Aeroplane Cake!

I made this for someone in the Air Force who asked me for an aeroplane cake for their birthday. Now, I didn’t have the time – nor, to be frank, the skill – to replicate an actual aircraft in the Indian Air Force, so they had to make do with something that looks like a hybrid of Indigo and GoAir (anyone even remember that airline?)

Incredibly easy templates and how-to after the cut.

airplane cake

Now, I had seen some really incredible cakes on Pinterest (if you aren’t following me already, why not? click here to keep up with all the projects I shall be doing – and blogging about) and I was very intimidated by the thought of trying to replicate any of them. But, well, I can be stubborn at times, and I decided I would make this aeroplane cake ‘by hook or by crook’, as one of my school-days’ English teachers used to say.

To start with, I am a little handicapped when it comes to making awesome cakes in a variety of shapes – I’m only a very amateur baker, and I don’t have many of the cake tins or moulds people keep blogging about. No fancy silicon moulds or piping bags here. So I decided to hack it using whatever I had on hand.

I used a large flat Pyrex dish and an aluminium ice-cream mould to make the cake. My ice cream mould actually looks more like a bread mould, so I decided to use it for the wings of the areoplane.

Then, I took a large sheet of newspaper and made myself a template. Like so:

airplane cake         aeroplane cake
The templates are, obviously, not to scale. Use a sheet of paper as long as your own two flat dishes to make your own templates.
Then, of course, I made my cake. I decided to go for four layers of two different flavours for the body, and just two layers of each flavour for the wings. I chose chocolate and coffee, to make it a mocha cake.

So once I had two cakes each of the body and wings in chocolate and coffee, I decided to cut out the pieces according to my template. I then started assembling the cake, using vanilla buttercream between the layers and over the entire thing once it was all assembled. The two wings, the tail, and the body remained separate, I wanted to join them up later.

Now you need to shave the cake a little to give the body of the aeroplane a rounded appearance – basically, take a knife and cut off bits of cake and shape the topmost layer so that you get a noticeable bump for your cockpit. The important part to this step is that your cake HAS to be chilled in the refrigerator for atleast 5-6 hours before you can shave the cake and not have all the layers fall apart. I left my cake in overnight, because I’m both lazy and paranoid.

Then, once I had the aeroplane shape, I draped the body, the tail, and each of the wings with fondant. I had to take two little pieces of cake and cover them with fondant to make supports for the wings to rest on, I used the discarded portions of cake to make them.

Now I needed to attach the tail and wings to the body of the aeroplane. For the wings, I used a toothpick stuck through the wing and pushed into the side of the body. The tail was small enough to be stuck on with a light brush of water over the fondant surfaces.

I then used some food colouring to paint on windows and decorations. In retrospect, I should have used blue, or black for the windows and left the purple for the wing and tail decorations, but I still think it looked good.

Some more views.

It tasted nice, too! =)

So here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Chocolate Chiffon cake

  • 200g flour
  • 150g sugar
  • 80 ml vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teapoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder – or a tablespoon of brewed coffee, if you have a coffee press
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Coffee Chiffon cake

  • 200g flour
  • 150g sugar
  • 80 ml vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons instant coffee powder or brewed coffee, if you have a coffee press
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Filling – Vanilla buttercream and cherries

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 500g butter
  • 10 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • A handful of cherries, chopped

Fondant

I used my easy peasy recipe for DIY fondant.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven or microwave at 180 degrees centigrade and line your cake mould with baking paper, and/or oil or butter.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil and the sugar until fluffy. Then break the eggs, separate the yolks and whites. Add only the yolks to the mixture and whisk till completely incorporated.
  3. Sieve the flour into the mixing bowl, along with the cocoa powder/coffee and baking powder. This adds aeration to the batter, and will ensure fluffy, soft cake.
  4. Now add the three tablespoons of milk, and the vanilla essence. (Also add the brewed coffee, if you have it.) Mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl (preferably stainless steel), whip the egg whites till they become foamy, white and leave stiff peaks when you lift up the egg whisk. It’s important that not a drop or drip of oil gets into the egg whites, or they won’t stiffen.
  6. Once the egg whites are ready, fold them into the cake batter, a third at a time. Your batter should be of a slightly runny consistency now.
  7. Fill your cake mould with the batter, smoothing out the batter in the centre with the spoon, to make a little hollow in the middle. This will ensure the cake remains level once it bakes and doesn’t form a dome.
  8. Now bake the cake at 180 degrees centigrade for 28-30 minutes. If you use your microwave for your baking, like I do, set the mould on your low wire rack. I cannot emphasise this enough – it will make your cake fluffy and light and oh-so spongy.
  9. Once done, let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes, and then turn out of the mould.

Vanilla buttercream

  1. Beat the butter until it becomes fluffy and white in colour.
  2. Add half the icing sugar to the butter. Beat it in until it is incorporated into the butter.
  3. Add the milk and vanilla essence to the butter, and beat well.
  4. Slowly add icing sugar to the butter until it is completely mixed into a soft cream.

Assembly – Step One

The areoplane body

    • Cut each large cake according to the template. You will have two pieces of cake – chocolate and coffee – for the body and tail of the aeroplane. Now cut the two smaller cakes – chocolate and coffee – as wings.
    • Cut each piece of cake into two halves. Set one half aside, and spread buttercream on the bottom layer.
    • Chop the cherries into small pieces. Now sprinkle the chopped cherries over the cream, and place the top half of the cake over the lower half so that it forms a cake sandwich.
    • Repeat with each layer of the cake and then cover the whole thing with the buttercream.
    • Use a sharp knife to shave a little off the sides of the body to soften the edges and give the aeroplane a ’rounded’ look. I also added a little bump to the top of the body to simulate the cockpit.
    • Place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cover with fondant. You may need to organize your refrigerator to do this, like I had to.

Assembly – Step Two

    • Roll out the fondant into a thin layer less than half an inch thick. Use it to cover each wing of the cake with the fondant.
    • Roll out some more fondant to cover the body of the aeroplane.
    • Use a small bit of cake around 2 inches in size under each wing to bring up to the necessary height with the body of the aeroplane.
    • Paint over the wings, tail and body of the aeroplane with food colouring to make little windows and give it the proper look of a real aeroplane.
    • Eat immediately! Or, if you’re better at controlling your temptation than me, you can place this in the fridge and eat later.
    • Sit back and enjoy the ‘ooohs’ and ‘aahs’ this cake will receive!

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[mood|aeroplane cake accomplished]
[music| Winding road: Porno Graffiti]

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