Sunday, June 5, 2011

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Happy Go Lucky Turtle

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We've all been guilty of bringing something in for Mom to see whether it be a frog, mouse, turtle or some other creeping thing.  So we know how much children love these sweet little creatures.

 Today I'm going to show you how to make this sweet smiling turtle as a birthday cake.  The most difficult thing about it is making the icing and you know that's not so difficult.

I'll put the recipes for icing and cake at the bottom of the page.  You can choose your own recipes if you prefer something else.
After baking your cakes and frozen them for several hours or overnight you'll need to begin cutting your shapes. Make sure you've made a layer for which to cut out your head and four feet.  I made the bottom layer the size of one of the cake layers cutting it down only on the top edges to get the proper angle.  The second and third layers will gradually be smaller as pictured.  Cut around the bottom of the bottom layer about 1/2" from the board to give the shell a raised look.  This is so the feet will appear to come from inside the shell and the turtles entire shell isn't laying flat on the board.

Now cut the head and feet; and I apologize!  I thought I took pics of these but didn't find them on my camera.  So you'll cut sort of squared off triangle shapes for the feet and angle the top of them so they'll fit underneath the shell of the turtle where you made the cuts in previous step.

 On wax paper make your tiles from the dark green (or color choice).  Use a knife or straight edge to make the shapes more perfect.  They don't have to be exact.

Place them on a flat surface and freeze until you're ready for them.  They need to be hard enough to pick up with your hand and not bend.  The time it takes will depend on your icing.

Next ice your shell with the base color and smooth.  If you aren't able to get it smooth by spreading, place it in the fridge until you can touch it and not make an indention or let it surface dry.  Use a paper towel or wax paper to smooth rough places by laying the paper towel on the icing and gently smooth it by lightly rubbing it with your hand.  Again this technique can vary depending on your icing and consistency.

Next you'll put your head and feet onto the cake as pictured.  Sorry, I iced the head before I remembered to take a pic but you can see the shape and placement of it fairly easily.

Then ice each piece and smooth in the same manner as you smoothed the top of the cake by cooling or drying it and using a paper towel / wax paper.

Using a rose tip or other flat tip make the edging around the shell at the base of the shell.  I used yellow but you can use whatever color choice you want.  Write on the top of the turtle shell any message you wish to say. Or if you prefer you may write on the board if you have enough room. Put on the eyes and lines between the toes and nose as well as the tail.  I used a large piping tip for the tail.


  • 2 cups (1 pound or 454 gram) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (230 gram) vegetable shortening or hi-ratio shortening
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice or 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract, pure vanilla extract, or almond extract
  • 3 lbs (1.36 kilograms) 10X confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp (4 1/2 fl ounces or 135 mililiter) water, milk, or clear liqueur
  • 3 Tbsp meringue powder (see, Epicurious Editors' Notes)
  • 1 tsp salt

1. Cream shortening and butter with an electric, handheld, or paddle-whip mixer. Add flavoring and salt. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time. Add meringue powder. (The mixture will appear dry.)
2. Add liquid of choice and beat until light and fluffy (approximately 5 to 8 minutes). Keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.
Storage: Store the icing in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Yield: 2 1/2 quarts (2.37 L)
Add extra liquid to soften the buttercream or extra 10X confectioners' sugar to stiffen it.
Epicurious Editors' Notes:• This recipe yields more than enough for two cakes—if icing only one cake, make a half recipe or freeze the extra.
• If using the icing to write on a cake, soften it with extra liquid. If using it to pipe roses, add extra confectioners' sugar.
• Meringue powder is available at

Until next time happy baking!