We’ve a bit of a Doctor Who thing happening here this year, so it was only natural for my now-10 year old to request a TARDIS cake for his birthday.
And not just any old TARDIS cake — a 3D TARDIS cake!
While my execution could use refinement (a side effect of making things up as you go along, like I tend to do when assembling birthday cakes and Halloween costumes, and pretty much anything else I create), and I learned a very important lesson — the Heart of the TARDIS is not, in fact, custard — he was impressed with the results.
I, however, fully expect to see this one posted to Cake Wrecks!
What you need:
cardboard to make a template
6 – 8″ x 8″ square cake layers
5 cups of icing, tinted blue
black/navy, white, yellow icing for detail work
round cookie cutter
Make a 5.5″ x 5.5″ cardboard template. As you can see from my picture, I put on my Realistic Mom hat and used a cake mix for this project. This was partly because it was faster than my usual cake recipe, but mostly because all of my butter was still in the freezer and not coming to room temperature anytime soon.
For what it’s worth, cake boxes make excellent template material.
Using the template, cut all 6 layers into evenly thick squares. Stack them to check for proper height, and that all the sides are more or less even. Double check that your skewers are long enough to reach through all the layers.
The next step is to take your cookie cutter and cut out the center of 5 layers — set the 6th layer aside, as it will be the roof. This is going to form the heart of the TARDIS.
If you are prudent, you will fill it with fresh fruit the first time around instead of having the harebrained idea of filling it with custard.
Custard won’t work — trust me on this one.
The TARDIS might be bigger on the inside, but it lacks the structural integrity to contain two tins of custard.
What custard will do is cause the bottom layers to explode — oozing custard across your counter — while you frantically try to rescue the rest of the cake. Your 11.5yr old will have to run to the grocery store as soon as he gets home from school to buy one more cake mix, because you now need to make and bake (and cool!) two more cake layers.
It will also create a lovely (okay, rather disgusting looking) bowl of blue custardy goo.
I call it TARDIS Trifle, because — let’s be honest — it was either give it a name and have a bowlful, or melt into a puddle of Frustrated Mom tears.
Add booze, if you have it. It will make the oncoming storm, er, upcoming decorating a little less painful, and a lot more happy and carefree.
It also makes a great excuse for sloppy icing skills — pull a Rob Ford and claim you were decorating it in a drunken stupor. (Just kidding, really. I swear. Totally kidding. Move along, nothing to see here..)
So don’t use custard.
Serve your custard on the side, if you must. I suggest lady finger biscuits as a fish fingers replacement.
Once the centres are cut out, it’s time to ice between the layers and stack the first 5 sections. Fill the centre with fruit. We used a mixture of strawberries and blueberries and it was pretty tasty.
Place the roof on the top. After all 6 layers are in place, insert a skewer about 1″ in from each corner. The skewer should extend all the way down to the plate. Trim off any excess from the top.
Ice the top and sides of the cake. Make sure you are using a firm icing.
I didn’t and it made the Tardis look a little melty. Or warped. Or a little like it was travelling through the time vortex.
No matter — the kids didn’t notice — but I will do it differently next time.
A jujube coated in yellow icing makes a great emergency light on top. Draw on details with white and black icing.
Fantastic! Allons-y! Geronimo!
And prepare to have everyone in your house pooping neon green until all of the cake has been consumed!
Don’t say you weren’t warned..