Sunday 19 May 2013

Rocky Horror Show Birthday Cake

My sister has been a fan of the Rocky Horror Show for years (since she was about 15 if I recall) and for her 35th birthday this week we went to see the show on stage (not for the first time, I hasten to add!). I was dressed as Magenta, if that means anything to any of you :-)
I knew that I simply had to make a Rocky Horror Show cake and right up until a few days before hadn't figured out what I was going to do. I was toying with the idea of baking a sheet cake, carving it into the shape of a pair of lips (the logo from the movie poster) and covering it in red fondant, but I was a bit worried I wouldn't get the design spot on and it would just look like a random mouth. I had a look for ideas on the internet and kept coming back to the idea of a two-tiered cake as well.

I found a chocolate cake recipe on the internet and it was a complete disaster - the first of my cakes that I think has ever sank in the middle. It also overcooked on the outside and undercooked in the middle - it tasted amazing (more like a chocolate brownie than a cake), but was no good as the base of a cake. So I decided to go back to the drawing board and make a cake I'd made before - the Brooklyn Blackout cake from the Hummingbird Bakery. I'd made it for my boyfriend's birthday cake last year so I knew it worked.

Here's the cake mixture about to go in the oven. I used my smallest round cake tin which I think is 7 inches - the cake didn't need to serve that many people and if it was going to be two tiers, I didn't want to make them too big. I used the leftover cake mixture in a tiny tin I'd found in a shop not long ago, that was only 4 inches across.

Here's the first cake when it came out of the oven - nice and deep, and springy like all good sponge cakes should be.

When I make chocolate buttercream I prefer to add melted chocolate in with the butter and icing sugar as I think it gives a much nicer flavour. I sliced the cake in half and spread it with buttercream.

I also spread a thin layer of buttercream on top.

I bought some red and black roll-out icing from Renshaw over the internet; I knew right from the start these would be the colours of my Rocky Horror Show cake.

I covered the bottom cake with red fondant, and placed it on a black cake board. This is a pretty small cake board; I did have a bigger one too but it didn't fit in my cake carry case (I had to carry the cake on the train from London to Southampton) so I carried the bigger cake board separately and placed it underneath the smaller one when I arrived at my sister's house.

Here's the smaller cake - I actually made two, and placed one on top of the other, with more buttercream in the middle as well as on the top and around the sides. Unfortunately baking a cake in a 4 inch tin wasn't very easy as I had no idea how long it would take to cook, and both cakes - even though I baked them one at a time- sank in the middle. I just filled the gap with more buttercream :-)

I covered the smaller cake with black buttercream, and had an idea I rather liked - that the join should be covered by a pearl necklace (Frank N Furter wears one in the show). I made the pearls simply by rolling balls of white fondant, and used a little buttercream to stick them on.

I thought it looked pretty good with the necklace all around the cake.

And for the finishing touch... the lips. I decided the easiest way to do this was just to mould the lips out of fondant, so I took a block of red, a couple of different modelling tools and shaped it until I was happy it looked like the lips. I checked out a picture online to see how the black of the mouth and the white teeth should look, and while this is far from perfect I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I used another modelling tool to make the lines around the lips which I thought made it look a little more realistic.

I also had this small lips mould I'd bought previously on the internet, and I used it to press some small shapes out of leftover red fondant.

I decided that the black cake layer needed a little something extra so I stuck the lips (using buttercream) all around the side of the black cake.

I couldn't decide whether to place the lips flat on the cake....

... or standing up. In the end I transported the lips separately, and when I got to my sister's house I fixed it upright using two cocktail sticks for extra support. I had wanted to pipe 'happy birthday' on the black cake board, in the style of lettering used on the movie poster, but there wasn't room on the small cake board and I couldn't do it on the larger cake board as it was being transported in a shoulder bag. So I compromised by taking a paint brush and Wilton black food colouring gel and painting 'happy birhday' around the side of the bottom cake.

When I first came up with the idea I looked on the internet for some sort of cake topper (though I'm actually glad I made the lips). I didn't find anything anyway, but what I did find on Ebay was some  models of some of the characters from the show, that had been made to mark the show's 25th anniversary a few years ago. Those that were brand new and in the original packaging were selling for £20-£30, but I found two - Magenta and Rocky - sold as seen below for just a few pounds. I thought it would be fun to use them to decorate the cake, though in the end I had to stand them on the cake board as they were almost as tall as the cake! I thought they looked pretty cool and I made my sister leave the room while I assembled the cake; she seemed really pleased with it!

We ate the top layer of cake at her house then took the bottom layer with us to the restaurant where we were eating after seeing the show. It tasted lovely and went down very well.

Today is World Baking Day and the campaign is encouraging people to "bake brave" - leave their comfort zone and try something they have never done before. While I am fully anticipating at least one anonymous comment on this post calling the above cake a monstrosity, that's kind of missing the point- the Rocky Horror Show is over the top, in your face, exaggerated and delighting in its own grotesqueness. And it's a hell of a lot of fun. I think this cake was a fairly brave effort from me as I had no idea if it would turn out well or not and it's one of the most elaborate novelty cakes I've made. For that reason I'm sending it to Calendar Cakes, hosted by Laura of Laura Loves Cakes and Rachel of DollyBakes, as their challenge this month is, in conjunction with World Baking Day, to "bake brave".


  1. what a brilliant idea! it looks amazing! i expect it tasted good! must have taken ages to make.

    1. It didn't take that long actually and wasn't that hard to make :-)

  2. Well done! It's definitely not a cake that will be forgotten.

    1. Haha very true, it is a bit OTT... but that was the idea!

  3. LOVE this cake! It's so awesome, I bet your sister loved it! Also v jealous you got to see Rocky Horror, I've never seen it live!

    1. Maybe there's a birthday present idea for you! I think you'd find it a lot of fun :-)

  4. Wow that is one amazing cake! Posts like this make me think I should break out of my comfort zone and try some cake modelling/ideas of my own but I'm always too scared and would rather follow a recipe/tutorial. I bet your sister loved it and really appreciated that it's one of a kind and all dreamt up by you!

  5. This is brilliant, I bet your sister loved it. I've dressed up as Magenta twice now to see Rocky Horror, it's so much fun! :)


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