RECIPE #459, DAY #630
ORIGINAL RECIPE: Basic idea from “Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Cake,” on YouTube, by Katherine Dey. Actual recipes from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.
TIMING: 2 days, or at least several hours
DIFFICULTY: This is not the cake you want to make with no experience
TOOLS: 2 round cake pans, parchment paper, rolling mat, rolling pin, stand mixer, sifter, double boiler, etc. etc.
COOK TYPE: Oven and stovetop
HEALTH: It’s cake.
EXPERIENCE: My son had a Cub Scout cake auction coming up, and with him being the new kid in the pack as well as his disappointing placing in the pine car derby, I wanted to conquer this one. And lucky for him, I was built for it. So we went to Pinterest and looked up cakes with the theme “bugs.” I was thinking a tiered affair with coconut grass and some sort of little candy bugs, but then we came across a photo of Katherine Dey’s almost-famous cockroach cake, which was ultra-realistic and filled with Boston Cream “guts.” If you’ve ever squashed a cockroach, you will appreciate this flourish.
He took home the prize, and was super proud of it.
NOTES: There are just too many notes for this. You need some cake baking and decorating experience to tackle it, especially with no step-by-step pictures. You may not use all the chocolate frosting. And make sure that you refrigerate this cake, which means you do not want to make it too far ahead of time.
Unfortunately, I could take a photo of the inside, since this cake went home with the winning bid. Maybe one day I will make another one for us.
- In a small heavy-bottomed sauce pan, whisk together 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Whisk in 2 egg yolks and then 1 ½ cups milk.
- Turn heat to medium and stir constantly until it comes to a boil. Continue for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap (right on the surface) and set aside in the fridge.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 2/3 cup softened unsalted butter and 6 cups sifted powdered sugar on low speed. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla and 6 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate.
- Beat in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until frosting is the correct consistency for frosting. Set aside in a bowl or jar.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Oil and fit 2 round cake pans with parchment paper. Oil again and flour. Set aside.
- Back in your stand mixer—fitted with a clean bowl and beater—combine 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour, 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup softened unsalted butter, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 ¼ cups water, 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoons vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, and 2 eggs. Beat on high for 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl if needed.
- Pour the batter equally into the 2 pans. Bake for 30 minutes before checking doneness with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, set pans on a cooling rack.
- After 10 minutes, run a paring knife around the outside edge of the pans, then turn them over onto the cooling rack to remove the cake. Let cool until completely cool.
- When cool, level 1 of the cakes, then cut both cakes into the shape of a cockroach, making sure they are the same. Continue to cut to get the shape right.
- On your display board, set out the leveled half of the cockroach. Scoop out some of the center and frost the cavity to make it sort of waterproof, leaving enough wall for it to hold its shape. Fill with half of the Boston cream.
- Hollow out the bottom middle of the other half of the cockroach. Frost it, then fill with Boston cream and flop over onto the first half, so that you now have a cockroach filled with cream.
- Frost the outside of the cockroach.
- Roll out white fondant and cut shapes as needed. I used an online video to get an idea of the shapes, as well as a photograph of a cockroach. Place fondant on the cake, wetting with water with the tip of your finger where fondant overlaps.
- On a flat plate, place some yellow, brown, and black food coloring and some vodka. Use a food-safe paint brush, mix colors with vodka and paint the cockroach according to that photograph you have.
- It would be best to make legs from fondant, but paper will also work. Antenna has to be long, thin, and suspended, so I found cardstock to work best for this.
Serve with milk.
LEFTOVER IDEAS: Yeah, just keep eating it, just remember that it needs to be stored in the fridge because of the cream filling.
*Recipe changed from the original.