Black Tea Llama Cake
Happy National Marzipan Day!! Yes this is a real holiday. Marzipan is an almond candy that can also be a great decorating tool if you aren't a fan of fondant like me. It was a little sticky to work with but I've got tips for that as we go. You can make this cake and slice it like a coffee cake, frost it and decorate it however you like or you can follow along with me and I'll show you how to transform it into a cute llama. I got the idea for the cake while looking on the Wilton website for inspiration.
Let's get started!!
Start by making the marzipan flowers and pieces for the llama face if you are going that route. I used an outline I found online for the mouth and ears. Take a small piece of marzipan out and roll it into a flat sheet over a piece of parchment paper. If your marzipan starts to get sticky use powdered sugar on your hands or the marzipan itself. Use a knife to cut the pieces to size. Wrap them in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use. For the flowers, use a small amount of food coloring gel on the dough and knead it until the desired color is achieved. Roll the piece of dough in a thin line. Slice the dough into pieces. Form one into a cone and the rest flatten with a spoon until just before paper thin. Wrap 5-6 petals around the cone to form a flower. Repeat for multiple flowers. Place in a ziplock bag and chill until ready to use.
Now let's make our tea infused milk. Place the milk in a saucepan with the tea bags or loose leaf tea of choice. For this cake I'd stick with a black tea variety. Heat it on high heat until it starts to bubble. Lower it down to a simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it steep for 15 minutes. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and prepare a cake pan.
Start the cake batter by beating the sugar and butter together for about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time and keep beating. Now add in the egg whites and mix. Once the egg whites are incorporated, add in the vanilla and beat for one minute.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Mix in the flour mixture and the infused milk into the batter alternating which one you use (Flour-Milk-Flour-Milk-Flour). Pour the batter into the pan for 25-30 minutes depending on the size of your pan. I ended up baking mine in 40 minutes. Let the cake cool.
If you're not doing the decorations, you can skip down. I used edible markers to color my marzipan. You can dye each piece to be the color you need before you cut them out but this was so much easier and I finally got to try mine out. Outline the mouth with black and color in with red or pink. Add a nose and you're done.
Outline the ears with black and add in the details with the same color. Color in the center of the ear with red or pink. Carefully attach the ear to a lollipop stick or skewer.
For the lemon tea infused buttercream, start by setting a few inches of water to boil in a pot. In a mixer bowl, combine the sugar, egg whites, lemon juice and salt together. Place the mixer bowl over the water and begin whisking it until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm to the touch. Quickly remove the bowl from heat and beat it until stiff peaks form, about 10-15 minutes. Keep beating and add in the chunks of butter. Don't worry if the mixture looks curdled. Just keep beating and it'll fix itself. Beat in the lemon zest and infused milk. Set aside.
Using a cookie cutter, I cut out two circle shapes from my cake. They were both really thick so I leveled them out with my cake leveler then split them in half to form a total of four layers. Put a little buttercream on the plate you want to use and attach the first layer.
Put a good amount of buttercream into an icing bag. Make a border with the frosting and fill it with a zig zag then smooth it out with a serrated knife. Put the next layer on top and repeat until you reach the final layer. Once everything is on, put the icing around the cake and smooth out. This doesn't need to be pretty because this is only a crumb coat. Chill it in the fridge for a few minutes.
Take the cake out and attach the ears. If yours were too long like mine were you can add a little icing to cover them but the flowers should cover them up as well. Next frost the cake to cover up any messiness. Put a little frosting on the back of the mouth piece and attach it to the cake. Repeat with the flowers being careful not to knock them over. If yours still have powdered sugar on them, take a food safe brush and dip it in water. Brush the flowers. For the eyes I used edible paint but you could make them out of the marzipan or take a little frosting, dye it black and pipe it on.
And now you've got a delicious llama cake!! I hope you enjoyed this recipe and if you do make it please tag it @kelseyskitchentx and #kelseyskitchentx