March 9th is NATIONAL CRAB DAY. And what better way to celebrate than with our CRABBY CRAB CAKE!!!!
This thin-skinned fellow was inspired by a day we spent fishing and clamming out on the tip of Long Island, just as winter was coming in. (Yes, we can be a little crazy sometimes.) It was freezing and wet, but lots of fun—and when we got back to the Candy Lab, all we could think of was SEA CREATURES.
Round cake pans are the most common in the kitchen, and the crab gets its shell by simply splitting a round in half and sandwiching the two sides together. The claws are where we got to use some real geniosity from our book Cake My Day! We baked two small cakes in 8-ounce oven-safe bowls. (That’s right. Those little oven-safe glass bowls in your cupboard are perfect for baking!) Then we split them to make the parts for the claws!
Here’s the entire recipe, claws and all!
1 batch yellow cake batter, box mix or your favorite recipe, divided (1/2 cup batter in each of two 8-ounce oven-safe bowls and the remaining batter in an 8-inch round baking pan) and baked following the instructions in the recipe
1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
Red food coloring (McCormick)
3 red licorice twists (Twizzler)
1 roll (.75 ounces) red fruit leather (Fruit by the Foot)
2 black candy coated chocolates (M&M’S)
2 back candy coated licorice pastels (Jelly Belly)
1 cup red decorating sugar (Cake Mate)
1/2 cup ground vanilla wafers (optional)
- Cut the 8-inch round cake in half crosswise, to make 2 semi-circular cakes. Sandwich the two bottom sides of the semi-circles together, using some frosting to secure. Spread a thin crumb coating of frosting on the cake, filling any gaps and smooth. Transfer the cake to a cardboard cut to fit, cut side down. Trim the top of each bowl cake to level. Make a crosswise cut through each bowl cake, dividing them into 1/3 and 2/3 pieces. Cover all four bowl cake pieces with a thin crumb coating of vanilla frosting, and smooth. Place the cut bowl cake pieces on cardboards cut to fit, trimmed top side down. Place all of the cakes in the freezer to chill, about 30 minutes.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of the vanilla frosting into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Tint the remaining vanilla frosting red with the food coloring. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
- Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. As you prepare the crab parts, transfer them to the cookie sheet. To make the eyes, cut a licorice twist in half crosswise. Cut one of the marshmallows in half crosswise. Insert the tip of a 5-inch wooden skewer at one edge of the cut marshmallow. Press a black chocolate candy onto the sticky side of marshmallow for the pupil and a licorice pastel above as the eyebrow. Thread the open end of the cut licorice twist onto the wooden skewer. Repeat to make another eye.
- For the legs, cut the remaining 2 licorice twists in half lengthwise. Cut each piece in half crosswise to get 8 pieces.
- For the beard, unroll the fruit leather and fold it in half to make a double thickness, pressing to secure. Cut the fruit leather into 3-inch pieces. Use pinking shears to cut a scalloped edge on one long side of the fruit leather pieces. Gather the fruit leather at the opposite side to make a ruffle. (You will need about 5 or 6 pieces.)
- For the claws, cut a 1/4 inch slice from each flat side of the 4 remaining marshmallows, discarding the center. Cut the pieces in half to make 16 semi circles.
- Place the red sugar in a large bowl. Spread some of the red frosting over the large chilled cake and make smooth. Hold the cake on the cardboard over the bowl of sugar and lightly press the sugar up and over the sides of the cake to coat completely. Brush the top of the cake lightly to remove any excess sugar. Lightly press the sprinkled cake to smooth and flatten any ridges. Transfer cake to a serving platter.
- To make the claws, frost the cut bowl cake pieces with the remaining red frosting and make smooth. Working on one piece at a time, coat the cake with the red sugar as above. Press the cut side of 5 marshmallows along the top flat sides of larger pieces of cake to make the inside of the claw, using some frosting to secure if necessary. Repeat adding 3 marshmallow pieces to the smaller cake pieces. Arrange the large pieces on either side of the semi-circle cake, curved side facing out. Add the small cakes at an angle, with the marshmallow sides facing the marshmallows of the larger pieces.
- Make a thin slit on the top of the large cake, 1 inch from the edge, and press the gathered end of the fruit leather into the cake for the beard. Insert the licorice twist ends of the eye assemblies behind the beard, leaving about 2 inches of the twist exposed.
- Sprinkle the platter with the ground vanilla wafers to look like sand. Tuck the cut licorice twists under the cake on either side as the back legs.
The recipe makes 12 servings. And don’t be shellfish with those cookie crumbs for sand!
Happy Crab Day!
Alan and Karen