Japanese Garden Cake
by Darby Robertson
(Winchester, CA USA)
Here is how you make this Japanese garden cake.
Mayo Cake: (original recipe has been doubled for this design)
2c mayo (replaces eggs and oil, do not use Miracle Whip, unless you like that "tangy zip" in your cake, but trust me, you don't)
4tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350. Mix wet ingredients in one bowl and dry in another, then pour wet into dry and mix well. Spray two 8" rounds and two 6" rounds with cooking spray, then separate the batter into all four pans by "eyeballing it".
Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let your cakes stand to cool at least 5 minutes before removing from pans. Let cakes cool until room temperature. Wrap your cakes separately in foil and refrigerate for at least three hours.
5 Minute Frosting: (recipe from back of sugar box doubled)
2 1 lb boxes of powdered sugar
2tsp clear vanilla extract (can be found in cake aisle of crafting store/ section)
1c veggie shortening
Mix all ingredients together and beat for two minutes to insure no clumping. Put about 1/4-1/3 of the frosting in a "crumb bowl". This will be used to crumb coat and layer the cake without getting crumbs in the beautiful white frosting.
Building the Japanese Garden Cake:
8" cake board (cut a circle out of cardboard and cover it with foil, or buy cake board from craft store)
6" cake board
1 tube red decorator frosting
1 tube black decorator frosting (I buy red and black because they are hard to make from white frosting)
3 drink parasols (I internet searched Japanese characters and used a sharpie to draw them on the little umbrellas. They say, calm, eternal, and harmony)
4 piping bags
2 #3 tips
1 #233 tip (grass)
1 #66 tip (leaves)
4 drinking straws
Cut the rounded part off of each cake and place one 8" layer cut side down on the board so the smooth side is up. Spread a layer of frosting from the "crumb bowl", and then add the next layer cut side down.
Put about four straws vertically into the center of the bottom tier and then clip them even with the top of the cake for structural support. Add the 6" cake board before adding the 6" tier.
Repeat layering steps with 6" tier. This tier does not need straws. Spread a thin layer of frosting (crumb coat) all over the cake. This will make the crumbs stick to the cake, not your final layer of frosting. Make sure to cover the entire cake and to make it very thin. Now refrigerate your cake for about an hour.
Separate the decorator frosting into 4 small bowls. Color one blue, one green, one brown, and leave the last one white. Cover the bottom tier in a smooth layer of green frosting. Cover the top tier in a smooth layer of blue frosting (run your spatula under hot water and dry to best smooth frosting).
Refrigerate your cake while you prep your piping bags. Fill the bags with #3 tips with red, black and brown. Fill a bag with #233 tip with green. Save the leaf tip for later.
Remove cake from fridge and begin decorating. You can use a toothpick to gently draw in your plan on the frosting before you pipe. Be sure to do it lightly so it won't be noticeable if you make a mistake.
I like to start from the bottom up. Using the black frosting bag, write the recipient’s name under where your bridge will be, making sure to center it as best you can. I used the internet to find the Japanese translation of the name I used for the other side of the cake.
Using the green bag, put grass on top of bottom tier making sure to leave space for your path/ pagoda, and your bridge/ stream on each side. Sprinkle a few flowers in the grass. Pipe in red bridge and red pagoda.
Using a small spatula, spread brown frosting under the pagoda for a pathway, white frosting on top tier for clouds, and blue and white under the bridge for water. Next, pipe in trees with brown.
Tape the #66 leaf tip over the #233 grass tip on your green piping bag, making sure to tape all the way around the bottom of your tip so there is no leakage. Now, use it to put leaves on your trees. Finally, add your Japanese parasols on the top, and you are done!