Getting Creative With Desert Themed Cakes

Please note, this post is over 3 years old and may contain broken links, outdated views and cobwebs.

This past weekend, I helped my girlfriend Lauren make two cakes for an event that her friend was organizing.

The event was to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the signing of the California Desert Protection Act. Our friend Lesley organized the event which was to include a cake cutting ceremony.

We started off by baking the main cake – dark chocolate with a chocolate buttercream frosting. I won’t share pictures of this process, because frankly that’d be boring.

The main attraction on this cake would be the design on the fondant, which would sport the logo of the event:

20 years of the California Desert Protection Act

We started off by replicating the logo using paintbrushes and food coloring.

Lauren painting the cake design onto the fondant

It’s similar to painting with watercolors, but you have to use vodka instead of water, because water would melt right through the fondant.

This process took quite a while, but it was pretty cool to watch the design come together.

Lauren designing logo on cake

Once the design on the fondant was completed, we (very carefully) lifted the freshly-painted fondant and placed it onto the chocolate cake. The buttercream frosting works more or less like glue.

Here’s what the cake looked like with the fondant on top:

Finished cake with fondant design on top.

Here’s a closer look at the detail on the bottom of the cake (cactus, rattlesnake, and coyote):

Close up of detail on cake - cactus, rattlesnake and coyote

Due to the number of people attending the event, we created a second cake as well. This one was a 3-tiered “desert spice” cake with cream cheese frosting.

3 Tier Desert Spice Cake

The orange/pink colors were meant to look like the crazy sunsets that happen regularly in the Mojave Desert. We crushed graham crackers with brown sugar for the “sand”, and also threw some chocolate rock candy in there for good measure.

3 tier desert spice cake - closeup shot.

Here’s Lauren with her daughter and both of her awesome cakes.

Lauren and Makena with the cakes

Both cakes together

Among those to speak at the event was Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith. He did the honors:

David Smith cutting cake

Cutting the cake

Finally, here’s Lauren enjoying the fruits of her labor. The cakes were both delicious!

Lauren tastes the cake

Note that I use “we” loosely here. Lauren was the brains behind this operation and did the majority of the work.

The event itself was held at the Joshua Tree Southern Railroad Museum, which was a pretty cool spot. They had trains of all sizes there – full-sized trains serving as kitchens and dining quarters, and smaller trains that people could ride on that followed tracks all over the grounds. There were some hardcore train enthusiasts visiting there as well which was quite a scene. People in train festival t-shirts, a dude with a boom mic recording train sounds, and several people camping out drinking beers and watching the trains roll by.

Anyway, another awesome cake completed. Lauren has done a lot of these (and I’ve helped with a few) but we don’t always take photos of the process. I’m gonna continue to do a better job documenting these moving forward.

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One Response to Getting Creative With Desert Themed Cakes

  1. Ryan
    November 14, 2014 at 6:00 am

    mmmmm…

    Cake… and the Desert. yup

    Two great tastes that taste great together. Frosting and SAND!

    Wait. No. that sounds gross, but that’s an awesome cake, John. Well done Lauren!

    Reply

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