Wow! It's been two weeks since my last blog post and believe me, I didn't plan it that way. I was stuck working on this surprise panda cake and after 5 trials I think I finally got something close to a panda face. There were many lessons learned in patience, frustration, and not giving up (on myself) because it was so complex to make. I'll explore this more in my next blog post, but for now, I have for you a surprise panda cake tutorial, or something like it!
Store-bought pound cake mix, 3 boxes plus ingredients listed on boxes 9"x5" loaf pan Nonstick spray Parchment paper Black food color Green (or other color of choice) food color 3" circle cookie cutter 1" oval cookie cutter 1/2" circle cookie cutter Toothpicks Powdered sugar glaze
Start by preparing the first pound cake according to the instructions on the back of the box. Lightly spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a rectangular piece of parchment paper. Spread the batter into the pan and bake per the directions on box.
Note: I only had one loaf pan, so I baked, cooled and removed my first cake from the pan before proceeding onto the next cake.
Next, prepare the second box exactly as directed. Once mixed, split the batter into two bowls. Tint one bowl with black food color and continue mixing until the food color is incorporated well. The second bowl of batter can be mixed in with the third box, or you can do what I did: bake a separate mini raspberry pound cake and have your S/O take it into work. :) Just fold in some frozen berries and bake!
Once both your cakes have cooled completely, take a knife and cut them both into about 1" slices. Using the large circle cookie cutter, cut the face out of a slice of yellow cake and set it on a sheet pan. Then take your oval cookie cutter and cut out the eyes. If your pound cake is too soft, pop it into the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up. This will make cutting it a lot easier.
Note: I didn't have an oval cookie cutter, so I took a circle and shaped it into an oval.
Repeat the process for the nose. Next, take your black pound cake and cut out the eyes and nose then pop them into the holes of the face. Take any remaining black cake and cut crescent-shaped ears using your oval cutter. It doesn't have to be perfect. Insert toothpicks through the ears and into the head to secure them. Freeze them for 30 minutes and then line them upright in a prepared loaf pan.
Prepare your third cake mix and tint it dark green or any color of your choice. In hindsight, I should have gone darker to show the contrast, but you live and learn! Carefully pour the prepared batter over your panda faces. This may get messy, but try your best. Some may become casualties, but that's OK! Don't give up. :)
Bake this cake, but keep an eye on it because it may not take as long as the other two since there is already pre-baked cake pieces inside of it. Lastly, spread some powdered sugar glaze (I used this recipe) over the cooled cake and put it in the fridge for at least an hour to set up.
And that's it! You have a surprise panda cake. Yay!