Thanksgiving Turkey Cake
No, this tasty dessert doesn't contain any turkey...it's just shaped like one!
- step-by-step directions
Thanksgiving Turkey Cake
- Vanilla Cake
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for flouring the bundt pan
- 2 cups sugar, plus more for unmolding cakes
- 2 cups Italian Custard Cream, optional
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- unsalted butter (about 2 tsp), nonstick spray or vegetable oil may be used for greasing the bundt pan
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- 2 1/2 cups (5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 5 cups powdered (10X) sugar
- 2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 7 1/2 cups powdered (10X) sugar
- 2 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
- Vanilla Cake:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350°F.
- Put the flour, sugar, custard cream (if using), vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer, but take extra care not to overmix.) Mix on low speed just until the ingredients are blended together, a few seconds, then raise the speed to low-medium and continue to mix until smooth, approximately 1 additional minute.
- With the motor running, add one egg at a time, adding the next one after the previous one has been absorbed into the mixture. Stop the motor periodically and scrape the bowl from the bottom with a rubber spatula to integrate the ingredients, and return the mixer to low-medium speed.
- After all the eggs are added, continue to mix for 1 additional minute to ensure the eggs have been thoroughly mixed in. This will help guarantee that the sugar is dissolved and that the flour has been thoroughly mixed in, which will help produce a luxurious mouthfeel in the final cake.
- With the motor running on low speed, add the milk, 1⁄2 cup at a time, stopping the motor to scrape the sides and bottom between the two additions. Continue to mix for another 1 minute or until the mixture appears smooth. Before baking, be sure the batter is between 70° and 73°F, or the cake will crown. (Test by plunging a kitchen thermometer into the center of the batter; if it is too warm, put the bowl in the refrigerator for a few minutes; if too cool, let it rest at room temperature.)
- Grease and flour bundt pan
- Add the batter, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and get as much batter as possible out.
- Bake until the cake begins to pull from the sides of the pan and is springy to
- the touch, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour. The cake should be at room temperature before you remove them from the pan.
- Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with sugar, and one at a time, turn the pan over and turn the cake out onto parchment; the sugar will keep them from sticking.
- Refrigerate or freeze until ready to decorate.
- Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
- Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until smooth, with no lumps, approximately 3 minutes. With the motor running, add the sugar, one cup at a time, adding the next cup only after the first addition is absorbed.
- Stop the machine and add the cocoa, vanilla, and salt. Paddle on low-medium speed until completely smooth, approximately 2 minutes. Add the water and continue to paddle until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- The frosting will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Decorator's Butter Cream:
- Put the sugar, shortening, butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle at low-medium speed until the mixture is smooth with no lumps, about 3 minutes.
- With the motor running, add the water in a thin stream and continue to paddle until absorbed, about 3 minutes.
- The buttercream can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- Fill the cake: Pipe the cake full of fudge frosting.
- Shape the turkey: Use a serrated knife to cut the cake at one edge where the central hole meets the cake. Set the larger piece of the cake, frosting side down, on a doily-lined cardboard circle on your turntable. Pipe a dab of white buttercream and seal the small piece in place in front of the larger piece. Pipe white buttercream over any gaps between the two sections to create a smooth working surface.
- Pipe the plumage: Pipe red buttercream around the high, open end of the turkey in a ruffle pattern. Moving toward the lower, narrower front end of the cake, pipe a ruffled black ring in front the red, overlapping slightly. Continue in this way, piping overlapping ruffled rings of white, yellow, brown, and orange frosting, until you have reached the very front (narrow end) of the cake, starting over with red if necessary. Be sure to finish with white at the very front of the cake. Then cover over the open back of the cake (that is, where the frosting shows) with overlapping layers of frosting, ideally orange, white, red, and black.
- Feather the frosting: Pull the edge of a cake icing spatula through the frosting at 1-inch intervals, starting at the back center-top of the cake and pulling all the way forward to the narrow, lower front to create a feathered effect in the icing.
- Pipe the beak and comb: Using the white buttercream, pull up and out from the bottom front of the cake to make a beak. Use the red buttercream to pipe the comb. Use the parchment pencil to pipe the eyes.
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