Dessert Island

Final!  X Marks the spot

I was invited to a pirate party last night.  There was a costume contest, a scavenger hunt, three legged peg legged races, grog, anti-scurry shakes, along with other adventures planned.  This brought up the question:  As a guest, what do I bring?  I’m not much of a costume person, and the drinks seemed covered (Except for rum, I couldn’t really think of a piratey drink).  So, I thought a dessert was the way to go.

So, I went to Price Chopper to get some ingredients.  I didn’t have much of a plan, but I thought the super market might inspire me.  I already had a lurking suspicion I wanted to make a cake.  To be more exact, a desert island cake.  Wandering the isles, I had two ideas:  A traditional cake, or a carrot cake.  The carrot cake was appealing since I could then use a carrot as the obligatory palm tree.  But, I couldn’t find a mix for carrot cake, and the recipes looked too involved for my time frame (I only had three hours to complete the cake).

After shopping, I returned home with:

  1. Chocolate Cake Mix
  2. Vanilla Frosting
  3. White, Green and Blue Icing
  4. Crushed Walnuts
  5. Green Sugar
  6. Eggs
  7. Malted Milk Balls
  8. Vanilla Wafers
  9. Oreo Golden Funstix
  10. Multi-color Swedish Fish
  11. Spearmint Sugar Leaves

So, I baked the cake mix in two 8 1/2  inch pans.  I didn’t hear the alarm, so I overcooked the cake a little bit, but it was still pretty good.  I took one cake for the center of the island, and then I cut the second cake up and used it for the edges of my island.

Cake Base

Next, I frosted the cake.  The whole point of the island was to look a little shabby, so the frosting was pretty easy.  To fill in all of the gaps, I needed to use the entire container of frosting to cover the cake.  At this point, my expectations started to grow:

I was worried about the chocolate cake, but the white frosting covered most of it up, and the little speckles of brown added a little bit of “dirt” coloring.  Next, I added the grass (the green sugar):

Green Sugar Grass

Then, I wrapped the outline with some blue icing.  I had to use almost the entire tube for the water.  In hindsight, I should have added this at the end, since it was a pain keeping the water clean of the other layers:

Next, I wanted some sand.  The crushed walnuts went on pretty easily:

Now, for the hard part.  I need some palm trees.  I stuck the two Funstix in the cake.  Then, I took a little bit frosting to make the base of the trees a little bit thicker.  Finally, I broke another stick up and covered the base with the shards to give the right texture.  Finally, I added two malted milk ball coconuts:

Malted Milk Ball Coconuts and Wafer Straw Trees

Now, for the leaves.  I did some research, first.  I had two possible plans.  The first plan was to use the green swedish fish.  I thought they were appropriate since they were longer and thinner than the leaves.  Also I was unsure how well the spearmint flavoring would fit.  I cut the fish up to make them thinner and remove the gills.  Then, I just tried using the stickiness of the fish to attach it to the sticks:

It looked all right, but after a few minutes, it started to droop.  Also, the leaves did look too fishy.  I tried some other alternatives:

  1. Use frosting as glue
  2. Heat up the leaves and merge them together

Neither of those worked.  So, as a last step I cut up the spearmint leaves and used little pieces of uncooked spaghetti to keep them in place.  It was pretty hacky, but it worked:

Finally, I drew an X out of walnuts (It is a pirate party, after all), I made a raft by taking some vanilla wafers and cut them in half.  Finally, I cut away a bunch of the wax paper and put some blue napkins around for more water look.  The end result:

I was quite happy with the end result.  People seemed quite amused.

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