A Death Star cake to beat all other Death Star cakes! Inspired by many others' attempts, but mostly the Charm City Cakes version.
My first time making a specialty cake! First time making fondant icing! Its made out of marshmallows...yum. This photo was taken w/o flash, the colors lean a little more toward purplish-gray. Base icing is vanilla buttercream. Used a ball cake pan from Michael's. Cake is about 6-1/2 inches in diameter.
The process from start to finish:
1. Prepared Duncan Hines white cake mix (1 box) using only 1 TB oil instead of 1/3 cup for more firmness. Used 6" "Sports Ball Pan" from Michael's. After it was baking, I noticed the box said "Extra Moist." Next time I would probably use the regular version. The bottom half held its shape as well as can be expected, but was weighed down by the top half and all the fondant.
2. Baked cake halves at 325 degrees, but it took longer than the recommended 30-40 minutes on the cake mix box, almost 1 hour.
3. Cooled halves in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then trimmed the tops flat with unflavored dental floss and flipped them onto the rack for an hour of cooling.
4. Scooped out Duncan Hines white vanilla buttercream icing into a bowl and mixed in a little bit of black icing (came in a small tube) to make light gray.
5. Once completely cooled, plunked the bottom cake half onto the cake platter. Iced it with the light gray icing, including the top, which would serve as the glue once I placed the other half on top. That layer of icing also creates a little separation between the halves that mimics the equatorial trench of the Death Star.
6. Made marshmallow fondant with vanilla flavoring using these handy
7. Had trouble getting the dark gray coloring. As you can see, it turned out more of a purplish gray. I used up a small tube of black gel icing, kneaded into the fondant little by little. Wasn't enough, so I added a couple squirts of the other black icing, which made a bigger difference in the color and didn't affect the texture or workability of the fondant. Would have tried food coloring but I didn't have any blue.
8. Doh! Forgot to stick toothpicks in the bottom half before I put the top half on! Top half looks like its starting to slide. Insert emergency toothpicks around the edges to hold the halves together. They'll be covered up by the fondant anyway.
9. Greased up the countertop real good and rolled out the fondant with a silicon rolling pin. Cut out all of the pieces you see on the cake. For the Superlaser Focus Lens, I found a little can of evaporated milk, pressed it into the cake to make the circle outline in the size I wanted. Then I used a sharp knife and cut into the circle almost like I was coring a tomato, but much shallower. That made the circle depression. Then put the fondant right on it.
10. Done! Inserted candles and called for the birthday geek to emerge from his basement lair. Glee ensued.