It's been ages since I've taken the time to decorate a cake for fun--working full time, writing, preparing for the conference this weekend (Yay! Can't wait!) and my various other responsibilities have meant fun stuff like this has had to take a back seat. But this month was my Dad's birthday--and it was a benchmark birthday (I'll save his pride by not saying *which* benchmark birthday) so I took the time to play with something fun for his cake.
My dad loves to camp--notice the RV in the background, so yeah, he's not a tent camper (he actually has a trailer, but an RV was easier for me to make! I'm lazy, I know). He owns his own business and frequently works twelve-hour days, five and six days a week (and Mom's hours are nearly as long) so if they want to get away from work for a few days, they can't just take time off and stay home, (because he's a workaholic, and besides, someone might call wanting them to open the store for that decorating tip they need for Junior's birthday cake) so he has to leave town.
Camping is a great way to get away from everything, listen to the air rustle in the trees, make some yummy Dutch oven dinners, and toss pebbles in the stream. We frequently camped when I was a kid, and it rarely mattered if it rained or not, because we always found card games to play inside the trailer when the weather was bad (care for a round of Flinch or Phase 10?) or a rousing game of Becca (kinda like hide-and-go-seek, but much more fun) or jungle croquet when the weather was more cooperative.
But I digress... So I really wished I had more time to decorate this but I pretty much always work weekends, and his birthday was on Easter, so I decided to be happy with what I could do--and he was pleased, so what else matters?. Oh, and I made the most amazing strawberry mousse filling to go between the layers of this baby--the recipe will be at the bottom of the post.
The rocks around the bottom and water are a chocolate candy I bought in bulk at Winco, but I've made rocks out of fondant before and would have if these hadn't been so simple (and yummy!). From the top view you can see the A/C unit on top of the RV, and the generator on the back (because I've camped with a latrine before, and I'd take my cramped, ancient hand-me-down-from-Grandpa camper over that any day of the week.) In case you haven't guessed, the camper is a Twinkie covered in fondant, and the trees are just sugar cones with fondant.
Strawberry mousse filling recipe:
8 oz softened cream cheese
8 oz thawed Cool Whip (or other brand frozen whipped topping)
3-4 oz strawberry jam (pureed would have been better, but mine had chunks in it. The recipe I used off of Cake Central called for 1.5 oz raspberry puree, but I didn't have any, and I like strawberries better).
Whip until completely combined and chill for thirty minutes before using. My husband doesn't usually like cake much. He'll have a piece if I give it to him, but he never comes back for seconds. With this filling, he came back for thirds. This made enough to fill a 10" cake and a 6" cake about 1/4" thick. It would do two 8" layers easily. I'd probably half it again and cross-cut my layers so I could put three layers of mouse in the cake.
Can it get any easier?