Sunday, August 21, 2016

Water Lily Cake: end of Summer treat

 Funny how a quick trip to the supermarket can be a sign that summer's inevitable end is on its way. Just last week, there among the usual grocery fare I spotted an enormous display of colorful Halloween candy; yes, pumpkins and candy corn in August!
 There was no denying the sad reality of the season's impending farewell and I was inspired to make the most out of these waning warm sunny days. 
I thought I'd celebrate with a sweet treat (of course) inspired by a favorite summer spot; a nearby park in lovely Bucks County, Pa where friends and family regularly gather to picnic and paddle.

photos CPaul
Nothing says lazy summer day like kayaking on peaceful lake surrounded by glistening water, trees, birds and other wildlife. 
I'm always especially struck by the abundance of waterlilies as I'm paddling along. 

Photo CPaul
So it seemed fitting to incorporate them into a fun cake, to serve as treat after a lovely day on the lake.
While you'll find countless elaborately decorated cakes online this semi-homemade option is much more simple in comparison but still fun and relatively quick to make with readily found ingredients.

Easy Lily Pad Cake
You'll Need
 a bakery or homemade cake in desired size and shape
(not a bundt as you need a solid center)
With a heat wave making our dog days of summer especially sweltering - I skipped baking and opted for a store-bought key lime cake in a cheerful green color
(Yes , it's Pepperidge Farm)     
any icing of your choice for accent
The green icing ripples on top were perfect for enhancing the water like effect. I simply piped frosting around outside to define edges
Piping gel
I hadn't had much experience with piping gel, which can be bought in clear form at a craft or bakery supply store and tinted to desired color. A quick online search, however, yielded countless easy DIY versions and after a few hits and misses, I opted for this recipe from
(Since I only had the brown vanilla on hand, I substituted a clear lemon extract and reduced corn starch to 2 1/5 teaspoons as the first batch was a bit thick)

simply mix, microwave, cool and color.

Piping gel note: for my small cake dimensions, I only used about a third of this recipe. While I was very happy with the water-like affect, piping gel didn't offer much taste wise, so a thin layer was enough for decoration without detracting from the overall flavor of the cake  
green colored gum drop leaves
glittery yellow sprinkles if desired
fresh mint for garnish
I rolled green gummy spearmint leaves between sheets of wax paper and cut into Lily pad shapes
These can get sticky - but you can moisten knife with water for an easier cut and then simply set lily pads into piping gel
   Carefully cut marshmallows in half horizontally, then cut each half again to make four sections. 
You can dip cut edges in yellow cupcake sprinkles.
 Create water lilies of desired size by assembling with yellow sprinkled area as centers and arrange by gummy lily pads
Simply garnish with mint sprigs 
and serve with lemon iced tea

Wishing our readers
Happy Summer Days