Sing us a song, I’m the Piano Man

June 1, 2010

This year for Meeshie’s birthday she picked a karaoke theme.  Last year it was a luau and I made volcano cake.  It was a bundt cake with ice cream in the center, covered with a chocolate pudding/cool whip mixture and cherries going down the side like lava.  I thought the cake looked anything but a volcano but she loved it.  With the karaoke she decided (in January) that she wanted a piano cake.

Oh, where will I order it from?

Mom, you can make that.  That will be no problem. And I want a big star with the number 8 on it ‘cuz that’s how old I’m going to be.

Like I would forget her age!

I didn’t want another brown cake this year.  Since her birthday is in July, I’ve been looking things up on the internet like mad trying to figure out how I’m going to make a piano cake.  Let me tell you there wasn’t too much out there.  But then I had the same issue last year with the volcano cake. 

I knew that I wanted to use fondant and then had issues finding enough black fondant at Michael’s.  I ended up trying fondant for the first time with the cake pops for the communion.  I had a small cross cookie cutter that I used on the white fondant and applied them to the pops.  Not too bad.  It’s like using play doh (which is not used in my house!  I know I have a few issues).

I found this fondant on-line and ended up using all of it for my trial run.  Yep this was a trial run. 

I used this cake recipe.  It is an awesome yellow cake recipe.  Moist and tasty.  I don’t know why so many scratch yellow cake recipes are neither.

Yellow Cake

  • 2 1/4 C flour
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 3 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 1/4 C milk
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix well.

Measure the milk in a 2 cup measuring cup then add enough vegetable oil to bring the liquid up to 1 1/3 C.

Beat the butter and vanilla and add the milk mixture.  Add the butter/milk mixture to the dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed

Add the eggs, one at a time and continue to beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

I made this filling.

Strawberry Mouse Filling

  • 2 C strawberries
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped and melted
  • 1 1/4 t unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 2 T powdered sugar

Put all the strawberries with 1 T of lemon juice in a blender and mix until pureed.  Put 1/4 C cool water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the water.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir 1/4 C cream and 2 T powdered sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Add the gelatin mixture and stir until the gelatin dissolves.  Pour this mixture into the bowl of melted chocolate and stir until smooth.  Whisk in 3/4 C of the strawberry puree.  Reserve the remaining 1/4 C of puree.  Using an electric mixer, whip the remaining 1 3/4 C cream, beat until medium peaks form.  Whisk 1/3 of the cream into the chocolate mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the mixture.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Stir the remaining 1 T of lemon juice into the reserved berries.  Fold the berries into the mouse and chill for 4-6 hours.

I decided that I would only make one 9×13 cake and slice it in half horizontally.  The problem with that was that the cake wasn’t that thick.  I think it was less than 1 1/2 inches deep.  I stuck it in the freezer so I could slice it easier.  I won’t be doing that again.  I’ll just make two cakes.  When I made the filling, I didn’t pay close attention to the directions.  I didn’t have any whipping cream and I didn’t let it set for an hour before adding the rest of the berries.  It tastes heavenly, but it didn’t set properly.  Also, I’ll half the recipe because I have more than half left over. 

 I also don’t like how you can see some of the powdered sugar I put down on the counter to prevent the fondant from sticking.  I dusted it off as best that I could, but I’m not sure what I could use to get rid of it.  Meeshie wants some stars, one with the number 8 on it, on the cake.  I didn’t feel I needed to add that part for the prototype.  I plan to make them with the fondant and place them on sticks to give the piano more of a dimension.

See how it’s kinda dusty?  I think if I’m more patient I can remove that next time.

Overall, I’m satisfied with how it turned out considering I’ve never actually used that much fondant before.  I’m glad that I did it this weekend so I can go through my notes and strategize for July.

Oh yeah it tastes pretty awesome, too!


  1. yes, it sure is awesome and so is Karen!

  2. The cake is cute Karen! Nice job! I’d still be scouring every bakery in town to see who could make a piano cake for me…I don’t have this kind of talent.

    • That’s what my sister said, although I think her exact words were “Tell your daughter that Sam’s Club doesn’t have piano cakes. Why would you even do something like that?” Thanks and the yellow cake recipe is really good. I’ve made my share in the past and this one is by far the best one EVER!

  3. You did a great job!!!!! I remember making all diffent cakes and cookies for the boys it was alot of fun. Don’t stop making cakes and cookies and what ever else you make because one day meeshie will grow up and no longer care if you make something or not. HAVE FUN !!!!!

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