Edible Bowling Lane
To celebrate the end of yet another fantastic bowling season, I made an elaborately decorated bowling cake for the team. What started out as a simple idea became more complex the more I got into it. I usually think cake decorating is a pain in the ass, but if you have time for it, it sure can be fun!
This cake is quite big and will serve a couple of bowling teams at least! The recipes are from the Magnolia Cookbook.
I’ll tell you my method for decorating this cake, but leave your process up to you because I’m sure you’ll have some awesome ideas! I started this recipe out with a simple chocolate cake and plain buttercream frosting. After frosting the cake, I added chocolate to the remaining buttercream for decorating purposes. I chose gumballs for bowling balls because they are colorful and perfectly round. I played with the idea of drilling tiny holes in each one, but decided against that for safety reasons, and opted to just make dots on them with piped frosting. The closest thing I could find that remotely resembled bowling pins were candy covered almonds (yuck!). My friend andy has been known to carve pins out of jack cheese and make the stripes with red bell pepper- perhaps I will use that method next time! I used chocolate jimmies to make the arrows on the lane, but I think chocolate chips or just piped frosting would work as well. i literally carved out the gutters in the lane with a knife and piped them full of chocolate frosting- above ground frosting gutters would have probably been less messy. The ball return carriages were made from leftover scraps of cake, frosted with the chocolate buttercream frosting. (It was pointed out to me after the cake was finished that the ball return carriages should have been placed toward the outsides of the lane, so as to leave room for the bowler- good tip for next time!)
Okie dokie, enough chit chat… here’s the recipe.
For the Cake:
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspooons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs, seperated
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
For the Frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
For the Decorations:
- 10 ‘bowling pin’ candies (I used candy covered almonds)
- 6 ’bowling ball’ candies (I used gumballs)
- Chocolate jimmies or chocolate chips for lane arrows
- Whatever else you can dream up!
To Make the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease two 13 x 9 inch rectangular cake pans.
- In a double boiler, or bowl over a pot of boiling water, stirl the chocolate with the water until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together, set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugars until smooth in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Beat in the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form.
- Fold the egg whites into the batter.
- Divide the batter evenly into the pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes and then on a rack until cool to the touch.
To Make the Frosting:
- Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or bowl over a pot of bowling water, set aside.
- Beat the butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until it is light and fluffy.
- Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and then the milk and the vanilla extract, beating until smooth.
- Gradually add the remaining sugar, one cup at a time until the frosting is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (you may not need to add all of the sugar).
- Transfer 1/4 of the frosting to a separate bowl.
- Stir the melted chocolate into the smaller portion of frosting.
- Use right away or cover until ready to use.
To Decorate the Cake:
- Line the cakes up on their short ends to form one long cake (I couldn’t find a platter long enough, so I covered a piece of plywood in aluminum foil).
- Trim the sides of the cakes to create the angle of a bowling lane (I didn’t cut off much to accomplish this). Set aside the extra pieces of cake to use for the ball return carriages.
- Frost the entire cake with the white buttercream frosting.
- Dig out the gutters with a knife (or just use frosting to create above ground gutters).
- Fill a pastry bag or plastic bag with a hole in the corner with the chocolate buttercream frosting. Pipe decorations onto the cake, including gutters, lines, etc.
- Use chocolate chips, jimmies, or frosting to make the arrows on the lane.
- Cut two ball carriage returns from the scraps of cake and frost with the chocolate frosting. Place on the cake and line the balls up on top of the carriage returns.
- Line the pins up at the end of the lane.
- Decorate until you can’t decorate anymore and then EAT IT!