refrigerator and get ready to cover! You may need a spare set of hands at this point.
I like to set my bottom tier on the serving platter or stand so that is ready to go. Lift the fondant quickly, using the rolling pin or both your arms to move it over and above your cake. When it is center lay it down gently. Use a fondant smoother or your hands to smooth it out and shape it to the cake. Be very gentle at the edges and bottom so that it doesn't rip!
When you have smoothed it to the bottom you can trim it with a pizza cutter around the bottom, but NOT too close to the edge or you will find that you have holes where you cake shows through!
Repeat by cutting the second package of fondant in half to cover both the middle and top tiers. If you are using food coloring gel, color your fondant for the top tier at this point. You will use any access red fondant to make the circle shapes for the bottom tier. If you are using the spray you can skip this step because you will spray it when it is covered and dry!
Cat in the Hat Cake - assemble it!
Assembling your Cat in the Hat cake is easy.
You will use the wooden skewers to keep some pressure off your bottom tiers so that your cake doesn't tip over or collapse. Simply measure the skewer height required by positioning one alongside the bottom tier and making a mark. Then trim to the correct height. You will need about 5 or 6 of these. Stick them in the cake, starting in the center. Just place them a few inches apart in a circular shape (just make sure you don't make them spaced wider than the next tier).
Carefully move the second tier and place on top of the cake. If you like you can have circles measuring the size of each tier cut out of cardboard to make these transfers easier, or they are frequently available at craft stores. I chose not to do this since the cake was for a personal event and I wasn't really worried about the layers sticking together.
Next measure the wooden skewers so that one piece will push through both the second and bottom tier. One or two of these should suffice. Put your cake aside and prep the area to spray the top tier or "box". It's best if you do this in a well ventilated area, and be sure to cover anything you don't want dusted with a light coat of red! Also, be sure you have your extra fondant lay out and smooth and ready to paint as well. Cut the circles out of the fondant before it dries, and when the paint is no longer sticky, use a touch of water to stick each individual circle to the bottom tier of the cake.
When your box is dry, plop it on top of the cake.
Now come the finishing touches. Using your black food decorating pen, trace the outside edges of the red circles and add a few sketchy lines alla "Dr. Seuss-style". I also used my marker to trace the middle tier and make it look like a drawing.
Pipe some buttercream frosting along the bottom of each tier to adhere the twizzlers and alternating red and blue gumballs to the base. Separate the pull and peel twizzlers you will need for the box, and using a touch of water on your finger stick pieces all over the box to make it appear like planks of wood. You could also use pre-made red frosting to create this same affect.
FInally, use your Dr. Seuss themed - Cat in the Hat cake toppers to finish off the look.
Your cake will easy sit at room temperature (68-72 degrees) for up to 2 days, although I recommend doing all the baking the day before and decorating the day of your event.
Enjoy your fabulous Cat in the Hat cake creation and have a great time at your Dr. Seuss themed birthday party!
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