by Bill G.
(Trenton, NJ, USA)
The best Birthday cake I ever made was in the shape of a Rocket complete with real flames. It was done without a special pan, and you can do it too in a few easy steps.
The Rocket cake is based on a cake made of your favorite flavor, either vanilla or chocolate. The cake is baked in a common rectangular pan according to standard recipes or cake box directions. Remember to remove the cake from the pan and cool on a raised wire rack.
Once cooled, the cake is sliced lengthwise in four equal sections or two and two if you are using a smaller cake pan.
One of the long rectangular strips of cake (approximately 14 inches by 3 inches by 1 1/2 inches high) is placed on a clean cookie sheet, covered in paper or foil, for final presentation. Then the strip is frosted on top and a second cake strip stacked on top. This creates two layers for the main body of the rocket.
The third strip is cut diagonally to form fins for the rocket. Towards one end on the rocket, long strips, frost a section on the side of the first layer equal in length to the short side of one of the cake rocket fin triangles.
Lightly frost the short end of one triangular cake piece. Lay the triangular fin on the base cookie sheet close to the rock body near the end prepared with frosting.
Gently press the two frosted sections together and attach the rocket fin to the rocket body. If
the fin appears to large or otherwise out of proportion feel free to trim off the excess.
Follow a similar procedure and cut, frost, and attach the second fin to the opposite side of the rocket body.
The fourth strip can be cut in a short rectangle for a cockpit on top of the rocket, such as a space shuttle, or skipped entirely. If you want to have a cockpit on top of the two layers of the rocket body frost a patch on the body and the cockpit piece and attach.
Now trim the end of the rocket opposite the end with the fins. The nose of the rocket when viewed from above can be cut with two slices into a triangular shape for the nose cone.
Enjoy the excess pieces or hold on to them for any repairs as needed.
Congratulations! Your rocket cake is ready for frosting and decorating. A basic white frosting overall with occasional lines in a dark frosting to indicate windows, lettering, and other details will complete the rocket cake.
The final step is to place common Birthday cake candle in the rear of the cake, the end with the fins. You don't have to place the candles in the traditional vertical way. They can be placed in the end horizontally for great effect.
This creates a tricky flame, so take the usual cautions for any cake with lit candles. Carefully light the candles, starting with the uppermost ones just seconds before the big moment a watch everyone's reaction to the best cake ever.