Sunday, May 15, 2016

How to: Root Cellar Cake

Well, I never saw the day coming where I'd be making a Root Cellar cake. Sure, I've made a lot of random cakes in my day - a Gangster Sloth, a 'fermented' Wolf Head, and the ultimate nerd cake collab for a Nerdy 30 party, but a root cellar? Nope, didn't see that one coming!

If you're not familiar with root cellars, they're essentially cellars that are built directly into the ground or out of the side of a hill/cliff for storing your veggies. They're pretty standard in the area I'm from, in particular, down over the ridge in Elliston, where the town actually holds the title of being the 'Root Cellar Capital of the World'! So again, never thought I'd be making one out of cake and buttercream! However, when my Elliston-born biffle was celebrating a milestone birthday, giving me no theme to go on, it just somehow seemed right!

Root Cellar How To:

First, I baked 2 chocolate cake mixes in bread pans. I used my Nan's hand-me-down bread pans, lined with parchment paper (so the cakes would pop out right easy-like). The shape of the pans closely resembles the shape of a root cellar, so I thought it would be perfect!

While the cakes were baking in the oven and then cooling on the racks, I prepped the cellar door and rocks out of fondant. I used Wilton pre-made white fondant which I coloured with Wilton Icing Gel Colours.

For the door, I used black gel to dye the fondant grey, then partially mixed more black icing through to achieve the worn wood look. I used extra black on the hinges and the latch, and added grooves to the door to give the look of wooden boards.

For the rocks, I dyed smaller pieces of fondant a few at a time, mixing brown and black to achieve random patterns. I then rolled them out and sliced them into various shapes and sizes similar to the rocks you would find jammed into place, in the front of a root cellar.

Once the cakes were cooled, it was time to shape them into the cellar. You can do this however you like, but I wanted to make sure I had a lumpy, not too perfect top with a flat front for the entryway. I placed the cakes together, sliced the front, then played around with slicing here and there, and adding cake to certain places until the root cellar started taking shape.

Once I was happy with the shape, I joined all the bits together with icing, crumb-coated it and set it in the fridge before moving on to the decorating stage.

After the cake was set, I decorated. I started by piping grey buttercream unto the front, I didn't care much about how it looked because it would be my 'mortar'. I placed the door and then started piecing the rocks on one at a time like a puzzle. Some of the 'mortar' came through the cracks, but I was okay with that because it just adds to the overall look.

Before adding the grass, I added some additional rock pieces on the top, since you know... Newfoundland!... just to give it some extra rockiness. I then piped a mixture of green buttercream with bits of brown & yellow to create the grassy top of the cellar.

And the final touch was the addition of a horseshoe, as suggested by my father, after Skyping him my final product! In the end I was pretty pleased with how it all turned out. Who knows, maybe it won't be my last root cellar cake? Maybe there's a local market for it? ;)

The Root Cellar Cake Enjoying the Party.