Monday, September 5, 2011

Beefcake – the greatest cake known to man. Tutorial: How to make a cake that looks like a steak!

It was my Daddy’s 50th Birthday last week and I had no idea what I was going to bake for him. A golf themed cake? Tour de France? Several brainstorming sessions with work colleagues resulted in various ideas being thrown back at me with a giant LAME attached to it.

It was one week out and I was getting desperate. I consulted MummyB. Surely after 20 something years of marriage she’ll know what he’d like. “Remember when his mates gave him the nickname ‘Beefcake’? What about a cow cake? With 50’s on it..? WAIT! A steak cake!!” The woman is a frickin genius.
I scoured the interwebs for inspiration and found loads of it. And it turned out to be one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made. Everyone at the party loved it, even if they were a little turned off by it.

You will need:
Large slab cake and butter cream (or icing of your choosing)
Paper and pencil (for template)
Large knife

White fondant
Red gel food colouring
Vodka (or any clear spirit)
Fondant smoother
Foam meat tray (ask at your local butcher)
Glad wrap
Paper towel

Have a look at some of the inspiration I found online and draw a steak template on your piece of paper. Keep in mind that you will be covering the cake in two layers of fondant around the edges, so you will need to be generous with your cutting.
Once you’ve cut and filled your cake, give it a basic crumb coat. I followed up with a second layer of buttercream, but you don’t really have to for this cake. Let’s face it, steak doesn’t have that gorgeous sharp edge that we’re all so desperately seeking with our round and square fondant covered cakes. The more bumps and lumps, the better!
Next, roll out your fondant to about 5mm thick and cover the cake. As you can see, I tinted my fondant pink to act as a base for building a stronger colour. I think white underneath would have worked better – a few flecks of white showing through the red would have looked like streaks of fat. Lovely. Now the fun begins!
Grab your vodka, take a giant swig before pouring yourself a glass. Straight up. Then, pour a small amount into a shallow dish or bowl (I use an old jam jar lid). Next, drop a big dollop of red food gel into the vodka and gently mix. The reason why we are using food gel (and not ever, ever liquid colour!) is because we want a stronger colour and we also want some globby, clot-like bits (hence why I also put the vodka first, then colouring).

Rip off a bit of paper towel (or you could use a large, soft brush) and ball it up, dip it in the vodka/colour and sponge onto the fondant, no need to paint the sides. If you want more bloody-clots (and really, who doesn’t want more bloody-clots) then you can always smudge some food gel directly on the cake with your fingers, after you’ve put the vodka solution on.
You may be wondering why I have used vodka to dilute the colouring. It’s not just because it’s a refreshing beverage, particularly when mixed with soda water and lime, and it’s presence on the cake-decorating-table acts as an excuse to fuel my raging alcoholism. Ummm no. The vodka, or any clear spirit, will evaporate quickly and leave only the colour on your cake. If you dilute with water, the water will dissolve the sugar in the fondant and the whole thing will become a sticky, sweaty mess (see my 21st Birthday cake for an example of how NOT to paint a cake).

Once you are happy with the colouring on the top of your cake (don’t worry, we can add more later if need be), set aside to dry, preferably overnight.
Now we are going to add some FAT around the edge. A Niiiiice big ring of FAT! Measure the height of the cake and roll out your fondant so you have a few extra centimetres to work with. Brush a little water on the sides of your cake and whack your roll of fat on the side! As I said, you want some extra fondant on the fat so you have an overhang at the top. Trying to keep a realistic look, there is no need to be delicate – grab a pair of scissors and chop away at the excess. I cannot stress enough how simple this is, don’t try and make it neat and pretty. WE WANT MESS AND GORE!
Now take to the overhang with your fondant smoother and gently smooth onto the top of your cake. If you don’t have a fondant smoother, THEN GET ONE! But seriously, if you don’t then you can just use your hands, maybe a small (CLEAN) book?? Does anyone have any suggestions for substitute fondant smoothers? Anything? But when you do finally buy one, it will change your life forever. Seriously.
Once the sides are finished, grab some excess fondant and roll it in your hands so you have a ‘rope’ of fondant to use for the bone. Using your awesome powers of creativity, place the fondant ‘rope’ on the cake and shape it until you’re happy. Next we’re going to squash and smooth it out using our fondant smoother. Make adjustments as you see fit, cut off excess fat, trim the bone, add more blood, etc.
To finish off, I added a few more blobs of red gel, placed it on the foam tray and covered it in glad wrap. Doesn’t it just make you want to fire up the bbq? I also made a personalised label, with the expiry date as my Daddy’s birthday (this year) which made it look SUPER realistic. Hilarious!! Not unlike this photo..


  1. wow... i know ken would love this..

    for myself.. im pretty scared of touching raw meat.. how weird of me..

  2. my goodness! how creative of you...yes literally a BEEF-CAKE!
    looks like your dad was super impressed too!! :D

  3. omg this is amazing! It really looks like a a slab of beef!!! Im sure your dad was so amazed by this!

  4. Haha I love it! And your dad looks like he loves it too! :D

  5. The expression on your dad's face is priceless! Well done.

  6. I LOVE IT! I absolutely adore food masquerading as other food, and this is PRICELESS!

    Love the extra attention to labeling too!

    Do you give cake classes?

  7. you totally nailed it!!!! and it looks so bloody in its wrapped packaging... great work!