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Chinese dragon cake - now updated with pictures!

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MommyPenguin:
So, I want to make a cake like this for my daughter's birthday party:

http://entertaining.about.com/u/sty/cakebragbook/Show-Off-Your-Decorated-Cakes/Chinese-New-Year-Dragon-Cake.htm

I have a lot of experience with making straightforward cakes from a mix and decorating with buttercream frosting, and I tried fondant once and it worked out okay.  But this cake has me a little nervous.

Can anybody give me any tips about things to watch out for/prepare for?  I've never made a bundt cake before, but I bought the pan and plan to grease it *really* well.  I'll be using regular yellow cake mix, but I bought extra in case I have trouble or it gets stuck or something like that.  I have a bunch of bags of the candy melts, and was planning orange for the main body color, got some blue maybe for a stripe, and some red for the tongue/feet/tail.  I've never worked with candy melts, though, and need to free-form the shapes here.  I was thinking about making those parts a few days ahead of time, in case they need a few tries?  I also have some gum paste, if the candy melts really don't work.  I bought candy eyes and was thinking to maybe soften a candy melt to be the eye socket and then push a candy eye into it.

I'm not planning to make one this big.  I was thinking two bundt cakes... one, cut into two parts, for the body.  The other I'd cut up to be the head and the tail.

I guess I'm just nervous, but I can't really make the cake ahead of time to try it out because the ingredients are too expensive, so I'd love to go into it knowing what I'm doing as much as possible.  I'm also planning to try to make it during the day, the day before the party, so if there are any issues I'll have time to go to the store and get more ingredients, etc.

mechtilde:
I've never made a bundt cake, but I have made similar shaped cakes in both plain and decorative ring shaped cake pans.

I have found that lightly buttering the tin (margarine will NOT work) and then coating it with flour and shaking off the excess works best.

MrsCrazyPete:
Bundt cakes are super easy! I've never used butter to grease, but I'm sure that would work fine. I grease my pan with Crisco and dust it with flour. Be sure to let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before you flip it onto the cooling rack.

I'm not sure about the candy melts or gum paste. The cake looks fantastic! I hope that yours turns out well too. I think if I were you I'd reserve some extra icing in case you're not able to get the decorations to turn out the way you plan. You could use the extra icing by coloring it with food dye and piping it onto the cake for eyes, scales, etc. Use a plastic baggy with the corner snipped off if you don't have a piping bag.

Please be sure to post a picture of the cake when you're done! Good luck  :D

MommyPenguin:
I've decided how to try to make the legs/tip of the tail with the candy melts.  I'm going to cut out cardboard in the shape I want, then put the cardboard on aluminum foil and fold the foil up to make sort of a mold.  Then take out the cardboard and pour in the melted candy.  I can try that lots of times until I get the shape I want, and make it ahead of time so I'm not too stressed on Friday (when the rest of the cake should be made).  The slight crinkle to the foil might give the legs a neat scaly effect, too.  :)  I think I'm going to try that tomorrow.  I'm thinking to make legs, the tip of the tail, and maybe a tongue/flame.  We'll see about that last.  I think my dragon will have a mostly closed mouth, to make this a little less stressful.  :)

Can you just spray down the bundt pan with cooking spray, like Pam, or does it definitely work better to butter it and then dust it with flour?  I used to use the butter/flour for greasing pans for cakes when I was a kid, but as an adult I've just used cooking spray and generally had good luck.  But that's not with a bundt pan.  :)

I'll definitely try to make extra icing just in case!  I have tons of confectioner's sugar and butter, so I could make lots and lots if I needed to.  I suppose in a pinch I could use that instead of the candy melts for scales.  I hope it works!

I'll take some pictures, sure. :)  I took some pictures tonight of the little panda bears with M&Ms in them and the contents of the goody bags, and I need to take a picture of some of the other games and activities I made.  Still trying to figure out how exactly to work the chopsticks game.

MrsCrazyPete:
I have had one bundt cake that I just sprayed with cooking spray and it turned out fine. I made it for the sole purpose of checking to see if that worked. Any time I'm making such a cake for an occasion though, I grease and flour.

I love your idea of dipping the feet in chocolate! How creative!!

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