A cake shaped like a bowling pin can help celebrate the end of a league bowling season or the birthday of anyone who loves the sport. Drape the cake with fondant for a clean, smooth surface that you can further embellish with colored fondant decorations or food coloring paint. Shape the cake from memory or lay down a paper template as a guide to achieve the perfect shape. Whether you want a simple 2-D outline of a bowling pin or a 3-D standing pin, try this with a single-layer sheet cake or a multi-layered cake with filling.
Things You'll Need
- Sheet cake pan
- Buttercream frosting
- Serrated knife
- Non-textured paper towel
- Fondant rolling tool or rolling pin
- Fondant smoother
- Rotary cutting tool
Bake a cake according to your favorite recipe and allow it to cool completely. Use a rectangular sheet pan in quarter sheet or half sheet size, either 9 by 13 inches or 12 by 18 inches. If you want a layer cake, spread buttercream frosting or your choice of filling between each layer. To make a three-dimensional, standing bowling pin cake, the top layers of the cake don't need to be as wide as the center and base layers.
Place the sheet cake or stacked layer cake in the freezer for about 1 hour or until it’s mostly frozen. Frozen cakes are much easier to cut into shapes because they don't crumble as easily.
Draw the shape of a bowling pin on top of the cake with a toothpick, etching shallow lines in the cake. Alternatively, place a paper or cardboard template on top of the cake. Trace around the template with a toothpick. For three-dimensional bowling pin cakes, you must rely more on visualization, although you can etch a rough shape on the sides of the cake to use as a guide.
Cut through the cake with a long, serrated knife, using a sawing motion to cut cleanly through each layer. Start by removing the larger pieces of the cake. Remove smaller pieces one at a time as you get closer to the etched lines so you can achieve a more precise shape. The bowling pin shape should have a clear neck with a small bulb above and a larger bulb at the base. Insert a dowel rod through the center of a three-dimensional bowling pin cake if it becomes unsteady and unable to stand upright on its own.
Brush away the loose crumbs. Cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream frosting to seal in any remaining loose crumbs. Allow about 30 minutes for the buttercream frosting to set and form a crust. Place a non-textured paper towel over the frosting and rub gently with your hand to smooth out any bumps in the frosting layer. This takes a delicate hand, particularly for standing bowling pin cakes.
Roll out a piece of fondant to about 1/4 inch thick and about 2 1/2 times the size of the cake top. For standing bowling pin cakes, make the fondant at least 2 1/2 times the height and thickness of the pin.
Spray the buttercream frosting with a fine mist of water, using just enough to make the frosting tacky.
Roll up the piece of fondant around a rolling pin or fondant rolling tool. Hold the rolled fondant along one side of the cake. Unroll the fondant over the cake, keeping the sides loose. For standing bowling pin cakes, the best option is to simply lift the whole piece and place it over the tip of the bowling pin. Take care not to push over the pin.
Rub a fondant smoother tool over the top of the cake to push out any air pockets and make the surface as smooth as possible. Lift the draped fondant away from the sides. Run the smoother across the top lip of the cake, working your way down the sides of the cake. Release the draped fondant as you work your way to the bottom. Repeat this around the entire cake until it’s perfectly smooth. For standing cakes, follow the same procedure but use your hand instead of a tool to smooth the fondant. Dust your hands with powdered sugar to keep them from sticking to the fondant.
Roll out a small piece of red fondant. Cut two 1-inch strips with a rotary cutting tool. Brush the back side lightly with water to make it tacky. Position them evenly spaced around the neck of the bowling pin and rub it smooth with your fingertips. The stripes should wrap all the way around the neck of three-dimensional bowling pin cakes.
Tips & Warnings
- Push a toothpick into any remaining air pockets to create a hole. Press on the bubble to release the air and gently smooth the hole closed with your finger.
- Photo Credit iconarts/iStock/Getty Images
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