Tuesday, September 3, 2013
We thoroughly enjoyed SyFy's Sharknado, so I made this cookie cake for my son's birthday. It wasn't too hard, BUT the tornado is cotton candy, so you cannot make this on a rainy day! This is a low-humity dessert!
Stuff to acquire before you start:
- 1 or 2 tubes of plastic sharks (the shark head on the cake was the top of one of my tubes) This gives the dessert it's "movie-quality" appeal! (The tackier the sharks, the better!)
- 10 or so plastic floral skewers. You need 3 of these to help secure the nado, plus one for each shark. Break them off at an appropriate height, then hot glue a shark to each skewer. (See picture.)
- Several bags/tubs of cotton candy - I tried several brands. The brand from Party City was the worst, the candy had a bad texture and didn't pull apart. The "Hello Kitty" brand from Toys R Us worked well. The tub from Publix was also good. Note that all the packs had both pink and blue candy, you'll have to separate the blue. You don't need the pink.
- Florist wire or similar wire - lightweight, but strong enough to hold the candy.
- A toy helicopter. This was actually the hardest thing to find! There are RC copters, but they are expensive. This was a Disney toy from Toys R Us, in the $6 range, but the only non-RC helicopter I found. If you have time, order a cheap toy helicopter online.
When you're ready to bake:
1. Start by making a large cookie cake. Err on the side of overbaking a bit - you want the cake to be very firm.
Spray round cookie pan with non-stick spray. (I use a round 9x13 Wilton cookie pan.) Prepare batch of chocolate chip cookie dough or use 2 tubes of refrigerated dough. Bake in 350o F oven for approximately 22 minutes or until cookie is set. Ovens vary widely, so check cookie at 18 minutes and every couple minutes thereafter. Let cool, then unmold onto tray or serving platter.
2. Once the cake is fully cooled, make a 1/2 batch of buttercream icing (see recipe on the sidebar). Tint blue or grey.
3. Make a tornado shape out of the wire. (It can be pretty loose. You are going to wrap cotton candy around the wires.)
4. Place three skewers into the cake, to hold the wire. (Position with the tornado, but then remove it.) Use liberal buttercream to secure the skewers into the cookie.
5. Holding the tornado in your hands, and begin to cover the wire with blue cotton candy. To do this, wrap strips of candy around the wire and squeeze to seal. (It takes a bit of practice.) When the tornado is mostly covered, slide it onto the skewers, so the skewers are inside, providing support. Cover any remaining wire with cotton candy.
6. Gently insert the shark skewers into the tornado, going between the wires to make the sharks "emerge" from the tornado. If the tornado is a bit tipsy, these skewers can be strategically placed to provide additional support. If a skewer is too visible, cover with a bit of leftover cotton candy.
7. Pipe buttercream message on the cookie - I used a No. 4 Wilton tip. The Sharknado tag line is "enough said" so that's a good phrase to incorporate. Position helicopter as desired, along with any remaining sharks.
8. Pipe buttercream stars or shells around the border to finish.