Whip up a batch of your favorite chocolate buttercream. I chose a chocolate buttercream because a true red is a very difficult color to achieve in the world of cakes. If you start with white buttercream, the best you will likely achieve is a dark pink. I do recommend avoiding a dark chocolate buttercream because if the chocolate is too dark, it will mask the red food coloring.
Before coloring your buttercream red, set aside one cup to be used for the grey pieces.
Add red food coloring to the buttercream until you’re satisfied with the color. Colors often deepen after they’ve “rested” for a bit, but I wanted a deep red and used a full 1 oz pot of Wilton’s “No Taste” Red
Add black food coloring to the buttercream frosting you set aside until you achieve the desired color.
To make visible joints, frost and smooth all pieces individually. If you’ve never “smoothed” buttercream, check out this video tutorial. If you’re frosting with a pastry bag, you probably won’t need a crumb coat, but if you’re frosting with a knife, your life will be much easier if you crumb coat the cake.
Place all pieces together on a cakeboard, covered cutting board, or gigantic flat serving platter (yeah, I don’t have one of those, either).
Decorate with assorted candies, gumdrop decorations, sugar decorations, children’s cereals, mini-marshmallows, etc.
Download a PDF file of the Robot Cake cutting pattern.
Download the Red Robot Cake Pattern (the pattern is a .PDF file which requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader). The Red Robot Cake is made from two square cake layers (of equal size) and is very simple to cut out.
The robot’s oscilloscope was made using rolled gumdrops (see the gumdrop decoration tutorial. To make the basic shape, I used two square fondant/cookie cutters. I cut out a black square with the largest cutter and then cut a hole out of the black square with the smaller cutter. I also cut out a green square with the smaller cutter. I placed the small green square in the hole in the black square. Voilà!
I rounded the corners of the gumdrop screen just by smooshing it about with my fingers — it’s a bit more instinct than science.
I rolled out a bit of black gumdrop (like rolling out a clay snake) for the “squiggle” line and chopped up bits of gumdrop for the knobs.
Robot Head Closeup
Rivets made of children cereals (with a dab of gel icing in the center), jelly beans as “flashy lights”, a mini-marshmallow as the goofy tooth, and marshmallows cut in half and placed on two jumbo gumdrops for the eyes.
Initially, I placed two black jumbo gumdrops on the cake for eyes and I loved how they looked, but… I really wanted blue eyes. But but but… no blue gumdrops.
Dyeing a gumdrop with food coloring.
OTOH, I did have white gumdrops and blue food coloring. I plopped a white gumdrop on top of a fondant/cookie cutter and started dripping dye on the gumdrop. It worked like a charm — it was a bit dark, so I blotted it with paper towel and I had perfectly blue gumdrop eyes. You might wish to wear latex gloves during this process.
I didn’t wear gloves and attended a meeting with lovely blue fingernails. Your call.
Simplify This Cake
If you’re in a rush, here are a couple of simplifications to speed up the Robot Cake Process:
Instead of making gumdrop decorations, use a variety of candies, breakfast cereals, and cookies.
Instead of frosting each body piece individually (for visible joints), attach pieces with a small dab of frosting and then frost all pieces at once (this saves a lot of time… and irritation).
I’m working on a cake design that requires decorations — sparkly decorations. I was wondering what to use when I remembered flipping through a 1960s cookbook that included information about “rolling out” gumdrops. Time to experiment.
Turns out working with gumdrops is simple… albeit sticky. Very, very sticky.
Supplies You’ll Need
Assortment of gumdrops (or similar candies such as “spearmint leaves”)
Assortment of fondant or cookie cutters
Gumdrop leaves rolled out, sugar for coating surface.
Keep plenty of sugar nearby and sprinkle it on the gumdrops every few passes with the rolling pin. Roll out multiple gumdrops. Once you’ve got them somewhat flattened, you can overlap them, roll them, and join them together. If you end up with a visible seam that you don’t want, simply fold over the flattened gumdrops and re-flatten them.
Once the gumdrops are flattened to your satisfaction, use cookie or fondant cutters to cut out shapes.
Two-tone gumdrop heart.
You can even mix gumdrops to get new colors — the leaf shown above is a green, a yellow, and a white gumdrop rolled together, several times.
And, as the two-tone heart to the left shows, you can meld two (or more) contrasting colored gumdrops together to make cutouts of multiple colors.