Celebrate Earth Day with an Earth-shaped cake filled with candy.
Earth Day is April 22nd and I wanted to share my enthusiasm for our planet by baking a cake in its honor. And not just any cake – a candy-filled cake that looks like our dear Earth.
Now, I won't say this was an easy cake to construct. But as I worked, I devised a method of leveling and frosting my spherical cake that will surprise you and made this project go very smoothly!
If you make an Earth cake, be sure to grab a globe to use as a guide. I think it would have been a struggle to create the continents on the cake if I had used a flat image of a map instead. I could follow the shape of the globe as I piped on the continents and did a pretty good job of fitting them in the right spots.
I brought my finished cake over to my neighbors, and was so happy to see such enthusiasm from the kids. Not only were they excited to get some cake, they loved that it looked like Earth– and were amazed to find chocolate rock candy inside!
Start by prepping your sports ball pan. Grease both halves of the sphere generously with shortening, then dust liberally with flour. Tap the excess flour out of the pan.
Make your pound cake batter and pour half into each side of the pan.
Bake and cool the cakes, then remove them from the pans. Wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for an hour.
While your cakes are chillin', get your frosting ready. Color two tubs of the Betty Crocker White Frosting a nice ocean blue using Betty Crocker gel food coloring. Color half of the remaining tub of frosting an Earthy green using a few squirts of the green gel food coloring and a few drops of red. Cover the frosting and let it hang out until you need it.
You might as well get your sports ball pans washed and ready for the next step now too. Line each pan with two layers of plastic wrap.
Now that the cakes are cold, cut them each into a half sphere, removing the part of the cake that has puffed up during baking. Don't have a snack just yet. You need those scraps, at least for a few minutes!
Use a 4 1/2-inch round cookie cutter or knife to cut a circle out of each of the scraps. Cut a 2 1/2-inch circle out of the center of the larger circles. Use a knife and spoon to create a well in the center of each cake that is also 2 inches in diameter.
Use a tiny bit of frosting to glue one large cake ring over the center of each half-sphere cake.
Heat the blue frosting in a microwave safe bowl until pourable, yet thick. I heated mine for three 10-second bursts on high power, stirring after each to get it to a perfect pouring consistency.
Pour half of the blue frosting into each of the plastic wrap lined pans.
Snuggle a cake in the center of each pan.
Now press down on the cake, allowing the frosting to ooze up over the edge of the cake. If you had eaten the scraps and didn't use them here, your hands would now be sticky and blue. Use a small spatula or knife to wipe any excess frosting off the cake. You want the frosting to be at the level of the edge of the pan.
Freeze the cake for at least 30 minutes.
Then, use a serrated knife to level off the cakes, removing any excess frosting and cake. You wont need that ring of cake anymore, so you can finally enjoy a little snack!
Lift the plastic wrap up, removing the frosted cakes from the pans.
Set one cake cut side up, on the small baking ring that comes with the baking pans to keep it level. Set the bottom cake on your serving plate or a cake round. Fill the well with chocolate rocks and add a very thin layer of frosting to that cake (I added it to the other half, and made a bit of a mess when I picked it up.)
Fill the well in the other cake with rocks too, but leave about a 1/2-inch of room at the top. Cut one of the 2 1/2-inch round pieces of cake into a 1/2-inch thickness, frost around the edge of the circle and place it over the candy as a plug. Now, carefully turn the cake over and set it on top of the other cake half.
Your cake will be full of wrinkles, so smooth them out using a spatula or your fingers.
You can make your cake look really smooth, or you can give it texture to look more like water. I went the easy route and added texture using my spatula. I even added some white highlights.
Now comes the tricky part. Yes, nothing up to this point is a challenging as the next step. Unless you're an artist, then this might be easy for you!
Put the green frosting in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, or just put it in a zip top bag and snip off the tip. Pipe on some continents. I used a globe as a guide, and to be honest, I didn't worry too much about making an exact replica of each continent; I just went for general shapes.
I think I did a pretty good job with North and South America.
Africa looks pretty good too, but I found Europe to be quite challenging. I left my continents green and was happy with that. They would look nice with a touch of brown and other shades of green too, so if you are more adventurous, tint the remaining frosting some Earth tones and let your inner artist come through.
Happy Earth Day!