Rekindle your love for the great outdoors with an adventurous camping cake theme. This theme gives you freedom to customise your cake and to add details that will bring the cake to life. Recreate a camping trip by copying a camping site captured in a photo or from your memory. Add a graham cracker person for each camper who went on the trip, giving them tiny facial characteristics to make them identifiable. If you are decorating a cake for a child's birthday or slumber party, add miniature forest animals made of plastic or royal icing as party favours for the partygoers.
Place a 9-by-13-inch baked sheet cake in the centre of a 12-by-16-inch piece of sturdy cardboard. Mix 3 cups of buttercream frosting with green food colouring until you achieve a colour similar to grass. Fill a pastry bag equipped with a grass tip with the green frosting and cover the sheet cake sides and top with grass-style frosting.
Melt 20 large marshmallows in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent the marshmallows from scorching. Add 2 tbsp of melted butter to the melted marshmallows and stir to combine. Remove the pan from heat and add in a few drops of green food colouring; stir well. Pour in 2 cups of cornflakes and stir to combine.
Spray cooking oil onto the palms of your hands. Work quickly to gather the green marshmallow mixture with your hands after it is cool enough to handle but before it cools completely. Divide the mass into 3 to 6 cone-shaped trees, each of varying sizes. Set the trees on a sheet of waxed paper to cool completely.
Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown sugar on the grass frosting where you want to position a fire pit. Spread the brown sugar out to at least 1 inch wider than the diameter of the fire pit. Add 4 to 8 assorted gumdrops in red, orange and yellow to the centre the brown sugar to represent the fire embers. Position 10 pretzel sticks in a pyramid shape over the gumdrops as the fire logs; break a couple of the pretzel sticks in half to add depth to the fire pit.
Place 5 graham crackers around the fire pit to symbolise campers. Add a round flat sugar wafer to the end of the graham cracker closest to the fire as the campers' heads. Decorate the other ends of the graham crackers with assorted colours of icing gel in tubes to look like sleeping bags. Use the tubed gel icing to add faces and hair to each of the sugar wafers.
Turn 2 chocolate-coated toaster pastries lengthwise and form a tent-shape, or upside-down "V." Place the tent on the grass somewhere near to the graham crackers and the fire pit. Add a small amount of buttercream to the side of two pretzel sticks and stick these lengthwise end-to-ends across the top of the tent to help hold it together and add detail.
Identify where you want to position your trees on top of the cake. Sprinkle approximately 1 tbsp of brown sugar in a circle that is at least a 1/4-inch wider than the base of each tree. Set the trees in the centre of the brown sugar dirt rings.
Form letters out of pretzel sticks to continue with the camping theme if you are making this cake for a particular person or event. If you do not have a grass tip, you could simply frost the cake using a spatula.
Do not attempt to decorate this cake in a hot environment or if the cake is still warm. If you do so, the grass icing will not stick up in a realistic fashion.
Tips and warnings
- Form letters out of pretzel sticks to continue with the camping theme if you are making this cake for a particular person or event.
- If you do not have a grass tip, you could simply frost the cake using a spatula.
- Do not attempt to decorate this cake in a hot environment or if the cake is still warm. If you do so, the grass icing will not stick up in a realistic fashion.