Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Gronkle Cake

Have you seen How to Train Your Dragon? If you have a child, know a child or have ever been a child, go buy this movie. This is a direct quote from my mom. We watch this show at least once a day.

If you tuned in last year about this time, you will know that I asked The Boy what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. His answer was "a Wonder Pets tate." You would think that I would have learned my lesson with that one, but again this year, I asked. At first he wanted another Wonder Pets cake. This was quickly vetoed and we spent quite a bit of time looking up cakes on the web. If you have never done this, I highly recommend it. There are some amazing cake decorators out there.

We eventually ended up finding several HtTYD cakes, many of which involved fondant. I'm not a big fan of fondant, mainly because it doesn't taste very good. Frosting is where it's at for me when it comes to decorating. Mind you, I didn't say I was good at it, I just prefer it.

So after many days of changing his mind, The Boy decided on a purple Gronkle. For the uninitiated, this is a Gronkle.
You will notice that Gronkles are actually green. When McDonald's had dragons in their Happy Meals, the Gronkle was purple. I'm not sure why. So a purple Gronkle it is. I was actually relieved. Of all the dragons in the movie, I truly believe the Gronkle would be the easiest to build.

Start by baking your cakes. I ended up with two batches and was actually thinking I wouldn't have enough. But if done correctly (and in this department, I was extremely lucky), two should suffice. The trick here is to bake your pieces in the correct sizes to begin with so you won't have much in the way of rough edges to frost. This is not a fun undertaking and should be avoided at all costs. Look around your kitchen, you probably have something that will work. I have a set of Pyrex mixing bowls. The incredible thing about Pyrex is that those bowls can double as a baking dish if you need them to. Most of them cannot be heated on the stovetop or in a broiler, but just baking works out just fine.

It is a good idea to do all the baking the evening before. This way, the cakes will be completely cool when you are ready to work with them.

Once they are cooled, we can start putting our dragon together. This is also a good time to turn the movie on so The Boy doesn't try to "help make a purple Drontle tate." We're still working on some of our consonant sounds.
This is a shot of my baked cakes. The yellow cake in the top left was baked using a regular baking pan filled about a third full. This is going to be the base of the body. Below that was baked in my round Pyrex casserole dish filled about half full and will form the top of the head. The two chocolate cakes were baked in regular cake pans, about half full. One will become the top of the body and the other will be the bottom of the head. The four yellows in the middle are regular cupcakes, with four mini cupcakes right next to them. These will become legs. The rounded cake right next to the minis was baked in myPyrex mixing bowl filled about half full. And the last cake was baked in a ramekin. Both of these will form the tail.
Start with the head. Slice just a little bit off the back to make a flat edge.
Take the chocolate piece and place it in between the two layers to form an open mouth.
Slice a little bit off the front of the two body layers. Place the flat edge of the body up against the flat edge of the head.
Take the bigger of the smaller cakes and cut out a slightly rounded edge that will fit up against the edge of the body where you want the tail.
Take the remaining small cake and cut out a small slice to finish up the end of the tail.
So here we have the structure of the body.
Now we are going to form the legs. Even out the tops of the cupcakes. Just slice the tops off a little bit form a flat top.
Do the same thing with the mini cupcakes.
Put a mini cupcake on top of one of the regular cupcakes. Arrange them where the legs of a dragon should of course go.
Now we are starting to look like a dragon.
This is a pretty good time to call in quality control. It's a good thing, too, because I forgot the Gronkle's horn.
Find one of your scrap pieces and form a little horn. You might also notice here that I somehow sliced off the front of the head. I did NOT mean to do that and I will put it back on before I frost it.
Frost your cake. Pick a color, any color. It is really difficult to get a dark purple frosting, but The Boy said it was fine. I also added on a piece of the chocolate edge to use as a place to hold up the eyes.
The eyes are powdered donuts stuck into the frosting. The really great thing about frosting a Gronkle cake is that it is a dragon. Dragons have scales. So the frosting doesn't have to be smooth. Actually, you want a pretty rough frosting job.
So here he is frosted.
Now, Gronkles have spots. Big ones and little ones. Jeff has been inhaling Maple Nut Goodies since he decided to quit chewing. These were perfect.
For the little spots, The Boy added in peanut butter chips. Looking at it now, I would be sure we put the chips upside down.
Now the wings were a challenge. Fruit Roll-ups fanned in between pretzel sticks work pretty well. This is not as simple as it seems. Fruit Roll-ups are really sticky. Luckily, I had children in the house to eat up the scraps. These are also a good thing to put on right before serving so they don't fall off the cake.
The Boy came back and was extremely concerned that the Gronkle didn't have toenails. Slide in four Maple Nut Goodies on each foot to fix this inaccuracy.
Now the teeth. These are sliced up Andes mints. Add a little bit of frosting along the bottom of the mouth and stick the mints in there so they stand up. I didn't even try to add them to the top, because I knew they would fall out.
You don't even notice, do you?
This took awhile. All told, I think I clocked in four hours, including the baking of the cakes. It was a lot easier than the Wonder Pets cake, that's for sure.
And again, totally worth it :)


cheya said...

Thank you so much for sharing these step by step instructions. I am making this for my 7 year olds birthday party this next weekend and have been trying to figure it all out. I found your information and it just made my day. You did an amazing job. Keep up the good work!!!

Tracie said...

Cheya - You are very welcome! Thanks for stopping by and Good Luck. Let me know how it turns out!

Joc said...

Thanks you for this tutorial! I made one this past weekend for my friend's son and it was a big hit! Pictures here:
Jasper's Gronckle Cake

Tracie said...

Joc - Looks AMAZING! So glad you could do it :)

Anonymous said...

That's awesome!