We had a very important person turn 4 at our house this week and he requested a fish-and-boat party. Well, I took some liberties and expounded on the theme to create an Under the Sea Birthday Party! It was a blast and everyone loved the cake so I thought I would share it with you all. It was fun for the kids and yummy to boot! And it gave me a little glow of satisfaction when I surveyed my handiwork (but then, I am far too easily self-satisfied! :) It doesn’t take much for me to give myself a high-five!! Ha ha!) Some other fish-fun ideas that I found on the web were: freezing gummy fish in ice cubes and serving with blue gatorade – each little kid had their own mini ocean drink – and cutting out a variety of sandwiches in fish shapes (you can use the plastic sand molding tools – they come in lots of great designs). Add that to some fishy crackers and fruit and you can’t go wrong with this age of crowd!
Flashy Fish Cake
The day before the party, prepare and bake a rainbow chip cake mix (or your preference) as directed on box. You can either use two 9-inch round cake pans or a 9×13 inch dish – see note. Make sure to grease and flour your cake pan(s)! Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack. Invert and gently remove from pan, wrap in saran wrap and freeze overnight. The next day, remove cake from freezer and cut out a fish design. Don’t worry if the cake bakes unevenly and is rounded in the middle or on one side, it makes it more 3 dimensional and unique! If it really bothers you, you can always gently cut horizontally the rounded parts off the top to even it out. The great thing about working with frozen cake is it’s much easier to cut, arrange, and frost… much easier! Having exposed cut sides of a cake to frost can be a nightmare if the cake is not frozen. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get the frosting to adhere and you end up with crumbs all throughout the frosting and the cake edges completely crumbled away. Take my word for it… freeze the cake before you cut into it!! note: I baked mine in two 9-inch round cake pans. One was used as the body of the fish and the other I used to cut out a tail and fins. However, I think baking in a 9×13 would work well. The fish might be slightly smaller but it would be easier!
Prepare buttercream frosting tinted with blue food coloring and frost your fish cake. To decorate with scales, buy two bags of gummy rings (I bought peach and sour apple). Cut 1/4 of each ring out and pinching the cut ends close to together, lay in rows across the fish, starting at the face. Turn a gummy ring over so the white side is exposed to use for the eye – use one of the little cut-out pieces for an eyeball. Give your fishy a grin with a red vine licorice or you could make adorable fish lips with more gummy ring cut-outs. Get creative and have fun!!
3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
6 cups powdered sugar
Beat butter and vanilla together. Alternate adding powdered sugar and milk until you reach the desired consistency. Personally I like it rather thick when I’m decorating a cake (as long as it’s frozen).